The 2019 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 drummer Sanah Kadoura (with saxophonist Sam Dillon), vibraphonist Joe Locke, bass clarinetist Todd Marcus (with Eric Kennedy on drums), and drummer Gerald Cleaver (with Kris Allen on saxophone).
The 2019 Jazz Up Close series, “Can I Get A Witness: Jazz Composition As Storytelling”, featured four composer/performers who tell stories through their original music. Sanah’s music addressed her process of healing from a traumatic head injury, Todd’s music evoked stories relating to his community activism in Baltimore and his Egyptian heritage, and Joe and Gerald told a multiplicity of sonic stories from their lives, careers, and families. In a sense all music is storytelling, but it’s easy for some folks (musicians and audiences alike) to get caught up in technique and whatnot – there’s nothing wrong with that, but Henry and I really enjoyed playing this music and I was grateful that it helped our super-eager audiences get a closer look at the stories that can both inspire and be enriched by the sounds.
-Noah Baerman, series curator
Gerald Cleaver (feat. Kris Allen)