Wadada Leo Smith Presents ROSA PARKS: PURE LOVE. AN ORATORIO OF SEVEN SONGS At The Kitchen
Wadada Leo Smith's Rosa Parks: Pure Love. An Oratorio of Seven Songs pays tribute to Rosa Parks for an action that, in Smith's own words, "generated a movement worldwide for liberty and justice for human beings." Through composition, Smith expresses his philosophical and spiritual narrative about his vision of this legendary figure. Embedded in the oratorio are brief excerpts from early recordings by Smith, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, and Steve McCall, the four musicians who made up the legendary ensemble known as the Creative Construction Company. The oratorio is concerned with Smith's ideas and meditation on the Civil Rights movement, reconnecting history to the present through lighting, photographs, and video images.
Smith is joined by: Diamond Voices, a trio including Karen Parks (vocals), Min Xiao-Fen (vocals and pipa), and Carmina Escobar (vocals); the RedKoral Quartet, including Shalini Vijayan (violin), Mona Tian (violin), Andrew McIntosh (viola), and Ashley Walters (cello); the BlueTrumpet Quartet, including Smith (trumpet), Ted Daniel (trumpet), and two additional trumpet players to be announced; the Janus Duo, with Pheeroan akLaff (drums) and Hardedge (electronics); as well as video in live performance by Jesse Gilbert and butoh dance performed by Oguri.
The performances will take place April 26-28 at The Kitchen, 512 W 19th St, New York. Tickets ($35 general / $25 members) are available online at thekitchen.org; by phone at 212.255.5793 x11; and in person at The Kitchen, Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2:00-6:00pm. The performances on April 26 and 27 are at 8pm; the performance on April 28 is at 3pm.
Trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and improviser Wadada Leo Smith is one of the most boldly original and influential artists of his time. Transcending the bounds of genre or idiom, he distinctly defines his music, tirelessly inventive in both sound and approach, as "Creative Music." Throughout his career, Smith has been recognized for his groundbreaking work. A finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, he received the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and earned an honorary doctorate from CalArts, where he was also celebrated as Faculty Emeritus. In addition, he received the Hammer Museum's 2016 Mohn Award for Career Achievement "honoring brilliance and resilience." In 2018 he received the Religion and The Arts Award from the American Academy of Religion.
Born December 18, 1941 in Leland, Mississippi, Smith's early musical life began at age thirteen when he became involved with the Delta blues and jazz traditions performing with his stepfather, bluesman Alex Wallace. He received his formal musical education from the U.S. Military band program (1963), the Sherwood School of Music (1967-69), and Wesleyan University (1975-76). Smith regularly earns multiple spots on the DownBeat International Critics Poll. In 2017 he topped three categories: Best Jazz Artist, Trumpeter of the Year and Jazz Album of the Year, and was featured as the subject of a cover story in August 2017. The Jazz Journalists Association also honored Smith as their 2017 Musician of the Year as well as 2017 Duo of the Year for his work with Vijay Iyer. The JJA named him their 2016 Trumpeter of the Year, 2015 Composer of the Year, and 2013 Musician of the Year, and he has earned top billing in two categories in the JazzTimes Critics Poll as Artist of the Year and Composer of the Year. Smith's landmark 2012 civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers was called "A staggering achievement [that] merits comparison to Coltrane's A Love Supreme in sobriety and reach."
The Kitchen is one of New York City's most forward-looking nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines. Our programs range from dance, music, performance, and theater to video, film, and art, in addition to literary events, artists' talks, and lecture series. Since its inception in 1971, The Kitchen has been a powerful force in shaping the cultural landscape of this country, and has helped launch the careers of many artists who have gone on to worldwide prominence.