TK Blue: Follow the North Star
TK Blue on Alto and Soprano Saxes, Flute, Kalimba
Steve Turre on Trombone and Shells
James Weidman on Piano
Onaje Allan Gumbs on Piano (#13)
Essiet Okon Essiet on Bass
Willie Martinez on Drums
Kevin Jones on Percussion
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 12, 2008
This CD is an homage to Solomon Northrup, an African American in the time of slavery, from New York State, who was kidnapped and confined on a plantation for 12 years, until he was rescued in 1853. TK Blue has created a new musical project, commissioned by NYSCA and Transart, Inc., that culminates from TK Blue’s historical research. Three tracks serve as introductions to the respective following tracks, one each for piano, alto sax, and trombone. The full 13 tracks, of contemporary jazz, present variations in tone and instrumentation.
All music is composed and arranged by TK Blue.
#4 – The Song of Solomon Northrup This track is moody and melodic, with TK on sax, leading his ensemble throughout. James Weidman is generously featured on piano, as are Willie Martinez and Kevin Jones on drums and percussion.
#6 – The Capture This track is dirge-like, and easily evokes an image of a slow march or drive, with repetitive piano chords and a mournful sax theme. There is sadness, but strength, in the musical imagery, as the percussion drives the echoing rhythms.
#9 - Valley of Despair Clearly, TK Blue translates into music the essence of this historical page in US history, as this track of “despair” is atonal, deep, and fragmented. TK Blue takes the lead and inspires the listener to feel angst and anguish, while piano, drums, sax, and bass collaborate in unique blendings.
#12 - Follow the North Star This track is more hopeful and upbeat, with staccato rhythms that hint of freedom. There is a catharsis to this music, and knowing the historical roots of the project makes it all the more meaningful.
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