Friday, April 29, 2016
"Some of the Most Eloquent Music of Lewis's Career"
– Howard Reich/Chicago Tribune
Acclaimed American pianist, composer, three-time Grammy Award winner and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, Ramsey Lewis, has been referred to as “The Great Performer.” This title reflects his eloquent and artistic musical style which combines his deep knowledge of jazz along with his passion for gospel and classical music.
Now he brings us Proclamation of Hope, a large-scale composition for piano, wind ensemble, rhythm section and voice performed in 8 movements. Composed by Mr. Lewis and conducted by Scott Hall, the composition commemorates Abraham Lincoln’s life and legacy as our country's 16th, and perhaps greatest President. This extraordinary multimedia concert was produced by WTTW National Productions at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Visual images from a range of sources are projected on screen depicting various historical moments and concepts as the group performs the composition.
“I not only hoped to inspire people to want to learn more about Abraham Lincoln, but to portray the gains of African Americans and our country while showing challenges yet to be overcome. I hope my audience will feel the inspiration that I felt composing this work as they listen to my music and watch the stirring images on screen.” - Ramsey Lewis
The jazz musician’s role as a mediator between his or her band mates and the audience is well known. In the context of a performance, a master jazz musician is constantly taking cues from the other musicians, his own muse as well as from the listeners in order create a work of art, albeit a living and breathing one. On one level, this interactive framework allows Mr. Lewis to pour into the symphonic poem form sound languages that span jazz, blues, gospel, American pop, Aaron Copland, William Grant Still, George Gershwin and Romantic-era chromatic harmonies. And in another way, Mr. Lewis’s multifaceted compositional voice – in conjunction with arranger/conductor Scott Hall, art director Michael Coakes, and creative consultant Jan Lewis – fashions a space in which consensus, collaboration, communication and courage emboldens us to imagine new worlds where beauty and justice abide. Indeed, these are also the lessons of both Lincoln and Obama for the generations.
With thoughts and narration presented by Mr. Lewis himself throughout the concert’s eight movements, Proclamation of Hope will serve a permanent place in American musical history to be proudly shared and enjoyed by many. Check local listings to see when it is airing on your local PBS station.
90 Minutes. Executive Producers for Proclamation of Hope are Ramsey Lewis and Nicolette Ferri. Producer is Nicolette Ferri. Director is Steve Purcell. Senior Executive Producer is Frances J. Harth. Arranged and conducted by Scott Hall. WTTW National Productions Executive-in-Charge is Parke Richeson. ©2011 Window to the World Communications, Inc. and Ramsey Lewis. Photo credits Bill Richert. All rights reserved.