Fred HoVer en iTunes
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Ho's prodigious gifts as a jazz composer are equaled (and augmented) by his drive to effect social change. Ho's leftist leanings inform virtually every piece of music he's written, often by means of clumsily written agitprop lyrics. The results can be humorous and moving, but are more often than not simply leaden. Ignore the heavy-handed preaching, however, and you'll find a sensitive and imaginative composer. Ho has learned the lessons of Duke Ellington and applied them to post-Coltrane jazz. Ho received his B.A. in Sociology from Harvard in 1979. In 1982, as Fred Houn (he later changed his name), the composer founded the Afro-Asian Music Ensemble, with which he recorded Tomorrow is Now! (1986) for the Soul Note label. During the '80s and '90s, he would also lead and record his Asian American Art Ensemble and his Monkey Orchestra. Ho's resumé is a litany of grants, fellowships, residencies, and awards; to say nothing of his considerable activities as a community activist.