PUTNEY — Next Stage Arts, 15 Kimball Hill, presents an evening with American roots jazz band The Afro-Semitic Experience, on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m.
The Afro-Semitic Experience is a group of Jewish-American and African-American musicians who have been performing, recording, and teaching together for more than 20 years. Their friendship ignites their passion and purpose: Together, as a band, they merge their musical roots, Jewish and Afro-diasporic melodies and grooves, combining the core concepts of ase and shalom - power, action, unity, and peace.
“The work of Afro-Semitic explores how two distinct cultures and histories have much to learn from and share with one another,” Keith Marks, executive director of Next Stage Arts, said in a news release. “They explore the intersections of diaspora, roots, and a renewed expression of peace in difficult times. And they happen to also be incredible musicians and educators.”
The group began in 1998 as a duo with David Chevan on the bass and Warren Byrd on piano. Over the years they have added many other musical voices to their mix. The current line-up includes (1)Will Bartlett on tenor saxophone, clarinet, and flute; Alvin Carter Jr. on drum set; Saskia Laroo on trumpet; and Jocelyn Pleasant on percussion.
They've recorded eight CDs and are in the midst of composing music for their ninth, My Feet Began to Pray, a new collection of original compositions inspired by the social and racial justice movements, along with a few classic songs from back in the day.
They say their music embodies the radical notion that people of different faiths, races, and beliefs can come together and celebrate and build community. Their repertoire is a mix of original compositions and arrangements of pieces curated from Jewish and African-diasporic cultures. “Their music reaches out to a distinct open-minded listening audience,” organizers say, and according to their website, their intentional merging of jazz with the spiritual and the sacred has allowed them to share their music in concert as well as at services in houses of worship across the United States.
In addition to playing in traditionally sacred spaces, they perform at national and regional music festivals, on college campuses, and the occasional jazz club.
Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 at the door and are available at nextstagearts.org. For more information, call 802-387-0102.