Afro-Semitic Experience

Jewish Music Festival

Saturday, March 22, 2014, 8:00 pm
(doors open at 7:00 pm)

ethnic world music mix

$30 advance / $32 door

Purchase tickets online
March 22 8:00 pm

Co-founded by African-American jazz pianist Warren Byrd and Jewish-American jazz bassist David Chevan for an interfaith Martin Luther King memorial service in 1998, the Afro-Semitic Experience plays a rich mix of jazz, cantorial, world-beat, gospel, salsa, and funk. It’s music that swings, with an undercurrent of blues, deeply rooted in soul. “Never before,” writes Nat Hentoff in the Wall Street Journal,” have I heard this lyrically powerful a fusion of Jewish and jazz souls on fire.” Jazz Souls on Fire, in fact, is the name of the ensemble’s forthcoming album, which will be their fifth, to go along with This Is the Afro-Semitic Experience, Plea for Peace, The Road that Heals the Splintered Soul, and Further Definitions of the Days of Awe.

The ensemble – featuring Warren on piano, David on bass, Will Bartlett on reeds, Stacy Phillips on Dobro and violin, Saskia Laroo on trumpet, and Alvin Carter, Jr. and Baba David Coleman on percussion – is “dedicated to preserving, promoting and expanding the rich cultural and musical heritage of the Jewish and African diaspora.” They’ve been carrying out this mission at places like the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Amsterdam Festival of Jewish Music, the Charles Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit, the Paris Festival of Jewish Culture, and the New York Noise Festival. Whether they’re playing originals or traditionals, a klezmer tune or a spiritual, they weave intricate melodies over a solid groove. In the words of the website KlezmerShack (with a little help from Ecclesiastes), “there is something new under the sun and it’s . . . wonderful to hear on all occasions.”

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