Fridays: The Cats Talk Back - Mini Concerts and Panel Discussions on Hot Topics in Jazz will premier online on Friday, April 23rd, April 30th, and May 7th, 7 – 9 pm ET. In partnership with We Insist! and the We-UP Re-UP Online Jazz Festival. On April 30th we will broadcast live on WPFW 89.3 FM, Washington DC's Jazz & Justice radio, our media partner. Guest panelists include REGGIE WORKMAN, the last living member of the John Coltrane Quartet, STEVE COLEMAN (M-Base Founder & MacArthur Genius Grant Awardee) and CHARLES MCPHERSON (JAZZ TIMES 220 Readers Poll #1 Artist of the Year), renowned tenor saxophonist JD Allen, Nasheet Waits (Drummer, Jason Moran’s Bandwagon), and Eric Revis (Bassist, Branford Marsalis), celebrated jazz trumpeter, Antoine Drye, and others. Produced and Moderated by jazz vocalist/ethnomusicologist Maya Cunningham.
April 23, 7-9 pm ET: Jazz Improvisation as Black American Language
Friday, April 30, 7-9 pm ET: Gendered African American Music Cultures: An Africanist Ethnomusicological Perspective
Friday May 7: Jazz, Race & Power: Historical and Contemporary Coloniality & Cultural Appropriation
ABOUT THE Du BOIS BLACK MUSIC
Founded through the Black Power Movement in 1970, the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst is a legacy space for African American jazz culture bearers to speak for the music to reflect their insider perspectives. Max Roach, Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, Reggie Workman, Billy Taylor…Max Roach wrote his well-known essay “Jazz is a 4-letter Word” as a faculty member, and Archie Shepp developed a course called “Revolutionary concepts in Black Music.” We are a part of the Black Revolutionary Tradition. The Du Bois Black Music Project builds on their foundation with cutting-edge scholarship and programming like Fire Fridays: The Cats Talk Back, to give a platform to African American jazz musicians, who are indigenous to the music, to speak about it in the scholarly space of the academy, where they are rarely given a voice. Learn more at www.duboisdepartmentblackmusicproject.org
The Cats Talk Back event series facilitates intergenerational dialogues with the elder, bridge and young lion generations of jazz culture bearers, who are at the creative vanguard of the music, and culture bearers in other Black forms, and to center their voices in controversial topics in jazz scholarship, including cultural appropriation, institutionalization, and contested ownership.
On Friday April 23th Alto Sax legends Steve Coleman and Charles McPherson will offer a rare joint lecture on the bebop language of Charlie Parker that speaks to the concept of Jazz Improvisation as Black American Language. Panel discussion will include JD Allen, and Master Drummer, Donald Edwards, who will be in concert with his quintet. On Friday April 30th Africanist ethnomusicologist Dr. Kwasi Ampene (Univ. of Michigan), Gospel vocalist Cynthia Swan, and ethnomusicologist Dr. Cheryl Keyes (UCLA), will discuss with JD Allen and Antoine Drye the historical role of gender in Black music traditions like jazz, gospel and other African American music traditions. The Anthony Wonsey Trio will also present a concert. On Friday May 7th jazz legend Reggie Workman will engage with Steve Coleman, JD Allen, Nasheet Waits and Eric Revis will discuss the egregious cultural appropriation that has affected jazz historically and in the contemporary, that has excluded the music’s Black creators. The Blood Brothers featuring Nasheet Waits will present a rousing finale concert to precede the discussion.