“Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land”
- May 17 (Saturday), Community Baptist Church, 7 pm (by donation)
- May 24 (Saturday), Glaser Center, Santa Rosa, 7 pm ($20)
- June 5 (Thursday), Raven Theater, Healdsburg, 7 pm ($20)
At last year’s Healdsburg Jazz Festival, bassist Marcus Shelby – a composer of Ellingtonian sweep and ambition – enacted his suite Soul of a Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a 16-piece jazz orchestra and the 100+ strong HJF Freedom Jazz Choir created especially for the Festival with help from a grant provided by the James Irvine Foundation.
Download press release on this event. (PDF, 88 kb)
This year, Shelby plans to repeat the magic with another of his suites, Harriet Tubman, Bound for the Promised Land. As with last year, the project is “about using music as a unifying force,” according to Jessica Felix, founder and creative director of the Healdsburg Jazz Festival and the project.
“We want to involve Sonoma County’s diverse population by offering direct performance opportunities for participants to work alongside professional musicians, creating a profound cultural experience and fostering cooperation and understanding while expanding awareness and access to jazz.”
The singers will get coaching from Shelby and singer Tiffany Austin. Adam Ivey, director of Santa Rosa’s Joyous Noise Community Baptist Church Ensemble, has been commissioned to compose two pieces for the ensemble. The dynamic Ms. Faye Carol will be once again contribute her soulful vocals.
Of Shelby’s “Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land,” the San Francisco Chronicle raved that it was “not only a true tour de force but also, more significantly, a work that constantly reveals new aspects of itself with each listening.” The 2007 CD release of the suite featured Faye Carol in the role of Tubman, the former slave who became a leading abolitionist in the pre-Civil War era. With Shelby’s Charles Mingus-influenced orchestration, the suite richly evokes the life of the escaped slave and abolitionist.
“Harriet Tubman” proved a landmark effort. Combining modern jazz, soul and spirituals, it richly evoked the life of the escaped slave and abolitionist. With close to 100 singers telling her story in Healdsburg, transcendence is practically guaranteed.