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A Jazzfest Marathon With Protest at Its Heart

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Monday January 09, 2017

From The New York Times

Review: A Jazzfest Marathon With Protest at Its Heart
By: Nate Chinen

…By now, into its 13th annual edition, the NYC Winter Jazzfest has earned the sensation of urgency that flows among both artists and audiences. This year’s festival began Thursday and will run through Tuesday, when the Liberation Music Orchestra, led by a guest pianist, Geri Allen, draws from its stately songbook of resistance at Le Poisson Rouge. But as always, the festival’s centerpiece was the marathon, featuring more than 100 acts across a dozen or so spaces below 14th Street in Manhattan, on Friday and Saturday nights…

…This year the Winter Jazzfest intensified the stakes with a presiding theme of social justice, which emerged organically out of the programming but then became a kind of directive. Mr. Reed, a judicious drummer and bandleader from Chicago, naturally fit into that rubric with his current band. So did a host of other artists whose work addresses racial oppression, like the pianist Samora Pinderhughes, who presented his “Transformations Suite.”

At SOB’s on Saturday night, the drummer Terri Lyne Carrington unveiled Social Science, a slow-funk project rooted in the rhetoric of protest. With partners like Nadia Washington on vocals and Aaron Parks on piano and keyboards, she played songs in response to police brutality and anti-gay social norms, among other things. “The Waiting Game,” composed just after the recent presidential election, began with generalities (“We’ll suffer through/And rise again”) and gradually got more pointed (“The highest ceiling made of glass/Still unbroken”).

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