The Spirit of Coltrane echoes my thoughts of the "soul-fed" music that I am bringing to Carnegie Hall for my 2nd Invitation as guest conductor of my musical compositions or arrangements, and with permission, two works from Wynton Marsalis' Pulitzer prize award composition, "Blood On The Fields."My vision is to compose and arrange music that
- Honors three artists in three distinct categories who are my friends and who represent for me the personification of artistic excellence in their specific performing medium; and
- Demonstrates the efficacy of musical excellence as coming from the historic African Diaspora.
I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina singing Negro spirituals in elementary school as “play songs” and then when I learned the religious and historical significance of spirituals and had mastered the piano, I began writing my own arrangements or creating my own piano pieces. I have always felt that it is part of my birthright to continually elevate this kind of music which, for me, epitomizes the encouragement and empowerment of free expression, clear thinking and communication, as well as interaction. I am so grateful and blessed to have had my arrangements performed in concert and on record by such internationally renowned singers as Kathleen Battle, Grace Bumbry, Denyce Graves, Louise Toppin, Darryl Taylor, and the late William Warfield.
On May 8, 2016, I am premiering new arrangements of music that incorporate diverse derivatives emanating from the historical African Diaspora essentials:
- Call and response
- Improvisation (Melismatic)
- Pentatonic melodies
Additionally, the music pays homage to my three select honorees in their artistic categories: THE WORD, THE INSTRUMENT, and THE VOICE.
THE WORD – celebrated writer-poet ALICE WALKER
Carnegie Premiere of Composition/Arrangement - Why Peace is Always a Good Idea and You Can Talk
Years ago, Alice gave me a copy of her children’s book, Why War Is Never a Good Idea. I enjoyed it so much that I contacted her and mentioned that I wanted to write a song in tribute to her book, entitled, Why Peace is Always a Good Idea. As it turned out, she actually wrote the poem with that title for me. Now I want to honor her artistry and spirit within those spoken words.
THE INSTRUMENT – Pulitzer-winning Jazz & Classical composer-trumpeter WYNTON MARSALIS
Carnegie Arrangements of songs from Marsalis’ Blood on the Fields: Work Song and My Soul Fell Down
My brother George Butler discovered and signed Wynton Marsalis to Columbia Records in 1978. I met Wynton in the early 1980s shortly thereafter when George recommended him for a lecture/demonstration at Laney College in Oakland, CA where I was teaching. The two songs that I intend to showcase, which pay tribute to Wynton Marsalis are songs from his Blood on the Fields album. A Quodlibet will be added to enhance his Work Song and an entire male chorus will perform his My Soul Fell Down.
THE VOICE – Grammy winning solo artist KATHLEEN BATTLE
Carnegie Arrangements – Don'cha Let Nobody Turn You ‘Round and Balm in Gilead
A friend who wanted Kathleen Battle to hear my music introduced my music to Ms. Battle in 1993. That introduction turned into an opportunity for me to arrange eight songs for her Angels’ Glory Sony recording that was released in 1996. We have kept in touch and worked together ever since. In fact, for the last four years, Ms. Battle has used at least four of my choral spirituals for her annual Underground Railroad concerts performed around the country.
These three artists, though not expected to appear or perform, per se, are being honored because of their individual and collective inspirational appeal to me. It is something that I have wanted to do for years and I am so grateful to backHer for the opportunity to pursue this dream. And I sincerely ask for your support.
I am asking for $6,000 that will enable me to:
- Offer individual "appreciation" honorariums for the several African-American solo artists and two noted instrumentalists of diverse ethnicities who have graciously accepted my invitation to be a part of this momentous history-making occasion;
- Make it possible for the close to 200 singers to receive my original and arranged music gratis despite the usual cost of paying for commissioned or newly arranged compositions in tribute to my select honorees.
The invited performing artists of this music will form a Mass Choir of nearly 200 singers from the following ensembles: a Black esteemed college choir, the Winston-Salem University Concert Choir of Winston-Salem, NC; a Midwest college choir combined with a church choir from South Bend, IN; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Choir from San Diego; a three-woman soprano ensemble, SpiriTrio, from Los Angeles. The two guest instrumentalists are from the Bay Area, and the guest solo artists are from around the country.
No amount is too small.
Thank you for your consideration.
This campaign ended on February 13, 2016
Carnegie Hall Memorabilia and/or "After-Party"
1. Carnegie Hall special memento from Carnegie Gift Shop 2. Special "Thank You" in program credits 3. Discounted ticket to after-concert yacht party with performers
Estimated delivery: May 2016