Wadada Leo Smith
Jez Nelson presents Wadada Leo Smith performing pieces from his work Ten Freedom Summers at London's Cafe Oto. The project features music inspired by the civil rights movement.
Wadada Leo Smith performing pieces from his work Ten Freedom Summers at London's Café Oto.
Ten Freedom Summers is seven hours of music inspired by the Civil Rights Movement. It's less of a suite in the traditional sense, more of a collection of compositions that Smith curates into different groupings according to mood and moment. Rigorously composed, but with plenty of room for free improvisation, pieces like Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers and Emmet Till provide a starkly dramatic signpost to key events and personalities in the struggle; while That Sunday Morning is a moving elegy for the four girls murdered in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama in 1963.
It's an ambitious work, but one which rewards the listener with passages of extraordinary power and beauty, Smith's trumpet variously evoking the raw energy of the gospel preacher, the cut-glass quality of Miles Davis and the gnomic utterances of Sun Ra.
Smith's Golden Quartet featuring Anthony Davis on piano, John Lindberg on bass and Anthony Brown on drums is accompanied by the Ligeti String Quartet.
Presenter: Jez Nelson
Producers: Peggy Sutton & Miranda Hinkley.
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Wadada Leo Smith reflects on Ten Freedom Summers
Wadada Leo Smith recorded at Cafe Oto, London on 22 November 2013
TEN FREEDOM SUMMERS: Second Collection: What is Democracy?
Line up: Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet, flugelhorn); Anthony Davis (piano); John Lindberg (bass); Anthony Brown (drums);
Mandhira de Saram (violin); Patrick Dawkins (violin); Richard Jones (viola); Ben Davis (cello)