The 2018 Jazz Up Close series at the Russell Library was presented with the support of the Middletown Commission on the Arts, the Shoreline Arts Alliance, and the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. We featured Amanda Monaco’s Pirkei Avot Project, Hailey Niswanger’s MAE.SUN project, tubist/multi-instrumentalist Joseph Daley, and bassist Ike Sturm
The 2018 Jazz Up Close series, “Sound Belief: Faith Through Music,” featured four composer/performers who represent different approaches to representing spiritual practice through their original music. Amanda brought her compositions based on a 3rd century sacred Jewish text, Hailey presented her music inspired by the teachings of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, Joseph shared music related to a variety of prayer and healing rituals, and Ike and his cohorts performed a program of his distinctive music expressing a particularly inclusive Christian faith. Realizing how spiritual a practice music often is, even for musicians who aren’t necessarily religious, I wanted to showcase and contrast artists who embrace those personal influences overtly and who embody the universality possible in spirituality. Without any proselytizing, each artist and their colleagues inspired and informed all those present and the dialogues were truly illuminating.
-Noah Baerman, series curator