Biography

Alvin Leroy Fielder, Jr.
Born: November 23, 1935, Meridian, Mississippi

Drums, Percussion, Composer

Father, Alvin Fielder Sr., studied coronet. Mother played piano and violin; grandmother played piano; mother’s brother played clarinet. Brother, William, is Director of Jazz Studies, trumpeter, and trumpet instructor at Rutgers University.

At 13, Alvin Fielder began musical studies by joining Harris Senior High Band in Meridian, Mississippi, under leadership of Carlia “Duke” Otis. Alvin continued studies with Ed Blackwell while in New Orleans studying pharmacy at Xavier U. in 1952-53. After transferring to Texas Southern U. in Houston, TX, he continued course of study with Herb Brockstein as well as 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. Alvin also had informal lessons with Jual Curtis and G.T. Hogan.

From 1954-56, Alvin worked with the “Pluma” Davis sextet, which included Don Wilkerson, Richard “Dicky Boy” Lillie, John Browning, Carl Lott, Cr., and many other Houston jazz luminaries. He backed such artists as Lowell Fulsom, Amos Milburn and other R&B artists with extended engagements in Houston. Alvin also made several studio dates for Duke records. He was also active on Houston jazz scene with Jimmy Harrison Quintet, John Browning quintet, and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson sextet.

From 1959 to 1968, Alvin was active in Chicago with: Sun Ra Arkestra 1960-61, Muhal Richard Abrams 1962-63, Roscoe Mitchell 1963-66, Eddie Harris and Kalaparusha 1965, co-op trio with Fred Anderson and Lester Lashley 1967-69. In between, he worked with John Stubblefield, Jack DeJohnette, “Scotty” Holt, Joseph Jarman, and other Chicago jazz musicians. Alvin is a charter member of AACM with Muhal Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Malachi Favors, Jodie Christian, Steve McCall, Phil Cohran, Thurman Barker, Ajaramu, Charles Clark, Christopher Gaddy, Freddy Berry, etc.

While in NY in 1962, Alvin played and rehearsed with Ernie Farrow, Bernard McKinney, Ray McKinney, Wilbur Ware, Vincent Pitts, Pat Patrick, George Scott and musicians associated with this era.

Alvin moved back to Mississippi in late 1968 to take over family pharmacy due to father’s illness. With John Reese and Black Arts Music Society, Alvin was active in obtaining grants from NEA and Mississippi Arts Commission to bring musicians such as Roscoe Mitchell, John Stubblefield, Malachi Favors, Muhal Richard Abrams, Clifford Jordan and others to Mississippi.

Alvin worked extensively in early 1970s with Joe Jennings, alto saxophonist now in Atlanta, and Edward “Kidd” Jordan, multi-saxophonist from New Orleans, with whom he co-leads the Improvisational Arts quintet. One of the most important new music groups in the South, IAQ has included at various times Clyde Kerr, trumpet; Alvin Thomas, tenor saxophone; London Branch, Elton Herron, basses; Darryl Levine, piano; Kent Jordan, flute. Also worked with Dennis Gonzalez, trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist from Dallas, another leader on the new music scene in Dallas and TX.

Alvin also had a founding role in the nationally-acclaimed Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Jazz Camp in New Orleans, LA.  Alvin has been involved with this growing program since it began in 1995.  

Recordings include Sound (1967) with Roscoe Mitchell Sextet, No Compromise (1983) with IAQ, The New New Orleans Music (1985) with New Music Jazz for Rounder, and Liquid Magic, Bannar, Namesake (all 1987) and Debenge-Debenge (1988) for Silkheart, (2006) Live at The Blue Monk, and (2004) Resolving Doors, The Joel Futterman, Alvin Fielder, Ike Levin Trio.

Appearances include Lincoln Center, Chicago; NO Jazz & Heritage Festival; Jazz Marathon ’82 Festival, Holland; Moers Intl. New Jazz Festival, Germany 1982; Jazz Danes LA Drones Festival, France 1984; Northsea Jazz Festival, Netherlands 1984; Heinekin Jazz Festival, Netherlands 1988; Atlanta and Texas jazz festivals 1989; Festival Intl. de Louisiane 1991.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Parker June 15, 2009 at 7:20 pm

He also made several things with Kidd, Andrew Lamb, Dennis Gonzalez, one under his own name, that the bio doesn’t include

Gustavo Bustamante Mesa June 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

beauty is a rare thing…” Alvin Fielder in ”Jazz Session ” and ” Rizoma “: Contemporary Music

The sacred is the interference of the uncreated in the created,
of the eternal in time,of the infinite in space,of the
supraformal in forms;it is the mysterious introduction
into one realm of existence of a presence which in reality
contains and transcends that realm and could cause it to
burst asunder in a sort of divine explosion.The sacred is
the incommensurable,the trascendent,hidden within a
fragile form belonging to this world;it has its own
precise rules,its terrible aspects and its merciful action;
moreover,any violation of the sacred,even in art,has
incalculable repercussions.
Intrinsically the sacred is inviolable,and so much so that any
attempted violation recoils on the head of the violator.

Frithjof Schuon

Dear Friend Alvin Fielder : For me, music is a sacred thing. My name is Gustavo Adolfo Bustamante.I am promoter of contemporary classical and classical music in the west of Antioquia State,Colombia. Basically I do this cultural activity of promotion in two means of communication here: a radio station called Sinigual FM Stereo, 93.3. This station belongs to UCO,spanish initial for Universidad Católica del Oriente,West Catolic University (www.uco.edu.co/sinigual) *.Here I have the program ,” Ritmos en Jazz ” and others.
I also have two programs in other station: UN Radio 100.4 FM (http://www.unradio.unal.edu.co) called: ” Rizoma ” ( dedicated of Contemporary Music ) and “Jazz Session “( contemporary jazz )
Would you please give me a free promotional of your music for this programs.
( cd or dvd )
I am faithful listener of your music and I’d like to share with my radio station listeners your extensive stock of music.Your work is a valuable contribution to my human and cultural growth.

Thank you very much
A hug,
Gustavo Bustamante Mesa
Promoter of Jazz, Avantgarde, Electronic and Contemporary Music
P.O.BOX 423
Rionegro- Antioquia – Colombia

Courtney Bryan September 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm

another performer with IAQ in recent years is Brian Quezerque on electric bass

Margaret Davis Grimes January 10, 2012 at 8:03 pm

“All About Jazz” shows these recordings also:
Alvin Fielder Trio, A Measure of Vision (Clean Feed, 2007)
M41 (Fielder/Parker/Lamb), The Orbit of Sirius (M41, 2005)
Jordan/Futterman/Fielder, Live at the Tampere Jazz
Happening 2000 (Charles Lester Music, 2000)
Jordan/Futterman/Parker/Fielder, New Orleans Festival Suite
(Silkheart, 1999).
We love you, Alvin!

Margaret Davis Grimes January 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Alvin adds these very new releases to the list:

“Live at the Guelph Festival 2O11,” w/ William, Kidd Jordan, Joel Futterman, and William Parker [New Creative Collective O1]

Dennis Gonzalez’s “Resurrection and Life,” w/ Aaron & Stefan Gonzalez and Gaika James [Ayler Records, aylCD125]

Roscoe Mitchell, “Before There Was Sound” (’64, released in 2O12), w/ Fred Berry, Malachi Favors, and Alvin Fielder [Nessa]

Albert Risimati February 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Hi Brother Alvin. I love your music and drums a lot and from the depth of my soul. I have collected most of your music but it is difficult to find in our country. Albert Risimati, jazz collector from Giyani, Republic of South Africa.

ollie jones August 18, 2013 at 10:13 pm

YOU MIGHT NOT REMEMBER ME .WHEN YOU WERE IN MERIDIAN WE HUNG OUT.WE USE TO LISTEN TO MUSIC AND YOU TOLD ME THINGS ABOUT JAZZ.JUST WANTED TO SAY HI AND THANK.THIS WAS WHEN YOU WERE AT FIELDER & BROOKS.

Tibitha Ball September 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I just wanted say LOVE LOVE YOUR MUSIC. Oh the talent that comes out of Mississippi. I am a huge collector of all that is jazz. My favorite to collect is your music.

Carlos Martinez October 19, 2014 at 2:46 pm

We are heading towards 2015! What’s Alvin doing lately and where does he live?

James Hull June 20, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Alvin is one of the most inspiring men in my life.

Robert Mann July 14, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Miss our talks!

derrick francis October 28, 2015 at 9:45 am

lency marsh son in Chicago when are you coming again to this city

Billy E Cummings January 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Musician good friend of mr. Charles E Adams

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