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A Celebration of Amiri Baraka’s “Blues People” at 50: "Keep Your Razor Sharp"

A Celebration of Amiri Baraka’s “Blues People” at 50: "Keep Your Razor Sharp"


Blues People: Negro Music in White America, the pioneering book about African-American music by Newark author and activist Amiri Baraka, marks a half-century with a free tribute concert to be held at the Newark Museum as part of NJPAC’s TD James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival. This thought-provoking journey, introduced by Baraka himself and featuring the world premiere of “Keep Your Razor Sharp,” an original musical composition by trombonist Craig Harris, traces the impact of jazz and blues on our culture and history.

The full-length Keep Your Razor Sharp,” commissioned by NJPAC, will be performed by Craig Harris & Nation of Imagination (Carla Cook and Helga Davis, vocals; Kelvyn Bell, guitar; Adam Klipple, keyboards; Calvin Jones, bass; Tony Lewis, drums; Khalil Bell, percussion). Inspired by Blues People, Harris’ work parallels the book’s main theme: the blues continuum and the people who created it. “Keep Your Razor Sharp” explores a rich musical language that traveled and evolved from the Malian and Mississippi deltas to rural plantations and urban projects. Text is incorporated from Baraka’s poetic Wise, Why’s, Y’s: The Griot’s Song Djeli Ya.

Harris, an acclaimed musician and composer – as well as a born collaborator – has worked with such jazz greats as Sun Ra, Oliver Lake, Cecil Taylor and Sam Rivers. Although his three-decade career is rooted in progressive jazz, he has successfully branched out into multimedia and performance art as a performer, conceptualist, curator and artistic director.


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  • vatrice

    I will most likely arrive to this event after 7pm. This is more of an unofficial meetup.

    November 5, 2013

  • rell

    I hope to meet single ladies around my area tomorrow

    November 4, 2013

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