The Untempered Ensemble

Back Row: Ras Moshe Burnett, Joe Daley, Bill Cole, Warren Smith | Front Row: Olivia Shortt, Mali Obomsawin, Althea SullyCole, Taylor Ho Bynum

The Untempered Ensemble was founded in 1992 by Bill Cole as a trio.  The first members of the group were Bill Cole, Warren Smith and Joe Daley.  Later, in the 1990's, bassist William Parker and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore joined the group.  Soon after that, the reed player Sam Furnace was asked to join and then, at the end of the 1990's, Cole's son Atticus became a member of the group, playing hand drums.  This group recorded four CDs for Boxholder Records during the early 2000's and gave numerous performances, including at the Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Music Hall in New York. Following his untimely death in 2003, Sam Furnace was replaced by flute, tenor and soprano sax player Ras Moshe.

The Untempered Ensemble added Bill Cole's daughter Althea SullyCole as a vocalist in the group at their 8th appearance in the Vision Festival in New York City in 2009. She would later also join the group with her Senegalese kora. Most recently, Mali Obomsawin, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Olivia Shortt have been regularly collaborating with the ensemble on their Double Bass, Cornet, and Baritone Sax, respectively.

The Untempered Ensemble has been in existence for more than 20 years.  During all of these years Bill, Warren and Joseph have been members and have formed the foundation of the Ensemble. The longevity of the group is a testament to the commitment, and the outstanding and creative work, of its members. 

Meet the Band

Warren Smith

WARREN SMITH Born in Chicago Illinois, Warren I. Smith entered the professional music world at the early age of fourteen, working in various family bands in the late 1940’s and later in the mid-50’s with Captain Walter H. Dyett’s concert and marching bands. Warren Smith has firm roots grounded in the Chicago south side music scene. Warren is a part of an essential element in the development and definition of Afro-American music.

Warren relocated to New York City in 1957 and completed his Masters of Musicat the Manhattan School of Music in 1958. That same year brought his first jazz gig in New York City with Kenny Burrell at Minton’s Playhouse. W.I.S. played Birdland in 1959 with Gil Evans, and from 1960-1972 worked regularly with Johnny Richards’ Bigband. It was around that time that Warren began extensive work both in the studios and on Broadway.

Already an articulate voice within the jazz community, Warren Smith found himself deep inside the Motown scene throughout the 1960’s and 70’s. Being the unsung percussionist on the scene with Bernard Purdie, Warren played on all the Gladys Knight and the Pips’ 45 hit singles; performed on numerous occasions with Dionne Warwick; did several tours, recording sessions and TV dates with Harry Bellafonte; backed up Nat King Cole on his week summer tour of New England, 1964; played the R n R Shows with Murray the K. in Brooklyn; toured with Barbra Streisand throughout the U.S. in 1965; worked on the ABC New York staff orchestra 1964-67 - including the Jimmy Dean Show and the Less Crane/Nippsy Russell Show; recorded on the only collaborative album done by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell; musical director of Janis Joplin in 1969- playing the Ed Sullivan Show, the San Francisco Ice Palace and her only European tour; recorded, toured and did live TV performances with Aretha Franklin from 1965-1978, including a performance at the 1971 Montreaux Jazz festival, which he also played with Tony Williams Lifetime EGO that same year.

Concurrently with his extensive Motown and studio work, Warren Smith began to teach at Adelphi University in 1969 and later at the State University of New York in Old Westbury from 1971-1996. Never losing sight, Warren has remained a prominent percussionist and drummer within the jazz world. Performing, touring and recording with every progressive from Charles Mingus to Miles Davis, from Muhal Richard Abrams to Sam Rivers, Max Roach, M’Boom, Jabbo Ware, David Murray, Sonny Sharock, Anthony Davis and many other masters of the music.

Joseph Daley

JOSEPH DALEY is a musician/composer/educator specializing in new/contemporary music, jazz, and improvisation. He studied at the Manhattan School of Music and attained a master’s degree in music education. He has received fellowships in music composition from the National Endowment, MacDowell Colony, Music Omi and Geraldine R Dodge Foundation.  Daley recently retired as a music educator after completing 30 years of service. Mr. Daley has performed, recorded and toured the world with the following artists: Muhal Richard Abrams, Bill Cole, Far East Side Band, Sam Rivers, Ellery Eskelin, Liberation Music Orchestra, Gil Evans, Carla Bley, Taj Mahal, Jayne Cortez, George Gruntz, Gravity, Ebony Brass Quintet, Paradigm Shift, Dave Douglas, Bill Dixon, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Craig Harris, Spider Monkey Strings and Hazmat Modine.

Ras Moshe Burnett

RAS MOSHE (formally known as Ted Burnett III) was born March 22, 1968 in Brooklyn NY. He studied music in public school and with his father. His grandfather-Theodore Burnett I ("Barnett" for professional reasons) played tenor and alto saxophones in the bands of Earl Bostic, Lucky Millender, Jimmy Mundy, Don Redman and many others after arriving in the U.S. from Jamaica. He also led small group combos with Shadow Wilson for many years. Although Ras is trained in earlier forms of "jazz", his preferred mode of improvisation is in the later or "free" developments of the music. Ras has also been writing and reciting poetry since childhood. He believes in the positive effect the new music will have on social and personal change. He has learned from Billy Bang and William Parker and played with William Hooker, Kali Z. Fasteau, Dafna Naphtali, Dom Minasi, Lou Grassi, Jackson Krall, Matana Roberts, Butch Morris, Kyoko Kitamura, Steve Swell, Matt Lavelle, Marc Edwards, Raphe Malik, Burton Greene, Roy Campbell, Daniel Carter, Sabir Mateen, Saco Yasuma and other original artists.