KJ Video

Big Chief Donald Harrison’s Congo Square Nation; Monday, August 18, 2014

Big Chief Donald Harrison’s Congo Square Nation
Monday, August 18, 2014
Kuumbwa Jazz Center

“Both old school and cutting-edge.” —Wall Street Journal

New Orleans alto sax great Donald Harrison is “The King of Nouveau Swing,” a style that merges R&B, hip-hop, soul, rock and jazz with Afro-New Orleans traditional music. Harrison is notably the Big Chief of Congo Square Nation, a group that preserves the legacy of black New Orleans residents parading in beautiful, intricate Native American-influenced costumes. Harrison brings the rituals of Indian “masking’ to the jazz stage, alongside Zaccai Curtis on piano; Max Moran on bass; and Joe Dyson on drums. Harrison’s new album, This is Jazz, has garnered some of the finest reviews of his career.

The New Orleans Black Mardi Gras Indians tradition dates back over 150 years, when black citizens of New Orleans donned ornate, Native American-themed costumes and paraded throughout the streets; the Indian imagery rooted in solidarity with the struggles of Native American tribes. There are numerous Mardi Gras Indian tribes in New Orleans, accompanied with a whole lexicon of song attributed to this culture (made famous by the eponymous album of The Wild Tchoupitoulas tribe).

Born in the Crescent City in 1960, Harrison’s father was a “Big Chief” who raised his son steeped in the traditions of the Mardi Gras Indians and New Orleans music. Ultimately attending the Berklee School of Music, Harrison became an acclaimed jazz talent, performing with Roy Haynes, Terence Blanchard and Art Blakey. A Big Chief himself, of the Congo Square Nation tribe, Harrison recorded the notable album Indian Blues in 1991, which captured the sounds of the Indian chants blended with modern jazz.

In 2007 he was chosen by Jazziz magazine as the “Person of the Year” and also launched a three-album trilogy, which encompassed straight-ahead jazz, smooth jazz and hip-hop. His latest album is This is Jazz, featuring Ron Carter on bass and Billy Cobham on drums. Big Chief Donald Harrison is a masterful blender of genres and with his Congo Square Nation onstage beside him, this show is bound to be full of high energy jazz and contagious enthusiasm as seen on the streets of New Orleans.

Big Chief Donald Harrison’s Congo Square Nation

DATE: Monday, August 18, 2014
VENUE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $22/Adv $27/Door
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at: http://kuumbwajazz.org
MORE INFO: http://kuumbwajazz.org or 831-427-2227

Media contact:
Sandy Sloan
(831) 427-2227

# # #