Asian American Orchestra
Ojala Bata Ensemble (USA)
Freedom Now Suite
Sunday June 5,
2:00pm and 7:00pm
Duration: 85 minutes, no intermission
6:00pm FREE Artist Panel Discussion:
The Legacy of Max Roach's We Insist
Tickets: General Admission
$20 Advance, $25 Door
Reserved Table Seating
$25 Advance, $30 Door
Front Row Reserved Seating
$30 Advance, $35 Door
Asian America Orchestra
Anthony Brown-percussion, director
Mark Izu-bass, sheng
Masaru Koga-saxophones, shakuhachi, flute
Amikaeyla Proudfoot Gaston-vocals
Ojala Bata Ensemble
Lee Brenkman-sound engineer
Martha Brown-company manager
We Insist! Freedom Now was the first overtly political jazz album long-playing (LP) record featuring poetry and songs advocating for equality and justice. Recorded and released in 1960 to critical acclaim, We Insist! remains a landmark musical milestone composed by band leader/percussionist Max Roach in collaboration with poet Oscar Brown, Jr. In commemoration of the courage of their forbearers’ convictions and commitment to human rights, Dr. Anthony Brown’s GRAMMY-nominated Asian American Orchestra, re-imagines this significant project to share its timeless message of social and racial justice and its continuing relevance to today’s #BlackLivesMatter Movement and the upsurge of anti-Muslim violence.
6:00pm "We American jazz musicians of African descent have proved beyond all doubt that we’re master musicians of our instruments. Now what we have to do is employ our skill to tell the dramatic story of our people and what we’ve been through." Max Roach, 1960 Dr. Anthony Brown, lyricst/vocalist Amikaeyla Gaston and poet Genny Lim discuss the historic significance of the original We Insist! Freedom Now Suite album created by composer Max Roach and lyricist Oscar Brown Jr. and why the work has a continued relevance and importance in the United States and globally over half a century later.
ARTIST BIOSAnthony Brown is a composer, percussionist, ethnomusicologist, Guggenheim fellow, Smithsonian Associate Scholar, and Artistic Director of the GRAMMY nominated Asian American Orchestra and the nonprofit organization, Fifth Stream Music. He has composed music for critically acclaimed, award winning film documentaries, theater productions, dance companies and musical ensembles internationally, and has collaborated with Max Roach, Cecil Taylor, Zakir Hussain, Steve Lacy, Anthony Davis and the San Francisco Symphony. Dr. Brown has served as Curator of American Musical Culture and Director of the Jazz Oral History Program at the Smithsonian Institution, and as a Visiting Professor of Music at UC Berkeley.
Amikaeyla Gaston is the winner of eight Washington Area Music Association awards for Best Jazz, World, and Urban Contemporary Vocalist, was named DC’s best female composer in 2006 and 2008, and was recently honored with first prize for Best World Music Composition from the Maryland State Arts Council. Amikaeyla appeared on Broadway numerous times, most notably as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. She has studied with many spiritual and musical masters from many different cultures and was personally invited to perform in India at the Inaugural Festival of Sacred Chanting and Singing at the request and invitation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Genny Lim is a noted poet performer who’s collaborated with the late Max Roach and bassist, Herbie Lewis. Lim has performed at numerous jazz festivals and venues coast to coast, including the SF Jazz Poetry Festival and World Poetry Festivals in Venezuela, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Italy. Her poetry and vocals can be heard on Asian ImprovArts recordings with Francis Wong, Devotee and Child of Peace and on Jon Jang’s Immigrant Suite. She is the author of the award-winning play, Paper Angels, Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island and several poetry collections, including Paper Gods and Rebels.