Music talks to me. It may offer visions of hope, renewal, peace or comfort. It may point me to new ways of thinking, living, feeling or being.
And I talk back. I share my own visions. I check if I’ve grasped the message, and try to say it back again. A conversation starts.
My current conversation is with African American spirituals. Whether rooted in song, dance and drumming of West Africa, the experience of oppression by an uprooted people, or the teachings of a transformative faith, they are a voice of human truth. Songs of black American slaves spoke that truth around the world.
Responses emerged: an array of arrangements, whole new genres of music, and work for a more just world.
Through new sonorities and textures, I respond to the spirituals from my own background. I present melodies, harmonies, rhythms and themes from spirituals, sometimes exploring traditional contexts, and sometimes trying out new ones. My response is as much question as answer, and I invite new responses — musical, visual, verbal, — from the audience and anyone whose experience spirituals can voice.
— Andrew Jamieson
On September 24th, Trouble Ensemble comes together with a small vocal ensemble, and the poetry of Marvin White, in various configurations. Coming from diverse backgrounds, we come together to “dialogue” with the sounds and tradition of African American spirituals. Listening to their voice, we are compelled to say that black history matters, black liberation matters and black lives matter.
Trouble Ensemble (Ernest Larkins, voice; Rent Romus and Joshua Marshall, saxophones; Roger Kim and Jakob Pek, guitars; Andrew Jamieson, piano; Tim DeCillis and Jordan Glenn, percussion) is dedicated to the tradition of invigorating conversation known as improvised music. With west African-inspired sounds of jazz and gospel music, and new sounds innovated from a tradition of experimentation, players use their own musical voices to share stories and truths.
They present arrangements by pianist, composer and arranger Andrew Jamieson, expanded from his solo album Heard the Voice.