August 11 | 7PM | CityStage

Join us for an inspired evening of jazz and conversation with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, a Grammy-nominated trumpeter hailed as one of the most dynamic composers and performers on the scene today.

As a prelude to the music, Adjuah will be joined by special guests, Charles Neville and Sarah Elizabeth Charles as part of an intergenerational conversation that explores art as activism; a means for addressing, resisting, and overcoming forms of social injustice. The evening will open with a short performance by the First Generation Ensemble, a group of young actors from Springfield who examine issues surrounding racial profiling, mass incarceration, and the school to prison pipeline.

As a trumpeter, Mr. Scott is the rare musician who has defined a personal solution to one of jazz’s biggest challenges these days: how to make sure solos stay engaging now that the swinging rhythms and swift chord changes of traditional bebop have largely given way to simmering grooves. Mr. Scott achieves this by ditching the linear, spry soloing style that defined bop, instead favoring lengthy, draped melodies punctured by the occasional boisterous howl on the trumpet.

Raised in New Orleans’ Upper Ninth Ward, he grew up immersed in his city’s music and Black Indian culture… Over the past decade-plus, he’s shown a steadfast determination to connect his jazz technique and New Orleans heritage to styles like alt-rock and hip-hop, and his all-embracing concept, which he calls Stretch Music, has sparked collaborations with everyone from John Coltrane alum McCoy Tyner to Prince and Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace.

As a prelude to the music, Adjuah will be joined by fellow musicians, Charles Neville and Sarah Elizabeth Charles as part of an intergenerational conversation that explores art as activism; a means for addressing, resisting, and overcoming forms of social injustice. Facilitated by Hampshire College Africana Studies and History professor Christopher Tinson, the group will reflect on how racial inequality has shaped the evolution of jazz – the great American art form – and share stories about how each artist has used musical expression as a vehicle for social change.

The evening will open with a short performance by the Performance Project’s First Generation Ensemble, a group of young actors from Springfield who examine issues surrounding racial profiling, mass incarceration, and the school to prison pipeline.

TICKETS: $25 (balcony), $35 (orchestra), $75 (donor package)

The donor package includes a reception before the show and a meet and greet with the artists afterwards

Jazz & Justice is produced by Blues to Green, the nonprofit organization behind the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival, and funded in part by Mass Humanities. Proceeds from the concert help to support the festival, making world-class jazz music free and accessible to people from all walks of life.

Charles Neville is of an older generation, one of four brothers (the Neville Brothers) who are considered legends of New Orleans and American music. His musical career began in the 1950’s, touring the segregated South. He was also incarcerated as a young man, and can speak to many of the historical challenges facing African Americans in this country. His musical career has spanned decades, and he can share personal experiences and knowledge reflecting the history and evolution of jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll, and their roots in New Orleans’ musical culture and in the Mississippi River Delta region. Charles’ life journey exemplifies courage and resistance, and speaks to the power of music to touch people of different backgrounds and life experiences, connect us to one another, and help to overcome long embedded racial divisions.

Sarah Elizabeth Charles is a young jazz vocalist from Springfield, who now lives in New York City. Along with performing professionally, she participates in Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connection program, working with men incarcerated at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Inmates create, perform, and produce original music alongside professional musicians–expressing their voices and discovering new opportunities for personal growth. Both Christian and Sarah see the importance of the platform they have as artists, to reflect on and speak up about the issues around them, and to try to effect change.

“…An incredible talent, bewitching and beguiling with her every vocal gesture”     ~All About Jazz

The First Generation Ensemble, made up of young adults from Springfield, will do a short performance from their piece entitled “Tenderness”, which looks at issues of racial profiling, mass incarceration, and the school to prison pipeline. The piece also focuses on acts of tenderness– in the midst of hardship, these acts deepen our humanity and our bond with one another. Each of the musical artists who will participate in the conversation can speak personally to these issues, to the role that music has played in their own lives, and to how the music coming out of communities of color has shaped the American cultural identity. The music itself is an expression of tenderness, of human connection, and also of liberation. Members of First Generation may join the musicians– Christian Scott, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, and Charles Neville, in the facilitated conversation.