Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Fielder, Alvin, Jr.

Fielder, Alvin, Jr., drummer, percussionist; b. Nov. 23, 1935, Meridian, Mississippi.  Father Alvin, Sr., studied cornet.  Mother played piano and violin, grandmother piano, mother's brother clarinet.  Brother is trumpeter William Fielder. At 13, began musical studies by joining Harris Senior High Band in Meridian, under "Duke" Otis, with whom he was gigging by three years later.  Continued studies with Ed Blackwell and met Earl Palmer while in New Orleans studying pharmacy at Xavier U. in 1952-53.  After transferring to Texas Southern U. in Houston, continued musical study with Herb Brockstein.  Private lessons with George "Dude" Brown (Gene Ammons' drummer from Washington, DC) and Clarence Johnston (James Moody's drummer from Boston, MA) whenever they came through Houston working.  Also informal lessons with Jual Curtis and G. T. Hogan. From 1954-56 worked with the "Pluma" Davis Sextet (with Don Wilkerson, Richard "Dicky boy" Lillie, John Browning, Carl Lott, Sr., and other Houston jazz luminaries).  The sextet played for two years at the Eldorado in Houston, backing Big Joe Turner, Ivory Joe Hunter, Amos Milburn, Lowell Fulsom, and other R&B artists with extended engagements.  Pluma Davis had worked with Bobby Bland and Fielder did occasional live gigs w. Bland. Also did several studio dates for Duke Records backing gospel and blues artists.  Active on Houston jazz scene with Jimmy Harrison Quintet, John Browning quintet, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson sextet (1955).

He arrived in Chicago in December 1958, joined Sun Ra from early 1959 until probably the fall of 1960; then with Muhal Richard Abrams 1962 and '63.  Spent five months in Denver. While in NY for three months in 1962, played and rehearsed with Ernie Farrow, Bernard McKinney, Ray McKinney, Wilbur Ware, Vincent Pitts, Pat Patrick, George Scott and others.  He returned to Chicago in early 1963, married there on his birthday in 1963, and performed around there with Roscoe Mitchell 1963-66, Eddie Harris 1964, co-op group with Anthony Braxton, Charles Clark, Leroy Jenkins and Kalaparusha 1965, co-op trio with Fred Anderson and Lester Lashley 1967-68.  In between, worked with John Stubblefield, Jack DeJohnette, "Scotty".Holt, Joseph Jarman, and other Chicago jazz musicians.  Charter member of AACM in 1965 with Muhal Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Malachi Favors, Jodie Christian, Steve McCall, Phil Cohran, Thurman Barker, Steve McCall, Ajaramu, Charles Clark, Christopher Gaddy, Freddy Berry.

Moved back to Mississippi around August 1968 to take over family-owned pharmacy.  He later acquired two more pharmacies which provides a stable source of income. Joined Black Arts Music Society in Jackson, MS in 1971 and through grants from National Endowment and Mississippi Arts Commission brought in musicians Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Abrams, John Stubblefield, Malachi Favors, Clifford Jordan.  Worked with Joe Jennings in Atlanta, met Edward "Kidd" Jordan in early 1970s with whom Improvisational Arts Quintet was founded (in New Orleans?) with bassist London Branch, Clyde Kerr, Alvin Thomas (tenor saxophone; died before 1983).  This was the first new music group based on the idea of the AACM in the Southeastern U.S.  Other important associates in New Orleans have been Elton Herron and Darrell Levine.  Joined Louisiana Jazz Federation, New Orleans, 1981. He played in 1975 in NYC w. Kalaparusha McIntyre, own group in New Orleans 1976.

First European tour in 1982 to the Netherlands and Moers festival in Germany. Returned to the Netherlands in 1984 (Northsea festival) and 1988.
Tours later to France and Austria.  Various educational TV programs in New Orleans and Mississippi.  In 1986 met Dennis Gonzalez, worked with him for 3 years and recorded.  Formed Southeastern Jazz Allstars, featuring from time to time James Clay, Charles Davis, Joe Jennings and Jothan Callins for Southeast festivals and college dates from 1990-94.  Met Joel Futterman and formed trio along with "Kidd" Jordan in 1994.  Performances with trio and guest bassists William Parker, Barry Guy and Elton Herron at festivals in U.S. and Europe in late 1990s. 

Recordings:
Improvisational Arts Quintet:
No Compromise! 1983
The New New Orleans Music (1988
Roscoe Mitchell:
Sound (1967   
Dennis Gonzalez:       
Namesake (1987
Debenge-Debenge (1988           
New Desert Wind (1993
Joel Futterman - Kidd Jordan:
New Orleans Rising (1997; rec. 1996?)
Nickelsdorf Konfrontation (1996)

Bibliography:
V. Wilmer: As Serious As Your Life.
J. Litweiler: The Freedom Principle
V. Wilmer: Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This
Interview in Jazz South (Southern Arts Foundation newsletter)
References in Jackson Daily News, Jackson

 

THIS ENTRY BY MICHAEL WILDERMAN

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