Howard Wiley | The Angola Project

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Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Spiritual: Spirituals Moods: Type: Background Music
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The Angola Project

by Howard Wiley

Unique and original jazz featuring Howard Wiley with special guest David Murray, inspired by the men, music, and spirituals of The Angola State Prison in Louisiana.
Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Twelve Gates to the City
4:31 $0.99
2. Angola
8:00 $0.99
3. The Conversation
5:00 $0.99
4. Trouble of the World
7:49 $0.99
5. Peace
7:56 $0.99
6. Rosie
5:12 $0.99
7. No More My Lord
5:25 $0.99
8. Rise & Fly
7:26 $0.99
9. Amazing Grace
9:27 $0.99
10. Second Line
4:08 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
A 9-piece ensemble including strings and vocals presents these highly unique jazz compositions. The music unites the sounds of jazz, gospel and blues. Special guests include legendary saxophonist David Murray.

The Project:
It is the philosophy of Louisiana State Penitentiary to provide services in a professional manner so as to protect the safety of the public, the staff and the inmate population. Consistent with this, it is Louisiana State Penitentiary’s responsibility to provide meaningful opportunities to enhance, through a variety of education, work, social service and medical programs, the individual's desire to become a productive member of society.

And in that mission…they’ve created much more…


Three vocalists…two bass players…saxophone, trombone, trumpet & drums…

Not only is this a very unique grouping of musicians, but a very unique piece of music as well. Howard Wiley has been commissioned to create and expand upon the African-American spirituals and vocalizations which originated from a combination of gospel music and slave chants in the Angola Prison in the 1950’s.

The call and response technique between a leader and the “congregation” serves as a base for this musical exploration. Slavery, prison, and field work created this music which was often directed by a lead worker or in some cases a preacher. The lead soloist would sing ahead of the rest of the workers, often improvising with written text and African musical melodies. The congregation would in turn respond to create a new and unique sound which invoked stories, struggles, and a valuable (often lost), musical form.

Personnel: Howard Wiley, saxophone, Jeannine Anderson, vocals, Lorin Benedict, vocals, David Ewell, bass, Devin Hoff, bass, Geechi Taylor, trumpet, Sly Randolph, drums, Yerdua Cesear, violin, Vivian McBride, violin, and special guests, Danny Armstrong, trombone, Faye Carol, vocals, & David Murray, saxophone.

Howard Wiley:
Howard Wiley is the type of person who exemplifies the word “character” from both sides of the spectrum…by having it, and by being one. Always willing to take the music or the conversation to the next level, it’s rare to end the music, or the conversation, without a smile on your face.

Born in Berkeley, California, Howard Wiley displayed the seeds of his musical talent at a very young age. Wiley found himself playing in the most nurturing of all environments for young African American musicians; the church. Throughout the history of jazz, the church has been root and center of the community, giving musicians, worshipers, and preachers alike the freedom and comfort to express themselves in the celebration of life. Wiley’s music is a direct reflection of his youth which gives his music a level of simplicity, honesty and integrity. He has developed into a very complete artist in the sense that he possesses a great awareness of the past while he continues to make statements and ask questions into the future.

Wiley has recorded and performed with the likes of Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Lavay Smith, and Norman Brown as well as receiving numerous awards and accolades from the Thelonious Monk Institute, including MVP honors for the Grammy All-American Jazz Band and the Berklee College of Music Scholarship Award.

At the age of 15, Wiley released his first c.d. as a leader, signaling the arrival of the San Francisco Bay Area’s newest diamond in the rough. Wiley has since released his second c.d. titled “Twenty First Century Negro. Along with consistently gigging in the New York scene, Howard Wiley has been seen and heard all over the country.

On experiencing Wiley in a live setting, jazz journalist Drew Foxman writes, “With a debonair, untailored stroll, Howard Wiley stepped on stage, donning a freshly pressed peach suit. He befitted this dignified presence by displaying his deep reverence for the musicians with whom he was collaborating, unmasking the persona of an unassuming leader. This is a musician who understands his place, not only in an ensemble, but in the history of music. This humility, though, translates into downright explosiveness on the bandstand.”

The Los Angeles Times writes, “The soloing from Howard Wiley is first rate.”

Dan Quolette of Down Beat Magazine says, “Much has been written about the twenty-something crew of musicians heralded as the new keepers of the jazz flame. Well make way for a representative of the next generation”.

David Murray:
Born 1955 in California, David Murray is far and away the greatest tenor saxophonist of his generation. He fed on church, funk, and the great sax men of the '60s—Albert Ayler and Paul Gonsalves early on, and soon he had mastered everyone without ever sounding like anyone else. By 1975, avant-jazz had gone underground, and Murray dug deep, recording prolifically for tiny labels—90 as a leader, 90 more as a sideman including 20 with the World Saxophone Quartet. - Tom Hull, Village Voice.

For additional information, interviews, or booking, please contact:
Rob Woodworth, Jazz House Management – 415-846-9432 –



to write a review

Bill Moore

He wasn't kidding...
Last weekend, as I was browsing through the vinyl at a little hole in the wall jazz record joint, I looked up out of my daze and asked the guy behind the counter what was playing.

He said it was Angola Project, and as far as he was concerned it was "the best jazz c.d. to come out of the Bay Area in at least the last year..."...I thought, yeah whatever...this cut sounds good, but this guy is also selling disks. But, this being a jazz shop, maybe he knew what he was talking about.

I listened to a couple more tracks playing over the store stereo, and thought, what the hell...and I threw a copy of this disk on top of my stack of vinyl, and thought I'd give it a try.

This guy wasn't joking...I have to agree...I've never heard of Howard Wiley before this...but thought, "what is going on here?!?!? This guy is smokin'!"

Very original stuff to say the least...with vocals, but not the ole' loungy jazz vocals...this is more like gospel/opera tones over jazz. and it also has a guest spot with saxophonist David Murray, which never hurts.

I checked out his website, and landed here, so I thought I'd write this review as I'm telling everyone else I know about this disk.

Anyway...great stuff...check it out.


Love it...!
Love the the concept of the project/history...very unique & unusual arrangements....simply great, interesting jazz.

Terry Dunn

World Class Jazz
I heard one song from this cd played on the radio and had to stop the car. It was one of the most moving, powerful musical experiences I've had in a while. This is not just some local project. This is world class music on a level with any of the masters I've heard in thirty years of listening to jazz.

Howard Wiley

The Angola Project
WOW!!! I heard one cut from this disc and I just KNEW that I had to have it. Mr. Wiley has truly out done himself. The originality of the pieces. The scope of the musical vision. This disc is truly something meaningful and magical.