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What are YOU doing next Monday at noon?

Kyle Walker and I are thrilled to bring our new program, “Classical Blues,” to St. John’s Episcopal in Williamstown, MA on Monday, July 1st at noon. This program explores 100 years of the magic that happens at the intersection of classical and jazz. From danceable rhythms and hummable familiar tunes, to the discovery of tantalizing new expressions of Boogie-Woogie and the blues, “who could ask for anything more?” 

The first piece on the program is by David Baker, a composer I’ve only recently discovered, and if you too are not already familiar with his music, I think you’ll love it. Baker (1931-2016) was a remarkably resilient figure, who was highly trained in both classical and jazz. He began his performing career as a jazz trombonist. After suffering an injury to his jaw in a car accident, he could no longer play the trombone, so he switched to the cello. As a young composer, he did not see much of a place for himself composing classical music; he knew of just a few black classical composers, and they struggled to get their works performed at all. But then Josef Gingold, renowned violin teacher at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, where Baker headed the Jazz Department, commissioned a violin concerto from him. The piece was a huge success, and after that the commissions started pouring in. He is credited with writing more than 2,000 compositions, synthesizing elements of jazz, classical, and various ethnic folk styles. The piece of his we’re playing is called Blues (Deliver My Soul). You’ll hear an improvisatory violin solo lead into a gospel-style blues.

I'll save the details of the rest of the program for the show. If you can’t make it in person, the recital will be livestreamed. We hope to see you there, but if you’re watching from the comfort of your own home, that’s great too! Send a message to let us know your thoughts and reactions to this great, genre-defying music.

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