CD - 4-Panel Digipak with Insert Booklet.
Composer, clarinetist, singer and educator Angel Bat Dawid announces the release of a new work, Requiem For Jazz. A 12-movement suite composed, arranged, and inspired in part by dialogue from Edward O. Bland’s 1959 film The Cry of Jazz, the album is a wide-ranging treatise on the African American story from one of its most astute narrators.
Itself an incisive critique of racial politics in the USA, The Cry of Jazz draws formal comparisons between the structure of jazz music and the African American experience - as one of freedom and restraint, of joy and suffering - that manifests in the triumph of spirit over the crushing prejudice of daily life.
Cutting together archive reels from Black neighborhoods in Chicago with live performance footage from Sun Ra and his Arkestra among others, the film remains a radical and prescient evocation of Black pride and its roots in the history of jazz, from spirituals to blues and beyond.
As South African writer Nombuso Mathibela captures in the album’s liner notes:
[Music is our weapon of struggle]
that radiantly holds our positive aspiration, group pride and determination as Black people. Sonics! our beautiful fire that gave light to the world.
And a world that gave us blues. The blues that gave us Black in jazz
Drawing a through line to today’s vibrant avant-garde, Angel Bat Dawid’s Requiem For Jazz picks up the liberation work laid out by Bland’s film, taking the message of joy and suffering within the Black classical tradition into a contemporary setting.
Music from the project was originally premiered at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival in Chicago in 2019, where Angel conducted a multigenerational fifteen-piece instrumental ensemble of Black musicians from across Chicago’s creative community, alongside a four-person choir (featuring singers from Black Monument Ensemble) as well as dancers and visual artists.
Recordings from the performance were then mixed and post-produced by Angel, who added interludes, vocals and additional sounds. As well as transcribing a piece from the film, Requiem For Jazz also alludes to The Cry of Jazz through contributions from the Sun Ra Arkestra’s Marshall Allen and Knoel Scott on the album’s final movement, which were recorded remotely at the historic Arkestral Institute of Sun Ra in Philadelphia in late 2020.
“I want us to have this very wonderful conversation that Ed Bland started over 50 years ago and I want to continue the conversation; because this is a loving conversation that we need to have with each other” - Angel Bat Dawid, Feb 2023
1. Jazz is merely the Negroes cry of Joy & Suffering
2. INTROIT- Joy n’ Suff’rin
3. Jazz is the musical expression of the triumph of the Negroes Spirit
4. KYRIE ELEISON- Lawd Hav’ Merci
5. This endless repetition is like a Chain around the Spirit. And is a reflection of the denial of a future to the Negro in the American way of life
6. DIAS IRE- Chain Around the Spirit
7. Another restraining factor in Jazz are the changes
8. TUBA MIRUM- The Changes
9. The Negro experiences the endless daily humiliation of American life which bequeaths him a Futureless Future
10. REX TREMENDAE –Futureless Future
11. The Negro transforms America’s image of him into a transport of Joy!
12. RECORDARE-Recall the Joy
13. Jazz reflects the improvised life thrust upon the Negro
15. Through Spirituals, through the Blues, then through Jazz we made a memory of our past and a promise of all to come
16. LACRIMOSA- Weeping our Lady of Sorrow
17. Because Jazz is the one element in American life where whites must be humble to the Negro
19. Only when whites have paid the price in suffering to be the Negroes equal
20. SANCTUS- Holy, Holy, Holy
21. The Jazz body is dead but the Spirit of Jazz is Alive
22. AGNUS DEI-Jazz is Dead!
23. LUX AETERNA-Eternal Light (Angel Bat Dawid) -The Cry of Jazz (Sun Ra)
24. Long Tone for Rayna Golding (A Binti Zawadi our Future)
Piano - Dr. Charles Joseph Smith
Contrabass - Jeremiah Hunt
Percussion - Vincent Davis
Auxiliary Instruments - Xristian Espinoza
Electronics - Norman W. Long
Flute - Dr. Adam Zanolini
Clarinet - Hannah Washington
Trumpet - Sam Thousand
Soprano Saxophone - Isaiah Collier
Alto Saxophone - Fred Jackson Jr.
Tenor Saxophone - Kwesaiah
Violin - J’Niya Blunt
Violin - DaJour Smith
Viola - Michelle Manson
Cello - Olula
Soprano - Tramaine Parker
Alto - Monique Golding
Tenor - Deacon Julian Otis Cooke
Baritone - Phillip Armstrong
Special Cosmic Guests on “Lux Aeterna- Eternal Light/My Rhapsody”:
Marshall Allen - Alto Sax, Ewi
Knoel Scott - Percussion