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Blue Engine Records Announces Freedom, Justice, and Hope Performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Special Guest Bryan Stevenson

New York, NY (May 14, 2024) – Blue Engine Records proudly releases Freedom, Justice, and Hope, the live recording of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s multidisciplinary concert that contextualizes jazz within Black Americans’ pursuit of equality. Featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in creative collaboration with social justice activist and founder of The Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, the recording features new arrangements of some of the most important protest songs in jazz history and new works by featured guest artists Endea Owens and Josh Evans. On the occasion of Juneteenth (June 19, 2024), Freedom, Justice, and Hope will be available as a CD and on digital streaming platforms on June 14. Pre-save the album here.

Exclusively on Freedom, Justice, and Hope, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performs new arrangements of revered jazz songs: “Honeysuckle Rose,” composed by Fats Waller (1929); “We Shall Overcome” (1947) “Freedom Suite,” composed by Sonny Rollins (1958); and “Alabama,” composed by John Coltrane (1963). These songs are intermixed with Stevenson’s stirring monologues, which provide compelling commentary on American terrorism, disenfranchisement, and racial injustice while highlighting the history of fearless activism and incredible artistic creativity that defined the Civil Rights Movement. Freedom, Justice, and Hope also features Stevenson, an accomplished pianist, joining the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on “Honeysuckle Rose” and “We Shall Overcome.”

“Art and music have always been essential forces in the pursuit of justice in America. When Wynton reached out about doing this project, I believed we could really reinforce the idea that, together, art and music – especially jazz music – play a critical role in meaningfully engaging people in the multiple ways that the struggle for racial justice in America must continue,” said Bryan Stevenson, Equal Justice Initiative Founder. He continued, “Premiering music by emerging composers – including Josh Evans’ incredible composition informed by the 1919 Elaine Massacre in Hoop Spur, Phillips County, Arkansas, and Endea Owens’ compelling new piece honoring the life and legacy of Ida B. Wells – is precisely the kind of integration of art and justice that makes jazz a force for change. Adding to the recording, works by jazz masters like John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, whose compositions confronted racial injustice in their lives, further elevate this unique musical experience.”

Freedom, Justice, and Hope features the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis performing works, commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center, by two of jazz music’s emerging musicians and composers. “Elaine” by trumpeter Josh Evans, is informed by the 1919 Elaine Massacre in Hoop Spur, Phillips County, Arkansas.

Endea Owens, “Ida’s Crusade” is inspired by the life and work of Ida B. Wells (1862 – 1931) and Well’s crusade against the lynching and wrongful imprisonment of Black Americans.

The Freedom, Justice, and Hope concert took place in 2021 during the height of the modern-day social justice movement and in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

Track Listing:

Track Song Name Lenght
1 Introduction: A Less Glorious Story 4:48
2 The Freedom Suite: Movement I 6:23
3 Interlude: Exiles and Refugees 1:56
4 Honeysuckle Rose 5:24
5 Interlude: Freedom Doesn’t Work Without Justice 4:24
6 Elaine 14:13
7 Interlude: Four Precious Little Girls 2:13
8 Alabama 5:25
9 Interlude: A Life of Truth-telling 3:00
10 Ida’s Crusade 8:01
11 Interlude: Change 3:03
12 Meditations on Integration 9:06
13 Conclusion: Something Better Waiting for Us 3:19
14 We Shall Overcome 5:13

Personnel:
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

Sherman Irby – alto and soprano saxophone
Ted Nash – alto and soprano saxophone, flute
Victor Goines – tenor saxophone, clarinet
Walter Blanding – tenor saxophone, clarinet
Paul Nedzela – baritone saxophone
Ryan Kisor – trumpet
Kenny Rampton – trumpet
Marcus Printup – trumpet
Wynton Marsalis – trumpet
Vincent Gardner – trombone
Chris Crenshaw – trombone
Elliot Mason – trombone
Dan Nimmer – piano
Carlos Henriquez – bass
Obed Calvaire – drums

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS:
Josh Evans – trumpet (track 3)
Endea Owens – bass (track 5)
Bryan Stevenson – spoken word (tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, & 13), piano (tracks 2 & 6)

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About Blue Engine Records
Blue Engine Records, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s platform that makes its vast archive of recorded concerts available to jazz audiences everywhere, launched on June 30, 2015. Blue Engine Records releases new studio and live recordings as well as archival recordings from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s performance history that date back to 1987 and are part of the R. Theodore Ammon Archives and Music Library. Since the institution’s founding in 1987, each year’s programming is conceived and developed by Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis with a vision toward building a comprehensive library of iconic and wide-ranging compositions that, taken together, make up a canon of music. These archives include accurate, complete charts for the compositions – both old and new – performed each season. Coupled with consistently well-executed and recorded music performed by Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, this archive has grown to include thousands of songs from hundreds of concert dates. The launch of Blue Engine aligns with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s efforts to cultivate existing jazz fans worldwide and turn new audiences on to jazz. For more information on Blue Engine Records, visit blueenginerecords.org.

A very special thanks to Jody and John Arnhold for their extraordinary support of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The Movado Group Foundation is The Official Timekeeper of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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