SONGS OF FREEDOM
ULYSSES OWENS JR., MUSIC DIRECTOR
FEAT. THEO BLECKMANN, ALICIA OLATUJA & JOANNA MAJOKO
First presented under the auspice of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the 1960s are explored through the work of three prolific artists: Joni Mitchell, Abbey Lincoln, and Nina Simone – all of whom have made an indelible mark in music. Each artist expressed freedom in various ways. Joni composed and sung about the freedom of love, Abbey expressed freedom of her individuality and race through her lyricism, and Nina Simone demanded freedom politically through song. The project is under the musical direction of Grammy Award-winning drummer, Ulysses Owens Jr.
To effectively deliver this vast repertoire, the program features vocalists Theo Bleckmann , Alicia Olatuja and Joanna Majoko.
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"the book of longing"
FEATURING CHICO PINHEIRO
AND SCOTT COLLEY
the book of longing
LUCIANA SOUZA FEATURING CHICO PINHEIRO AND SCOTT COLLEY
Grammy winner, Brazilian Jazz singer and composer Luciana Souza, returns to the stage with The Book of Longing, her new project on words and poetry, featuring guitarist Chico Pinheiro and bassist Scott Colley.
In many of her recordings and past projects, Luciana Souza has paid tribute to poets and poetry - setting to music poems of Elizabeth Bishop, Pablo Neruda, E.E. Cummings, Gary Snyder, and more recently, Leonard Cohen. For Word Strings, Luciana revisits some of these poets and includes new settings of poems by Leonard Cohen, Octavio Paz, and others.
"Poetry continues to spill into everything in my life," Luciana says. "It has been my constant companion and I continue to be fascinated by how powerful words strung together by the mind and eye of the poet can be. I constantly find myself transformed after encountering good poetry."
Luciana brings together two master musicians - Chico Pinheiro, on guitar, and Scott Colley, on the acoustic bass. She says:"Chico and Scott are both great composers, and play that way - they improvise beautifully and compositionally, and contribute to the music from the point of view of deeply understanding structure and color, contrast and texture - all that makes music sound personal and vital. They are also very committed to creating something new, which has always been my driving wheel, even when dealing with traditional music. I am so happy to be embarking on a project with these two musicians - we all aim to illuminate these words and sounds together..."
Chico Pinheiro hails from São Paulo, Luciana Souza’s hometown in Brazil. A self-taught guitarist, he later attended Berklee College of Music, in Boston. Chico Pinheiro is the most prominent composer and musician of his generation, able to translate in a very personal way his influences from traditional Brazilian music and contemporary jazz. Pinheiro is that rare composer that combines intellectual prowess with ideas that are very lyrical and romantic.
Scott Colley is an old collaborator of Luciana Souza, having been the bassist on two of her recordings (Grammy nominated North and South, and the critically acclaimed The New Bossa Nova) and numerous tours over the years. Colley manifests all that’s desired in a great musician - constant curiosity, deep intimacy with theinstrument, superb technical ability, and an uncanny rhythmic and compositional approach to the bass - making him the perfect choice for a drummer-less trio.
The live performances of Word Strings will make use of a large projector screen where drawings, text, and animated art will be displayed.
ALFREDO RODRÍGUEZ & PEDRITO MARTINEZ Duo
Grammy®-nominated artists Alfredo Rodríguez and Pedrito Martinez first worked together on Alfredo’s 2012 release Invasion Parade. Since that initial recording session they have had the rare occasion to perform together as a duo, leaving audiences completely mesmerized by their fearless and virtuosic playing.
Each artist brings a different approach to the collaboration. A protege of Quincy Jones, who took him under his wing when he defected to the US in 2009, Alfredo was schooled in the rigorous classical conservatories of Havana. His riveting artistry is informed as much by Bach and Stravinsky as it is by his Afro Cuban and jazz roots. Pedrito’s musical training came directly from the streets of the Cayo Hueso neighborhood of Old Havana in which he was raised and he has subsequently performed with artists such as Sting, Paul Simon, and Wynton Marsalis. Together, these two master musicians take listeners on a unique and exciting journey. This package is being co-booked by Unlimited Myles and Epstein & Company, available only during the 2018-2019 presenting season.
MONK + MONK’ESTRA, A CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE
Experience Thelonious Monk’s timeless music in a unique cinematic-concert performance featuring multi-GRAMMY© nominated John Beasley’s big band MONK’estra, film footage of Monk, and spoken word performance of Monk’s philosophy of life and music. Co-produced and written with filmmaker Stefan Forbes and John Beasley featuring rare footage from Michael Blackwood’s films "Monk" and "Monk in Europe".
arturo o'farrill and the afro latin jazz orchestra:
The cornel West Concerto
Commissioned by The Apollo Theater and premiered in May 2016, The Cornel West Concerto pairs text by the virtuosic speaker, scholar and activist, Dr. Cornel West with compositions by Arturo O’Farrill for the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.
Arturo was inspired by what he called the innate musicality of West’s words when he heard him speak at a rally several years ago. “I heard music, I heard notes, I heard an incredible, profound joy,” he told The Root in an interview he gave along with West. “I wanted to capture some of that because words are important, but music has a way of sometimes transcending words, and so I asked Dr. West if I could write a concerto for him, and he trusted me with this.”
West is a veteran of spoken word, having created several albums in collaboration with artists like Prince and André 3000. But even for West, this was new territory.
“It’s profoundly humbling,” West said about participating in this fusion. “You have to learn, you have to listen, you have to adjust, you have to adapt, you have to be flexible.” And for the two artists, it was about far more than making music. “We are both fundamentally committed to truth,” West continued. “We’ve got to keep track of the ubiquitous mendacity that we see in the culture at every level from the music to the White House, from the religious institutions to the civic ones.”
Great art can come out of pain, and if there is a silver lining to the struggles that people of color in America must endure, it is that artists like West and O’Farrill not only can be inspired by their fight and search for the truth, but can also combine forces and, by doing so, become even more powerful.
map to the treasure: reimagining laura nyro ft. becca stevens & alicia olatuja
When Billy Childs was 11 years old, his older sister introduced him to the work of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter, Laura Nyro (1947-1997). Her blend of Broadway inspired melodies, jazz improvisation and socially conscious lyrics have stayed with him. Now Billy has returned to his early source of inspiration, conceiving and orchestrating the new album, Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro (Sony Masterworks), which features an incredible range of musicians who join him in interpreting her narratives.
Project features guest vocalists Becca Stevens and Alicia Olatuja.