“enormously rewarding, like mid-period Miles Davis playing Ligeti” –The Independent
“Whether you put these dates on your ‘jazz’ or ‘classical’ calendar—or even if you just place it on your ‘mind-bending art’ calendar—consider Smith’s Roulette performances among the most important concerts in New York this season.” –The Village Voice
Last fall, the illustrious trumpeter-composer Wadada Leo Smith unveiled, Ten Freedom Summers, a monumental 5-hour work about the American Civil Rights movement that stunned the jazz world. A thoughtful meditation on historical memory that speaks to the present moment as clearly as the singing notes of Smith’s trumpet, Ten Freedom Summers is also an awe-inspiring virtuosic 22-part work of fully sustained suites that pushes the boundaries of jazz and classical composition to new heights.
In a special engagement at Roulette, Wadada Leo Smith presents the moving, epic, and revelatory Ten Freedom Summers in three parts across three consecutive nights, beginning on Wednesday, May 1, and concluding on Friday, May 3. Following each performance, Wadada Leo Smith will conduct a short Q&A.
Ten Freedom Summers is the result of Smith’s many years of research and reflection concerning the philosophical, social, and political history of the United States of America as framed by decisive historical moments from the Civil Rights movement. Hailed in All About Jazz – “As a work of sustained imagination and creation, Ten Freedom Summers has few parallels in the annals of jazz” – this 3-night engagement is not to be missed.
The performances of Ten Freedom Summers will feature the Golden Quartet and the Pacifica Coral Reef Ensemble with original imagery by video artist Jesse Gilbert.
Wadada Leo Smith is a trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser has been active in creative contemporary music for over forty years. His systemic music language Ankhrasmation is significant in his development as an artist and educator. Born in Leland, Mississippi, Smith’s early musical life began in the high school concert and marching bands. At the age of thirteen, he became involved with the Delta Blues and Improvisation music traditions. He received his formal musical education with his stepfather Alex Wallace, the U.S. Military band program (1963), Sherwood School of Music (1967-69), and Wesleyan University (1975-76).
Wadada Leo Smith’s “Ten Freedom Summers” is funded in part through New Music USA’s MetLife Creative Connections Program.