2013 A Year of Jubilee: the 36th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert with NES & JCMC Ensemble
Friends of John Coltrane Memorial Concert presents A Year of Jubilee: the 36th annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert, with the New England Spiritual Ensemble and the John Coltrane Memorial Concert Ensemble; hosted by Eric Jackson. Saturday, November 23, 7:30 pm.
The John Coltrane Memorial Concert Ensemble will partner with the New England Spiritual Ensemble to present an evening of Jubilee Songs in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and in memory of the four young girls (Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson & Denise McNair) who were killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963.
“A richly deserved standing ovation capped another successful John Coltrane Memorial Concert,
with everyone present already impatiently awaiting next year’s edition.” (The ArtsFuse, 2012 concert review)
As New England’s premiere vocal ensemble, the New England Spiritual Ensemble is dedicated to the preservation and performance of Negro spirituals, including Jubilee Songs with lyrics that are often more direct in revealing the enslaved Blacks’ existence. This year’s concert will feature a select repertoire encompassing a variety of vocal and instrumental manifestations, integrating John Coltrane’s rich contribution to the expansive body of songs codified as Jubilee Songs.
From childhood, Coltrane was well versed in Jubilee Songs. Both his grandfathers were AMEZ ministers and the young Coltrane grew up hearing and singing the music of the black church. In elementary school, he wrote a research paper on the renowned black concert singer Marian Anderson, who performed a diverse repertoire of spirituals. Coltrane was raised in the religious south and some of his compositions, such as “Spiritual,” “Alabama,” “Song of the Underground Railroad,” are clearly drawn from his deep familiarity with Negro spirituals.
New England Spiritual Ensemble
Based in Boston, the New England Spiritual Ensemble was founded in 1994 by Vincent Dion Stringer, Myran Parker-Brass and Beverly Mosby. The members of the ensemble are conservatory trained, professional musicians who are exceptional communicators. Their performances are captivating and totally engrossing, always involving the audience emotionally. According to the Boston Globe, the Ensemble is “excellent…blessed with performers who own good voices…daringly expressive,” and reported that their performance “brought a hush to the hall.” Modeled after the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers, the ensemble is devoted to “preserving the art and tradition of Negro spirituals.” As such, members have created several educational outreach programs over the years, including a summer music camp for high school students, a Spirituals symposium that aired online at WGBH, and a joint workshop with the Cantata Singers at Boston Arts Academy’s Summer Institute for educators. In addition to national and international tours, the New England Spiritual Ensemble has appeared nationally on “CBS Sunday Morning,” on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” and is the subject of several public television features. Their recording, Comin’ Up Shouting, features the arrangements of spirituals and works of John Andrew Ross.
The New England Spiritual Ensemble includes Christina DeVaughn (soprano), Joei Marshall Perry (soprano), Myran Parker-Brass (alto), Cynthia Harmon (alto), Orlando Lightfoot (tenor), Davron S. Monroe (tenor), David C. Howse (baritone), Daniel Perry (bass), and Milton Wright (bass).
John Coltrane Memorial Concert Ensemble
John Coltrane Memorial Concert Ensemble features some of the leading musicians of our time, many who also happen to be based in the Boston-area. Along with long time JCMC affiliates Stan Strickland (reeds/woodwinds) and Carl Atkins (reeds/woodwinds), this year’s concert will also feature Cosimo Boni (trumpet), Lance Bryant (reeds/woodwinds), Jeff Galindo (trombone), Yoron Israel (drums), Ron Mahdi (acoustic bass), Michael Peipman (trumpet), Sarah Politz (trombone), George W. Russell, Jr. (piano) and Bobby Tynes (reeds/woodwinds).
Friends of John Coltrane Memorial Concert
John Coltrane Memorial Concert, the world’s oldest performance tribute to the musical & spiritual legacy of John Coltrane, who inspired many, no matter the community or culture, to achieve musical, spiritual, and humanitarian heights never thought possible. The gathering is presented by the Boston-based Friends of John Coltrane Memorial Concert, Inc. (fJCMC), originally established as John Coltrane Memorial Concert in 1977 and incorporated in 2012. Producers of the concert are Leonard Brown and Emmett G. Price III.
fJCMC is proud to acknowledge this year’s sponsors which at press time are Color Magazine, JazzBoston!, John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute (JDOAAI) at Northeastern University, MassJazz, Northeastern Center for the Arts, Northeastern University, Touch 106.1 FM, and The Word Boston.
The first concert was performed in Boston on the Sunday evening of the 10th year anniversary of Coltrane’s death, July 17, 1977, in the Friends of Great Black Music Loft, a performance space for creative arts established by master percussionist Syd Smart. The concert developed through the collective efforts of Syd Smart, bassist Hayes Burnet, and saxophonist Leonard Brown.
These musicians believed that:
–African American musicians should exert leadership in perpetuating, expanding, enhancing and defining the musical traditions of African American people.
–John Coltrane was one of the most remarkable musicians in history and worthy of a memorial tribute.
–The community of both listeners and musicians has a continued deep and abiding interest in and love for Coltrane’s music.
They organized a concert honoring Coltrane that featured exciting, beautiful and moving renditions of his musical compositions. The attendance and response was so overwhelming that a decision was made to hold the concert annually. Since then, the John Coltrane Memorial Concert (JCMC) has gradually developed into a Boston tradition featuring many outstanding musicians.
Before coming to Northeastern University in 1986, the JCMC had several “homes”. By the early 1980’s it had outgrown the seating audience capacity of the Loft , moving to the Modern Theatre for one year and then to Emmanuel Church till 1985 when it was held at New England Life Hall.
In 1986, the JCMC came to Northeastern University, where it has been in residence over the past 26 years, providing the greater Boston and Cambridge communities with outstanding and memorable musical experiences. The Friends of the John Coltrane Memorial Concert (FJCMC) was incorporated as a separate entity in 2012. FJCMC is taking this opportunity to express sincere thanks to the law office of Wilmer Hale for its role in establishing this newly formed FJCMC, with special acknowledgements given to Stephen Olesky, Hal J. Leibowitz, Amy Segal and Jordan Schwartz.
The annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert has a tradition of presenting world class musicians and creative artists. The list includes Kamau Adilifu, Ahmad Alaadeen, De Ama Battle and the Art of Black Dance and Music, Amiri Baraka, Bill Barron, Gary Bartz, Edith and Alvin Batiste, Brother Blue, Cecil Bridgewater, Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Coleman, Ravi Coltrane, Carlos Cordova, Alan Dawson, Santi Debriano, Bill Dixon, Frank Foster, Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Michael Harper, Nat Hentoff, Giovanni Hildago, Manenque Hildago, Yusef Lateef, Cecil McBee, Andy McGhee, Mulgrew Miller, Nancy Ostrovsky, Danilo Perez, Ralph Peterson, George Russell, Phaorah Sanders, Shirley Scott, Cecilia Smith, and McCoy Tyner.
“Coltrane (still) draws a crowd … With 14 impeccably improvisational musicians leading the liturgy and several Boston jazz fixtures beatified throughout the course of the night, this year’s Coltrane tribute was like a Sunday morning service on Saturday night.”
(Boston Globe, 2011)