IQUA COLSON and ADEGOKE STEVE COLSON are recognized as outstanding talents in the music world as witnessed by audiences around the world. They often appear together as leaders of their ensemble, though both perform with other artists together and individually. With Iqua doing vocals and Steve on piano, their performances embrace a tradition of music with a modern touch and personal interpretation uniquely their own. They started performing together professionally while living in Chicago. Their work internationally and on the contemporary New York scene has included some of the great modern innovators in music as well as exceptional artists in other mediums.
ADEGOKE STEVE COLSON, pianist and composer is one of the best kept secrets in the jazz genre known amongst his peers and fans as a genius. Artists are identified by their unique expression and Adegoke has one of the most identifiable sounds and styles. His approach to the music is a complex mix of intellect and raw soul married equally yoked and the end product is an experience from which one realizes immediately that their life has been missing a vital encounter. Like Monk his music is not linear but elegant like Duke and edgy like Mingus yet definitely original organized sound distinctively his own voice self-expressed.
Born in Newark and raised in East Orange, NJ, he received his degree from Northwestern University School of Music and lived in Chicago for a decade before returning to the East Coast where he now resides. November 13, 1989 was proclaimed Adegoke Steve Colson Day by the City of Newark in honor of the premiere of his multi-media work, Greens, Rice, and a Rope, at Newark Symphony Hall during the national celebration of New Music America.
A critically acclaimed figure in modern jazz, Steve’s compositions are finding their way into the “jazz standard” repertoire and are being performed and recorded by some of today’s jazz greats as well as by his own group. He became a member of The Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early 70s, a musicians’ collective that has influenced music internationally in the 20th and 21st Century. Steve’s music has been compared to that of Monk, Mingus, and Ellington as well as Ives, Berio, and Stravinsky. He has received several commissions and awards for composition from organizations with interests in the arts, and has traveled internationally, performing with many talented artists. Those with whom he has worked or featured in his presentations include Muhal Richard Abrams, Ed Blackwell, Hamiet Bluiett, T.K. Blue, Andrew Cyrille, Anthony Davis, Richard Davis, Kahil EL’ Zabar, Douglas Ewart, Rachelle Farrell, Malachi Favors, Chico Freeman, Craig Harris, Billy Hart, Graham Haynes, Mark Helias, Fred Hopkins, Joseph Jarman, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, George Lewis, Branford Marsalis, Steve McCall, , Makanda Ken McIntyre, Rene McLean, T.S. Monk, Butch Morris, David Murray, Max Roach, Marlena Shaw, Dakota Staton, Henry Threadgill, Steve Turre, and numerous others. He also regularly appeared with Spirit of Life Ensemble, and Amiri and Amina Baraka (Blue Ark).
Steve’s work is on American, European and Japanese record labels including Columbia/Sony, Evidence, and Black Saint. On his latest CD as a leader, The Untarnished Dream, he leads a trio featuring jazz masters Andrew Cyrille and Reggie Workman, with wife Iqua on several vocal tracks. This CD, on the Colsons’ own Silver Sphinx label, was ranked by the International Jazz Journalists as one of the best Jazz CDs of 2010. Their prior Silver Sphinx CD, Hope for Love, was nominated for a Grammy. In November 2011 their label’s 1979 Colson Unity Troupe LP “Triumph!” was re-released out of London as a part of Soul Jazz Records Freedom Rhythm & Sound collection; book, compilation and re-issue series.
Steve is married to Iqua Colson – vocalist, composer lyricist and arts administrator. Like her husband Iqua has one of the most identifiable voice, deep husky sensual tonality. She brings the melody to the music that they compose together creating a sound that’s unparalleled. Iqua has shared the stage with many of this era’s great artists. She was named a Vocal Talent Deserving Wider Recognition by Downbeat Magazine and has been recognized by Billboard Magazine for distinguished achievement as a lyricist. The international media has praised her placing her in the company of some of our finest known vocal innovators and stylists including Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Abbey Lincoln. She has six recordings, has led bands and collaborated with several artists, most frequently with her husband pianist/composer Steve Colson, performing in the U.S and overseas.
In addition to her recognition as a performer, Iqua has successfully initiated and/or produced concerts, festivals and arts education projects in Chicago, New York City, and the Essex County area of New Jersey. She has been the architect of several projects working with such organizations as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Symphony Space, The City of Newark, The Chicago Cultural Council, The Smithsonian, Columbia University, The Jazz Institute of Chicago, The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, The Great Hall at Cooper Union, New Music America, The Museum of African American Music, Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey Symphony, and New Jersey Chamber Music Society.
Iqua is a native Chicagoan. She already had extensive training as a pianist when she entered Kenwood High School where her teacher was acclaimed composer Lena McLin, the niece and student of the famed Thomas Dorsey, “father of gospel music.” She auditioned and was accepted to Northwestern University School of Music after three years of high school. She later transferred to Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University where she completed her undergraduate Music Degree. Iqua became one of the first women members of the Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early ‘70s, a musicians’ collective that has influenced music internationally in the 20th and 21st Century. She along with Amina Claudine Myers, Rita Warford stood their ground with the dominant male organization paving the way for the women who came after them.
In addition to performing while in Chicago, Iqua was a leader in many successful initiatives, for the AACM and other arts organizations. These initiatives were implemented to present the arts to large and diverse audiences. She served as a member of The Board of Directors of The Jazz Institute of Chicago during which time the popular annual Chicago Jazz Festival grew to a week long event; and she was a founding member of FEPA, producers of Chicago’s internationally acclaimed “Underground Fest” and “Blacklight Film Festival.”
After leaving Chicago, Iqua joined the staff of East Orange, New Jersey’s Washington Academy of Music as Music Team Leader at the school’s inception in 1994. She was instrumental in creating an impressive and challenging music curriculum was helping to bring national recognition and awards to the school, and the school district. She then worked as the coordinator of arts programs. Her work contributed to the development of Cicely L. Tyson School, thus winning a Demonstration Project Grant to build a new facility. In September 2009 the new Cicely Tyson Community School of the Arts, a state of the art K-12 school and Performing Arts Center opened. Today Iqua, as Supervisor of Visual & Performing Arts for the East Orange School District, focuses on curriculum development and special projects in the arts to benefit students in all schools. She oversees an accelerated arts curriculum at Tyson as Department Chair for Arts which lead in part to their recent designation as a New Jersey Model School of the Arts.
Iqua continues to write, perform and produce music and other arts based projects. Her ideas continue to be creative and fresh, lending much to the sound of today’s progressive music, whether expressed through her original lyrics, standard tunes, or vocal improvisation.
Her 2005 CD “Hope for Love”, done in partnership with Steve on their label Silver Sphnix Recordings, was nominated for a Grammy. Her latest recorded effort, their most recent Silver Sphinx release The Untarnished Dream, received rave reviews internationally and was voted by the International Jazz Journalists as one of the best Jazz CDs of 2010.
On Friday April 24, the Colson’s will grace the stage at U of C’ International House a for an evening of exquisite music as part o f the AACM’s 50th Anniversary weekend celebration that kicked off Wednesday
Friday, April 24 – 8:30 pm
The Colson Group at International House, 1414 E. 59th St
Adegoke Steve Colson, Iqua Colson, Ernest Dawkins, Rasul Sadik, Dushun Mosley
Saturday, April 25
Master Classes w/Mai and Samana (Logan center for the Arts) – Open to Musicians Only
Sunday, April 26
50th Anniversary Reunion Concert, Mandel Hall – Reynolds Club, 1131 E. 57th
7-9 PM General Admission $35, $15 Students/Seniors w/ID
VIP Reception/exhibition viewing/reunion Concert ($100 VIP ticket)
Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians | 9 W. Washington 4th fl | Chicago, IL 60602 | 312-834-3390| http://www.aacmchicago.org
A Power Stronger Than Itself
3/AACM CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY WITH 50 MUSICIANS
Sunday, April 26 – 1-3 PM FREE
Creative Music Summit with Nicole Mitchell and Renee Baker at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), 220 E. Chicago Ave
Nicole Mitchell and Renee Baker discuss their upcoming music premieres commissioned by MCA
The AACM Exhibition at the DuSable Museum is up now: Tuesday – Sunday Thru September 6, 2015
FREE AT FIRST: The Audacious Journey of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians
DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place
Hours: Tues – Sat. 10am – 5 pm; Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm – $10; $7 students/seniors FREE on Sundays