UMS Concert Program, March 14, 2018 - Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation
A Search for Salvation Gerald Clayton Concept and Composer Christopher McElroen Director featuringÊ Ren Marie /ÊVocals withÊ Gerald Clayton & The Assembly Gerald Clayton / Piano Godwin Louis / Alto Saxophone Jimmy Greene / Tenor Saxophone Dayna Stephens / Baritone Saxophone Alan Hampton / Guitar Rashaan Carter / Bass Kendrick Scott / Drums Maurice Chestnut / Tap Dance and Gospel Choir of Hope United Methodist Church Alvin Waddles / Director Wednesday Evening, March 14, 2018 at 7:30 Michigan Theater Ann Arbor 71st Performance of the 139th Annual Season
Traditions and Crosscurrents This eveningÕs performance is supported by Michigan Medicine. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Media partnership provided by WEMU 89.1 FM. Special thanks to Taylor Renee Aldridge, Jenna Bacolor, Clare Croft, Nic Gareiss, Tariq Gardner,
Jennifer Harge, Amanda Krugliak, Lynn Settles, Mark Siegfried, Ann Arbor Public Schools Community Education and Recreation, the Ann Arbor Y, ARTS.BLACK, and the U-M Institute for the Humanities for their participation in events surrounding this eveningÕs performance. Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation appears by arrangement with B Natural Management, Inc. In consideration of the artists and the audience, please refrain from the use of electronic devices during the performance. The photography, sound recording, or videotaping of this performance is prohibited. CREATIVE TEAM Text / Jaymes Jorsling and Lizz Wright Projections Designer / Liviu Pasare
Lighting Designer / Becca Jeffords
Scenic Designer / William Boles
Sound Engineer / Adam Camardella
Production Manager / Will Bishop
Associate Production Manager / JJ Marquis
Producers / B Natural, Inc. and the american vicarious Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation is approximately 75 minutes in duration and is performed without intermission. 3 PIEDMONT BLUES Inspired by the personal discoveries that have unfolded through my artistic practice, IÕm committed to continuing the search for truth and meaning in the creative process. I strive to make music that doesnÕt simply entertain, but also provokes reflection: inquiry-driven music that ruminates on the human condition. IÕm honored to be part of a musical lineage that values art as an essential part of intellectual development and spiritual growth. Piedmont Blues is an exceptional opportunity for me to manifest the emotional quality of the Piedmont blues through my compositions for The Assembly. The first music I can remember was piano-centric blues. The nuance of language and daily life that resides within the blues fascinates me. The blues feels close to home. The essence of the music is experiential in nature Ñ a creative response to pain and suffering in daily life. My aim with this project is to capture the arc of African American pain and triumph through the expression of the Piedmont blues, to both illustrate the artistry specific to the Piedmont tradition, and also to dig beneath the surface of the music to understand the core of the compositions and the struggle to overcome oppression, poverty, and pain. Ñ Gerald Clayton Photo (next spread): Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation; photographer: Andy Tennille. ARTISTS Gerald Clayton (composer and piano) searches for honest expression in every note he plays. With harmonic curiosity and critical awareness, he develops musical narratives that unfold as a result of both deliberate searching and chance uncovering. The four-time Grammy-nominated pianist/composer formally began his musical journey at the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where he received the 2002 Presidential Scholar of the Arts Award. Continuing his scholarly pursuits, he earned a BA in piano performance at USCÕs Thornton School of Music under the instruction of piano icon Billy Childs, after a year of intensive study with NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron at The Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Clayton won second place in the 2006 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition. Expansion has become part of Mr. ClaytonÕs artistic identity. His music is a celebration of the inherent differences in musical perspectives that promote true artistic synergy. Inclusive sensibilities have allowed him to perform and record with such distinctive artists as Diana Krall, Roy Hargrove, Dianne Reeves, Ambrose Akinmusire, Dayna Stephens, Kendrick Scott, Ben Williams, Terell Stafford & Dick Oatts, Michael Rodriguez, Terri Lyne Carrington, Avishai Cohen, and the Clayton Brothers Quintet. He has also enjoyed an extended association with saxophone legend Charles Lloyd, touring and recording together since 2013. 2016 marked his second year as musical director of the Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour, a project that features his trio along with Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Payton, and Raul Midn on guitar and vocals. Mr. ClaytonÕs discography as a leader reflects his evolution as an artist. His debut recording, Two Shade (ArtistShare), earned a 2010 Grammy nomination in the ÒBest Improvised Jazz SoloÓ category for his arrangement of Cole PorterÕs ÒAll of You.Ó ÒBattle Circle,Ó his composition featured on The Clayton BrothersÕ recording,ÊThe New Song and DanceÊ(ArtistShare), received a Grammy nomination for ÒBest Jazz Instrumental CompositionÓ in 2011. He received 2012 and 2013 Grammy nominations in the ÒBest Jazz Instrumental AlbumÓ category for Bond: The Paris Sessions (Concord) and Life Forum (Concord), his second and third album releases. Capturing the truth in each momentÕs conception of sound comes naturally to Mr. Clayton. The son of beloved bass player and composer John Clayton, he enjoyed a familial apprenticeship from an early age. Mr. Clayton honors the legacy of his father and all his musical ancestors through a commitment to artistic exploration, innovation, and reinvention. For this piece, he turns his imaginative curiosity toward uncovering the essence of the Piedmont blues experience and expression in early 20th-century Durham. Christopher McElroen (director) is a Brooklyn-based theater artist and the artistic director of the american vicarious. Mr. McElroen received a 2013 Helen Hayes Award for his direction of the world premiere stage adaptation of Ralph EllisonÕs iconic novelÊInvisible Man. Alongside visual artist Paul Chan and Creative Time, he co-produced and directed Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, a community development through the arts initiative that staged Samuel BeckettÕs Waiting for Godot outdoors in the Lower Ninth Ward and Gentilly communities of post-Katrina New Orleans. The New York Times listed the project as one of the ÒTop 10 National Art Events of 2007.Ó The archives from the production have been acquired into the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and were on exhibit at MOMA in May 2010 through September 2011. He had the honor of directing the world premiere of 51st (dream) State, the final work of poet, musician, and activist Sekou Sundiata. 51st (dream) State was a multimedia exploration of American empire that premiered in New York at Brooklyn Academy of MusicÕs Next Wave Festival before touring internationally. Mr. McElroen co-founded the acclaimed Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) where from 1999Ð2009 he produced 41 productions yielding 18 AUDELCO Awards, six Obie Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, a Drama Desk Award, and being named ÒOne of Eight Theaters in America to WatchÓ by the Drama League. His work has been recognized with the American Theatre Wing Award (ÒOutstanding Artistic AchievementÓ), Drama Desk Award (ÒArtistic AchievementÓ), Edwin Booth Award (ÒOutstanding Contribution to NYC TheaterÓ), Lucille Lortel Award (ÒOutstanding Body of WorkÓ), two Obie Awards (ÒSustained AchievementÓ and ÒExcellence in TheatreÓ), and a Helen Hayes Award (ÒOutstanding DirectionÓ). In a span of two decades, 11 recordings, and countless stage performances, Ren Marie (vocals) has cemented her reputation as not only a singer but also a composer, arranger, theatrical performer, and teacher. Guided and tempered by powerful life lessons and rooted in jazz traditions laid down by Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, and other leading ladies of past generations, she borrows various elements of folk, R&B, and even classical and country to create a captivating hybrid style. Ms. Marie was born in November 1955 into a family of seven children in Warrenton, Virginia. While neither of her parents were formally trained musicians, radio and records of all kinds Ñ blues, folk, bluegrass, and classical Ñ made up the soundtrack to her childhood. She had just one year of formal piano training at age nine, then another year of lessons at age 13 after her parents divorced and she moved with her mother to Roanoke, Virginia. During her teenage years, she sang in a few R&B bands at musical functions in her community. She composed and sang her first piece with a band when she was 15. Putting her musical aspirations aside to make room for the obligations and responsibilities of adulthood, she married a former bandmate when she was 18, and by the mid-1990s, she was the mother of two and working in a bank. When she was 41, her older son convinced her to start singing again, and she took a few tenuous steps into her local music scene, singing for tips one night a week in a hotel bar. Her husband was initially supportive of her reboot to her musical career, but he later issued an ultimatum: stop singing or leave their home. Tension over the issue escalated from emotional abuse to domestic violence, and she left the house and the marriage behind. She left her bank job, moved to Richmond, Virginia, divorced her husband of 23 years, produced her first CD, signed onto the MaxJazz label, and took the title role in the world premiere production of Ella and Her Fella Frank at
the Barksdale Theatre in Richmond. Ms. MarieÕs recordings include the self-produced CD RenaissanceÊ(1999). In 2000, she signed onto the MaxJazz label and recorded How Can I Keep from Singing? (2000), Vertigo (2001), Live at Jazz Standard (2003), and Serene Renegade (2004). She parted ways with the label and recorded and co-produced her sixth CD, Experiment in Truth, in 2007. Ms. Marie appeared in a one-woman stage show, Slut Energy Theory: UÕDean, a play about overcoming abuse and incest, in 2009, and released the soundtrack that year. Ms. Marie joined the Motma label with the 2011 release of Voice of My Beautiful Country, followed later that same year by Black Lace Freudian Slip. Her 2013 follow-up, I Wanna Be Evil: With Love To Eartha Kitt, earned a Grammy nomination in the ÒBest Jazz Vocal AlbumÓ category. Her latest release is Sound of Red (Motma, 2016), her first album of all-original material. The Gospel Choir of Hope United Methodist Church (also known as Southfield Hope) was formed in 1990 under the pastorate of
Dr. Carlyle F. Stewart, III. Two of its charter members, Johnetta Christopher and the late Florence Richardson, were instrumental in its formation. The first director of the Choir was Dr. Murray Morrow. The Choir presented its first concert in February 1991 under the direction of Charles Garner who was then the director of music at Hope UMC. The Choir has been under the direction of Alvin Waddles since 1994. During that time, the Choir has performed throughout the Metropolitan Detroit area as well as in Chicago and Indiana. Though traditional and contemporary gospel music accounts for the majority of its repertoire as its name suggests, the Choir also performs spirituals and anthems and has been praised for its polished and spirited performances. Pianist, singer, composer, and director Alvin Waddles (director, Gospel Choir of Hope United Methodist Church) has delighted audiences in over a dozen countries with his dazzling technique, fluid versatility, and unique musical style. A native of Detroit and a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Mr. Waddles is equally at home in the worlds of classical piano, opera, theater, jazz, and gospel. He has performed at the Detroit International Jazz Festival; with the Detroit, Rochester, and Michigan Opera Theater symphony orchestras; is the featured piano soloist in annual productions of Too Hot to Handel in Detroit and Chicago; and can frequently be heard performing his own Fats Waller Revue. He has performed across the country as musical director and pianist for Cook, Dixon, and Young (formerly of the Three MoÕ Tenors) and has been blessed to work with some of the worldÕs finest musicians including Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, Brazeal Dennard, Minister Thomas Whitfield, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Placido Domingo, George Shirley, Marcus Belgrave, Jack Jones, Haley Westenra, Stephanie Mills, and Tramaine Hawkins.
UMS welcomes the artists of Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation as they make their UMS debuts this evening. GOSPEL CHOIR OF HOPE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Alvin Waddles / Director Soprano Troi Abner Stacey Barret Samantha Fentress Helen Jones-Jones Chandra Lewis Lorraine Love Kathy Manuel Jackie Massey Patricia Nelson Kyreesha Smith Deborah Squirewell Pat Swan-Brown Deborah Thornhill Earlene Traylor-Neal Lori Waddles Lori Wesby Alto Loretta Brown Beverly Burks Jessica Harps Gloria Hayes Latricia Hemphill Tish Higginbotham Beverly Scarbrough Debbie Smith Yvonne Smith Sharon Thomas Johna Treadwell Casandra Williams Rosemary Williams Tenor Beverly Coleman Jackie Coleman Faira Glenn Develyn Hamilton Alicia Kirk Larry Kitchen Aaron Squirewell Melvin Stafford Jennifer Troy Duke Performances | Duke University is the lead commissioner of Piedmont Blues; co-commissioners include the Modlin Center for the Arts at University of Richmond, the Savannah Music Festival, and Strathmore.
Critical support for Piedmont Blues has been provided by Music Maker Relief Foundation Ñ a nonprofit based in Hillsborough, NC Ñ founded in 1994 to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting musicians, ensuring that their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. For Piedmont Blues, Music Maker Relief Foundation connected Gerald Clayton with the elder artists and provided the archival music and photographs that inspired this compelling work.ÊSelect photos in Piedmont Blues by Timothy Duffy, Music Maker Relief Foundation. www.musicmaker.org.
Made possible, in part, with an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; a grant from the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources; and a grant from New Music USA.
Special thanks to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University, and the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for serving as research sites for Piedmont Blues. TONIGHTÕS VICTORS FOR UMS: Michigan Medicine Ñ National Endowment
for the Arts Supporters of this eveningÕs performance of Piedmont Blues:
A Search for Salvation. MAY WE ALSO RECOMMEND... 3/17 Steve Lehman & Slbyone wsg Jamaal May, poetry 3/31 Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Chick Corea 4/13 A Tribute to the Jazz Epistles: Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya Tickets available at www.ums.org. ON THE EDUCATION HORIZONÉ 3/19 FRAME: A Salon Series on Visual Art, Performance, and Identity (202 S. Thayer Street Building, Atrium, 7:00 pm) 3/20 Imagining in the Archive: Artist Interview with Jillian Walker
and Anita Gonzalez (202 S. Thayer Street Building, 4:00 pm) Part of the 2017Ð18 UMS Education and Community Engagement Research Residency 3/23 Tignon: Work-in-Progress Reading (Newman Studio, Walgreen Drama Center, 1226 Murfin Avenue, 4:00 pm) Part of the 2017Ð18 UMS Education and Community Engagement Research Residency Educational events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.
University Musical Society