Jazz on the Plaza: Roger Blank, George Braith, and Melissa Slocum:August 22, 2014 Peekskill, NY

"Behold the Flight of the Celestial Bird"

Jazz on the Plaza: Roger Blank, George Braith, and Melissa Slocum

Friday, August 22, 2014 6pm

The Field Library Plaza ∙ 4 Nelson Avenue ∙ Peekskill, NY

The Field Library is proud to take you on a journey with world-renowned jazz musicians Roger Blank, George Braith, and Melissa Slocum as they perform "Behold the Flight of the Celestial Bird", an improvisation based on African folklore, the roots of American jazz, and the quest for strength, identity, and unity through the power of music
Bandleader Roger Blank is a celebrated drummer and percussionist known for his melodic and fluid style which anchored such seminal recordings as Sun Ra’s "Other Planes of There" (1964) and "The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol.2"
( 1965),Walt Dickerson’s " Impressions of A Patch of Blue" (1964), "The New Wave in Jazz" (with John Coltrane) (1965), and Pharoah Saunders "Tauhid" (1966). Blank later started his own combo, The Melodic Art Tet, who were major players in New York’s important Loft Movement in the mid 70s. After a stint in Atlanta in the 90s, he returns to the stage to perform this piece and announce his comeback.

Multi - horn innovator George Braith is a harmonic pioneer who developed his own unique instrument called the Braithophone , in which two instruments are joined together to create a unifying, all-embracing sound. Originally inspired by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Braith recorded three albums for Blue Note from 1963-1964 and later went on to play with Big John Patton and record for the Prestige label. Currently, he releases his own music through Excellence Records and plays regularly all over the world.

Master bassist Melissa Slocum has been performing since 1982 and has worked with Art Blakey, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis, Woody Shaw and Hank Jones. Fluent in a multiple range of styles, including big band, traditional, and avant garde, Slocum also performs with local orchestras, Baroque period ensembles and has been the bassist for The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway since 2001.

" Behold The Flight of the Celestial Bird" takes the listener along with the musicians as they unfold their story. Blank explains:
"I developed an interest in preparing musical selections as a teacher, to make the youth aware of our musical history, our culture from Africa, as we reach the present day. That’s what this concert is about.

"Our trip begins in Africa and the drums first echo man’s skin on animal skin. A dirge reflects the woes of the Middle Passage into America. Soon we get to New Orleans, where jazz was born, and it becomes interplay. We move up through the Mississippi, Be-bopping over to Kansas City, and then up to Chicago. Onward to New York. Giant Steps…

"African music lore teaches us that when all of the musicians play their selection in a sequence of togetherness, a spiritual window opens up, and there is the Celestial Bird. It reaches down, and empowers musicians with a fire that gives them strength and identity. I want this bond, and the quest for our musical past, to be as one with the audience."

The Field Library welcomes you to experience this very special event.

The Field Library Summer Music Series ∙ 4 Nelson Avenue ∙ Peekskill, NY ∙ (914) 737-1212 ∙ www.peekskill.org

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