The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Oct 07, 2013

A Harlem gospel tradition comes to Charlotte

Posted by kbalcerek

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Chorale Le Chateau will make a joyful noise at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church this coming Tuesday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m. Blending jazz expression with sacred African American church service, this concert, “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration,” will traverse jazz history from spirituals to hard-bop and echo a Harlem gospel tradition. Tickets for this performance are $20 for general admission and can be purchased through the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

The concert is based on “Abyssinian Mass,” which was composed in 2008 by Wynton Marsalis to celebrate the bicentennial of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the first African-American Baptist Church in New York state founded in 1808 by a group of African Americans who refused to accept segregated seating. The Church played a key role in the development of religious music during the Harlem Renaissance and remains at the forefront of the gospel tradition. Marsalis’ composition pays homage to this role while blending Duke Ellington big-band style with New Orleans dirges and struts, traditional classical masses and the vocals of the 70-member choir in call-and-response rituals.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation joined with Blumenthal Performing Arts and the Arts & Science Council to present “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration,” bringing this multi-city concert tour to Charlotte.  The tour will also stop in Augusta, Ga; New Orleans and Boston.  Grammy-nominated Damien Sneed will conduct Chorale Le Chateau, while Wynton Marsalis will perform with the Orchestra.

 “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration" will take place Tuesday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 3400 Beatties Ford Rd., Charlotte.

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