Avery Sharpe, longtime bassist with the McCoy Tyner Trio, Williams faculty member, and a distinguished leader and recording artist, released his latest work in 2019 – 400: An African American Musical Portrait. The album marks 400 years, starting in 1619 with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to Point Comfort, or what is now Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, to continuing to the present. The music tells a harrowing yet inspiring tale, century by century. Avery Sharpe’s work draws on plantation music, blues, ragtime, gospel, classical, New Orleans second line, and other deeply rooted historical styles, all refracted through the prism of modern jazz. The cycle concludes with 500, a riveting and adventurous piece that points the way toward the future. Co-sponsored by Africana Studies, Mr. Sharpe gathers together his collaborators for this live performance of a monumental and inspiring work.
Featured artists are faculty members Avery Sharpe – bass, Samirah Evans – vocals, Kris Allen – reeds, and Tendai Muparutsa – djembe. Honored musical guest artists are Haneef Nelson – trumpet, Matt DeChamplain – piano, and Royal Hartigan – drums. Talented Williams music students include Theophyl Kwapong ’20 – voice, Kevin Zhou ’20 – violin, Jeongyoon Han ’21 – violin, and Andrew Rim ’20 – cello.
Sponsored by the Williams College Departments of Music and Africana Studies.