Introducing: Freedom Summer Sessions, a series of digital concerts and conversations with D.C. artists

We find ourselves at a crossroads in the centuries-long struggle against racism and the state-sanctioned brutalizing of Black lives. For the jazz community, the activist energy feeding this moment is nothing new, but it certainly has been renewed. And that’s doubly true here in D.C. — which is both the nation’s capital and an important cultural mecca known as “Chocolate City,” with its own rich history of music and activism.

CapitalBop’s work has always centered our city’s intertwined legacies of jazz and justice. Today we’re launching Freedom Summer Sessions, partly to honor that history, and partly to serve as a reminder that D.C.’s Black musicians are still here, doing the work, connecting our shared history with the present moment, in order to help usher in a better future. 

Poster art by Maps Glover // click for hi-res

This series of expertly produced livestreams will highlight musicians pushing boundaries, musically and politically. Each session will see artists performing their music and engaging in conversation about the roots and messages contained within it. Artists will share original music, and open up about how they have navigated the pandemic and while engaging with the protest movement.

CapitalBop is proud to be presenting this series in solidarity with The Blacksmiths, a coalition of artists, curators, cultural producers and organizers formed in the wake of nationwide protests against white supremacy and police brutality. The coalition’s mission centers on “sharing community responsive work inspired by Black revolutionary history and the current protest movement.” The Blacksmiths’ members are largely based in New York City; they have mounted a number of successful events there in service of joy, rejuvenation and solidarity since early June, including protest celebrations on Juneteenth and the Fourth of July. This series will be the first Blacksmiths-aligned event in another city.

The weekly Freedom Summer Sessions will feature a one-set performance every Friday at 7 p.m. from a distinguished D.C.-area artist, either solo or with a small, socially distanced group, broadcast to CapitalBop’s YouTube channel and its social media handles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

This series of expertly produced livestreams will highlight musicians pushing boundaries, musically and politically. In each session, artists will perform their music and engage in conversation about the roots and messages contained within it. They will open up about how they have navigated the pandemic while engaging with the protest movement for Black lives.

The hour-long streams will be free to watch, but don’t flinch if we send you some prompts throughout the stream to further support the artists with donations or purchases of their recorded music.

FREEDOM SUMMER SESSIONS

July 17: Joshua Jenkins, pianist

July 24: Jenna Camille, vocalist/keyboardist/producer

July 31: Reginald Cyntje, trombonist

August 7: Aaron L Myers II, vocalist/keyboardist

August 14: Nik Francis, drummer

August 21: Cecily, vocalist

August 28: Tarus Mateen, bassist

September 4: Rochelle Rice, vocalist

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