Alvin Fielder is a pioneering jazz drummer, an important educator, and one of the founding members of the enormously influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians cooperative. Born in Meridian, MS in 1935, Fielder studied pharmacology at Texas Southern University from 1953 to 1956. During his years in Houston, he worked with various jazz and R&B groups including the Pluma-Davis Sextet, the house band at the legendary Eldorado Ballroom. He then moved on to Chicago, where he joined an early version of the Sun Ra Arkestra and played with musicians like Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson and Muhal Richard Abrams, with whom he organized the AACM in 1965 and appeared on its debut LP, Roscoe Mitchell’s “Sound” in 1967. Fielder returned home to Mississippi in 1969, where he ran the family pharmacy, worked to desegregate the schools, and developed the Black Arts Music Society. BAMS brought countless jazz improvisers to Jackson and inspired a new generation of the city’s musicians (including a young Cassandra Wilson). In 1975, Fielder began working regularly with New Orleans saxophonist Edward “Kidd” Jordan. The association breathed new life into his career, and since then he’s appeared on a handful of potent and critically acclaimed releases.
In the 2000’s Fielder started reconnecting with Houston through projects with David Dove and Nameless Sound. The “Houston Quartet” with Dove, Jackson, and Smith was formed to play an afternoon potluck on Christmas Eve Day, 2010. The location was The 3rd Ward Art Space LaBotanica, just downstairs from the ElDorado Ballroom where Fielder cut his teeth as a young drummer while a pharmacy student at Texas Southern.