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Black Music Matters At PONCHO

This semester, Creative Corridor’s "Black Music Matters: History/Context of Black American Music" has brought numerous artists to campus and hosted a series of open lectures at PONCHO.

Creative Corridor at Cornish College of the Arts is a series of elective classes open to students in all disciplines. Associate Professor of Jazz Voice, Johnaye Kendrick, developed the popular “Black Music Matters” course which surveys the rich history of Black American music including church music, work songs, folk songs, spirituals, opera, blues, brass bands, jazz, pop, soul, funk, hip-hop, rap, and the Harlem Renaissance. The music will be contextualized to situate it within American social, economic, racial, and political discourse throughout the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

Already students have worked with such artists as Thione Diop, a percussionist from Senegal, West Africa, is widely recognized for his powerfully expressive Djembe performances. His workshop was joined by dance faculty member Amma Anang.

Last week, ethnomusicologist Daniel Atkinson discussed his research on African American vernacular expression and its interaction with the global landscape. His dissertation research was conducted at the former slave plantation turned world's largest prison, Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana. This research is now housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American history and Culture.  He is currently working on the first historical biography of vaudevillian and founding father of the Harlem Renaissance, George W. Walker (1872-1911).

On February 16, 2:30 p.m. to 3:50 p.m., Dr. Quinton Morris visits campus. In 2015, Morris founded Key to Change, a nonprofit with the mission of igniting positive change in the world through music and education. His BREAKTHROUGH World Tour, which paired recitals with educational outreach and community service in hospitals and orphanages. The tour also featured screenings of Quinton’s short film, The BREAKTHROUGH, which premiered at the Seattle Art Museum and the Louvre Museum in Paris, among other distinguished venues. Quinton directed and starred in the film, which tells a modernized story of the Chevalier de SaintGeorges, musician of African origin who became one of the most prolific and forgotten figures of the 18th century. The film won the first place Diamond Award for Best Picture and Visual Effects in the European Independent Film Awards and the Bronze Award at the Global Music Awards in Los Angeles.

March brings  beloved trombonist Julian Priester back to Kerry Hall. This retired  Cornish faculty member grew up in Chicago, where his skills were apparent early and saw him playing with the likes of Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and Sonny Stitt. He joined the renowned Sun Ra Arkestra while still in his teens, and then from 1956 toured with Lionel Hampton and Dinah Washington. In New York, he worked in Max Roach’s band, and became a first-call trombone player for session work with many jazz greats, among them John Coltrane (including on the Africa/Brass sessions), Stanley Turrentine, Blue Mitchell, Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Art Blakey, and Abbey Lincoln. Starting in the late 1960s, he toured with Duke Ellington and Herbie Hancock, and later played with Sun Ra again, as well as Dave Holland, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, and Lester Bowie’s New York Organ Ensemble.

In Seattle, Priester has added to his long list of projects and  recordings as a leader while also collaborating with a host of area innovators such as Cornish faculty member Wayne Horvitz and others. Priester will join the class on March 2, 2:30 p..m to 3:50 p.m..

The classes with Morris and Priester will be open to the public. Both take place at Poncho Concert Hall, 710 East Roy Street.