The University of Alabama’s Sonic Frontiers concert series presents its first concert of the 2017-2018 season on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. featuring Wadada Leo Smith’s evening-length jazz suite Ten Freedom Summers. Performers include Smith’s Golden Quartet, the RedKoral string quartet and live video projections. The concert will be held in the UA School of Music’s Moody Concert Hall.
Wadada Leo Smith has been active in creative contemporary music for over 40 years as a trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser. He was recently featured as a cover artist in Downbeat Magazine, having won Artist, Album, and Trumpeter of the Year awards in the 65th Annual Critic’s Poll. Smith was named a 2016 Doris Duke Artist.
Born in Leland, Mississippi, Smith’s early musical life began in the high school concert and marching bands. At the age of 13, he became involved with the Delta Blues and Improvisation music traditions. Smith is currently a faculty member at The Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts.
“Ten Freedom Summers is one of my life’s defining works.” – Wadada Leo Smith
Ten Freedom Summers is inspired by the activity of the civil rights movement from The Niagara Falls Congress in 1905 and 1948, when President Harry S. Truman signed the Executive Order 9981 and up to Dr. Martin Luther King’s Memphis speech in 1968. The composition was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music.