Showing posts from December, 2011

Ten Freedom Summers: Wadada Leo Smith and Me

Anticipatory Moments
The First Interview
The Second Interview
Los Angeles
The Rehearsals
The Performances
The Players
The Program for October 28, 29, and 30, 2011

Anticipatory Moments

Six months before the October, 2011, premiere of Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers, I spoke to Wadada on the phone. He told me that he had recently been awarded the largest grant ever by Chamber Music America, with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, to a Jazz musician for the composition of music. He would direct the grant towards the funding the completion of Ten Freedom Summers. At that time, our discussions did not center on the creation of his masterful work at all, rather on life’s interesting situations and his ensuing concerts and recordings.  But at one point, I said, “Gee, I wish I could hear the music in Los Angeles…” to which Wadada replied, “Just go… Just go;” his voice was emphatic, instructive and endearing at the same time.

Los Angeles had been home for eight years of my…