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The Abyssinian Mass

In 2008, nine-time GRAMMY® Award winner Wynton Marsalis was commissioned to write a piece commemorating the 200th anniversary of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. The result was a sacred celebration: a sweeping composition for a big band and 70-piece gospel choir. In 2013, award-winning recording artist Damien Sneed and his choir, Chorale Le Chateau, joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis for a 16-city, 19-concert tour across the South that took the musicians into deep dialogue with the African American tradition. Now, The Abyssinian Mass—Marsalis’s first original recorded composition in six years—documents this piece’s immense power to make audiences clap their hands and sing along to its joyous spirituality, its profound swing, and its bluesy swagger.

This landmark double album also includes a new essay from renowned public intellectual Leon Wieseltier and a bonus DVD documentary that features performances, interviews, and insights into the process behind The Abyssinian Mass. The album’s exploration of the African American experience places it in the tradition of Marsalis’s Pulitzer Prize-winning composition and record Blood on the Fields. As ​​The Abyssinian Mass​ reminds us, “In this great land of ours, everyone has a place.” No matter your faith or background, The Abyssinian Mass is a sprawling, soulful triumph and a swinging affirmation of just how good being human can feel.

The Abyssinian Mass

Album Info

Ensemble JLCO with Wynton Marsalis and Chorale Le Chateau
Release Date March 18th, 2016
Recording Date October 24-25-26, 2013
Record Label Blue Engine Records
Catalogue Number BE0005
Formats CD, DVD
Genre Jazz at Lincoln Center Recordings

Album Links

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Track Listing

Track Length Preview
CD 1
Devotional 8:34 Play
Call To Worship 5:11 Play
The Lord’s Prayer 4:13 Play
Processional: “We Are On Our Way” 7:25 Play
Invocation And Chant 6:29 Play
Responsive Reading, Matthew 5:3-12 The Beatitudes 7:57 Play
Gloria Patri 5:05 Play
Prayer: “Pastoral Prayer” 13:05 Play
Choral Response: “Through Him I’ve Come To See” 2:21 Play
Anthem: “Glory To God In The Highest” 7:01 Play
CD 2
Scripture: Isaiah 56:7 2:36 Play
Meditation: “Lord Have Mercy” 4:59 Play
Sermon: “The Unifying Power of Prayer” - Part I: “This House Is God’s House” 4:17 Play
Sermon: “The Unifying Power of Prayer” - Part II: “The Power of Prayer” 4:57 Play
Sermon: “The Unifying Power of Prayer” - Part III: “Everyone Has a Place” 3:15 Play
Invitation: “Come and Join The Army” 4:33 Play
Offertory: The Father 2:39 Play
Offertory: The Son 3:22 Play
Offertory: (You Gotta Watch) The Holy Ghost 4:45 Play
Doxology 3:21 Play
Recessional: “The Glory Train” 7:34 Play
Benediction 1:27 Play
Amen 8:20 Play

Liner Notes

DISC 1

1. DEVOTIONAL 8:34
Vincent Gardner – trombone, featured; Jamal Moore – bass (vocal solo); Chris Crenshaw – trombone, featured; Marvin Lowe – tenor (vocal solo); Christine Fanuel – soprano (vocal solo); Elliot Mason – trombone, featured

2. CALL TO WORSHIP 5:11
Ryan Kisor – trumpet, featured; Kaleb Alexander Hopkins – tenor (vocal solo); Marcus Printup – trumpet, featured; Matia Washington – alto (vocal solo); Kenny Rampton – trumpet, featured; Quinn Brown – tenor (vocal solo); Wynton Marsalis – trumpet; Marcus Printup; Kenny Rampton; Ryan Kisor; Dan Nimmer – piano

3. THE LORD’S PRAYER 4:13
Dan Nimmer; Stephanie Estep – soprano (vocal solo); Jonathan Kirkland – bass (vocal solo)

4. PROCESSIONAL:“WE ARE ON OUR WAY” 7:25
Chris Crenshaw – trombone; Elliot Mason; Marcus Printup; Ryan Kisor; Victor Goines – Eb clarinet; Walter Blanding – tenor saxophone; Kenny Rampton

5. INVOCATION AND CHANT 6:29
Vincent Gardner – tenor (vocal solo) and trombone; Victor Goines – clarinet

6. RESPONSIVE READING, MATTHEW 5:3-12 THE BEATITUDES 7:57
Walter Blanding – tenor saxophone (intermittent soloing); Matia Washington – alto (vocal solo); Martin Bakari – tenor (vocal solo); Lauren Dawson – alto (vocal solo); Martin Bakari – tenor (vocal solo); Clayton Brown – tenor (vocal solo); Kali Wilder – alto (vocal solo); Victor Goines – clarinet; Jamal Moore – bass (vocal solo); Jorell Williams – bass (vocal solo); Elaine Sturkey – soprano (vocal solo); Ted Nash – flute; Kali Wilder – soprano (vocal solo); Marquita Raley – alto (vocal solo); Dan Nimmer; Kali Wilder – soprano (vocal solo); Marquita Raley – alto (vocal solo); Matia Washington – alto (vocal solo); Ali Jackson – variety of two grooves, featured (washboard/tambourine, drums)

7. GLORIA PATRI 5:05
Saxophone soli; Dan Nimmer; Trombone soli

8. PRAYER: “PASTORAL PRAYER” 13:05
Dan Nimmer, featured; Djore Nance – bass (vocal solo); Patrice Eaton – soprano (vocal solo); Djore Nance – tenor (vocal solo); Wynton Marsalis – trumpet hollers; Marcus Printup, featured; Chris Crenshaw – recitation; Paul Nedzela – baritone saxophone, featured; Ali Jackson – recitation; Victor Goines – soprano saxophone, featured; Vincent Gardner – recitation; Sherman Irby – alto saxo- phone; Ryan Kisor; Nicole Phifer – alto (vocal solo); Wynton Marsalis; Ryan Kisor; Nicole Phifer – alto (vocal solo)

9. CHORAL RESPONSE: “THROUGH HIM I’VE COME TO SEE” 2:21
Chorale Le Chateau (women only)

10. ANTHEM: “GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST” 7:01
Ali Jackson – sanctified tambourine, featured; Marcus Printup; Ted Nash – flute; Elliot Mason; Wynton Marsalis; Vincent Gardner – trombone; Ryan Kisor

DISC 2

11. SCRIPTURE: ISAIAH 56:7 2:36
Ali Jackson; Rasul A-Salaam – tenor (vocal solo); Ted Nash – flute

*12. MEDITATION:“LORD HAVE MERCY” 4:59 *
Carlos Henriquez – bass, featured

13. SERMON: “THE UNIFYING POWER OF PRAYER” – PART I: “THIS HOUSE IS GOD’S HOUSE” 4:17
Damien Sneed – Hammond organ; Victor Goines – clarinet; Marcus Printup, featured; Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts,
III – sermon

14. SERMON: “THE UNIFYING POWER OF PRAYER” – PART II: “THE POWER OF PRAYER” 4:57
Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III – sermon; Wynton Marsalis; Marcus Printup; Kenny Rampton

15. SERMON: “THE UNIFYING POWER OF PRAYER” – PART III: “EVERYONE HAS A PLACE” 3:15
Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III – sermon; Dan Nimmer, featured; Paul Nedzela – baritone saxophone, featured

16. INVITATION: “COME AND JOIN THE ARMY” 4:33
Chris Crenshaw – spoons; Carlos Henriquez – cowbell; Quinn Brown – lead tenor (vocal solo); Rafael Clarke – bass (vocal solo); Josh Adam Dawson – tenor (vocal solo);
Derrick Baskin – tenor (vocal solo); Vincent Gardner – tuba, featured; Ted Nash – piccolo; Ali Jackson

17. OFFERTORY: THE FATHER 2:39
Marcus Printup; Kenny Rampton

18. OFFERTORY: THE SON 3:22
Wynton Marsalis

19. OFFERTORY: (YOU GOTTA WATCH) THE HOLY GHOST 4:45
Sherman Irby – alto saxophone; Chris Crenshaw; Marcus Printup

20. DOXOLOGY 3:21
Chorale Le Chateau

21. RECESSIONAL: “THE GLORY TRAIN” 7:34
Kenny Rampton; Sherman Irby – alto saxophone; Victor Goines – clarinet

22. BENEDICTION 1:27
Chris Crenshaw – tenor (vocal solo); Dan Nimmer

23. AMEN 8:20
Walter Blanding – tenor saxophone; Victor Goines – tenor saxophone; Jorell Williams – bass (vocal solo);
Nicole Phifer – alto (vocal solo); Vincent Gardner – “African Bull Horn” trombone holler

Credits

THE ABYSSINIAN MASS
Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis Featuring Damien Sneed And Chorale Le Chateau

CHORALE LE CHATEAU
Rasul A-Salaam, Justin Michael Austin, Martin Bakari, Derrick Baskin, Jeanette Blakeney, Clayton Brown, Quinn Brown, Chenee Campbell, Joe Caruncho Jr., Rafael Clark, Emily Dankworth, Tynan Davis, Josh Adam Dawson, Lauren Dawson, George Dowdy, Sequina Dubose, Patrice Eaton, Patricia Pates Eaton, Stephanie Estep, Christine Fanuel, Eustacia Foster, Shani Foster, Ayana George, Maryvel Gonzalez, Jamal Green, Amber Harris, Kaleb Alexander Hopkins, Candice Hoyes, Clinton Ingram, Arielle Jacobs, Michael Jahlil, Edward Jordan, Jonathan Kirkland, Tesia Kwarteng, Latoya Lewis, Marvin Lowe, Maria Marsalis, Ann McCormack, Richard McMichael, Lynette Rhett McNeil, Lauren Michelle, Jamal Moore, Belinda Munro, Djore Nance, Darnell Norman, Jonathan Owens, Nicole Phifer, Marquita Raley, John Rawlins Ill, Brittany Robinson, Cameron James Ross, Timothy Springs, Quiana Smith, Travis Smith, Karyn Stevenson, Sharol Stone, Gabrielle Stravelli, Elaine Sturkey, Brandie Sutton, Jennalyn Thomas, Nathaniel Thompson, Tonya Thompson, Bobby W. Walker, Joanna Wallfisch, Matia Washington, Montavius Wells, Kortland Whalum, Kali Wilder, Jorell Williams, Allyson Wilson

ORATOR
Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III

An Original Composition by Wynton Marsalis
(Skayne’s Music/ASCAP)

Executive Producer: Wynton Marsalis
Producer: Gabrielle Armand
Post Producer and Mixing Engineer: Todd Whitelock
Mixed in Studio B at MSR Studios, NYC
Assistant Mix Engineer: Alex Hendrickson

Live Mix Engineer: David Robinson
Live Recording Engineers: Rob Macomber, James P. Nichols

Mastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios, NYC 2016

Art Direction and Design: Frank Harkins
Photography: Frank Stewart

Essay: Leon Wieseltier

Copyists: Jonathan Kelly, Geoff Burke, Matt Hilgenberg, Rigdzin Collins
Music Administration: Kay Wolff, Christi English, Omar Little, Tim Carter, Alex Ball

Marketing: Aaron Bisman, Jake Cohen, Jonathan Fricke
Publicity: Zooey Tidal Jones, Christina Riley
Project Management: Valerie Florville
DVD Producers: Eugenia Han, Sophia Betz
DVD Directors: James Sapione, Simeon Marsalis

The mission of Jazz at Lincoln Center is to entertain, enrich and expand a global community for jazz through performance, education and advocacy.

ABYSSINIAN: A GOSPEL CELEBRATION TOUR (2013)

JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER TOUR STAFF (2013)
Raymond Murphy, Tour Manager
David Robinson, Production Manager
Eric D. Wright, Assistant Director
Alex Knowlton, Manager
Kay Wolff, Associate Director, Music Administration
Christi English, Manager, Music Administration
Frank Stewart, Senior Photographer
Charles Bratton, Driver
Ernie Gregory, Driver
Jay Sgroi, Tour Assistant

JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER NY CONCERT STAFF (2013)
Zakaria Al-Alami, Scenic and Lighting Designer
Billy Banks, Stage Manager
Sarah Peterson, Production Manager

CHORALE LE CHATEAU TOURING STAFF
Damien Sneed, Conductor
Cynthia Ellis, Personal Assistant to Damien Sneed
Karyn Stevenson, Executive Administrator
Quinn Brown, Executive Administrator
Jorell Williams, General Assistant
Elaine Sturkey, General Assistant
Laina Sweetney, General Assistant

Karla Scott – Educational Workshop Leader
Gwendolyn Quinn – Public Relations

THANK YOU:
Jazz at Lincoln Center, Damien Sneed, and Chorale Le Chateau would like to thank all of the tour presenters, promoters, churches, music and community centers, schools, radio stations and volunteers for their generosity, down-home hospitality and support throughout our tour.

Special thanks to The Abyssinian Baptist Church and Ricky ‘Dirty Red’ Gordon

Special thanks to the David Steward Family Foundation for their faith in a work that they had not yet heard.

FUNDERS OF ABYSSINIAN: A GOSPEL CELEBRATION TOUR (2013) LEADERS

World Wide Technology Foundation Dalio Foundation
The Jay Pritzker Foundation Louise and Leonard Riggio BENEFACTOR
John S. & James L. Knight Foundation

SUSTAINER
AT&T

FRIENDS
Sam and Marilyn Fox
Andy and Barbara Taylor

PATRONS
George Herbert Walker Foundation
Margie Imo/Imo’s Pizza
Rich McClure/UniGroup
Rob Goldstein/Alter Trading
Steve Schankman/Contemporary
Productions Steve Maritz/Maritz

Sidemen