The Kora Band integrates the entrancing timbre of the kora, a traditional 21-string harp from West Africa, into a jazz context, bringing together two musical traditions with historical connections to reflect the globalized world of the 21st century.
Founded by London-based American pianist and composer Andrew Oliver after a 2007 U.S. State Department tour to West Africa, the band features New York-based virtuoso Kane Mathis on kora, bringing extensive knowledge from two decades of study with master musicians in the Gambia in addition to conservatory training in the U.S. The group is rounded out by Chicago trumpeter Chad McCullough and the Seattle rhythm section of Brady Millard-Kish on bass and Mark DiFlorio on drums.
The group’s 2010 album Cascades (OA2 Records) won Earshot Jazz’s award for “Northwest Jazz Album of the Year” and peaked at #12 on the U.S. World Music radio charts. The quintet’s new album New Cities, commissioned by a 2012 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant, was released in the fall of 2015 on Whirlwind Recordings.