Saxophonist Javon Jackson And Poet Nikki Giovanni Perform At NYC’s Schomburg In Harlem

February 20, 2024

Acclaimed tenor saxophonist/composer Javon Jackson and revered poet Nikki Giovanni perform at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 4, 2024.

The event will take place at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, Harlem, New York.

Jackson and Giovanni are joined by pianist Jeremy Manasia, bassist David Williams, and drummer Akin Hobson. Tickets $35, members $25. Information at 2024 Women’s Jazz Fest: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni Tickets, Mon, Mar 4, 2024 at 7:00 PM | Eventbrite.
Jackson and Giovanni’s historic collaboration resulted in their critically acclaimed album The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni, which has earned wide critical acclaim since its 2022 release. The album “combines the religious fervor of the old church and the improvisational freedom of the new jazz.” – Geoffrey Himes, Paste Magazine.
5-stars “The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni is a meaningful meditation on struggle, sacrifice, resilience, liberation, and victory.” – Bob Marovich, Journal of Gospel Music
“…explores the lineage of Black American spirituals and hymns…. Giovanni sings this ode to unbelonging — a favorite of her old friend Nina Simone — with wistful conviction, picking up where Jackson’s gentle treatment of the melody leaves off. Her voice crinkles up on the high notes but loses none of its gravitas or tenderness as she sings: ‘Music, by the lonely sung/When you can’t help wondering:/Where do I belong?’” – Giovanni Russonello, New York Times
“Among the last of legendary drummer Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Jackson has continued to deliver the message of African-American music in all its glory.” – Kevin Lowenthal, Boston Globe
“The spirituals have been around so long,” says Giovanni, who came to prominence in the 1960s and ’70s as a foundational member of the Black Arts movement following the publication of such early works as 1968’s book of poetry Black Feeling, Black Talk/Black Judgment and 1970’s Re: Creation. “Some spirituals have been updated and stayed around and some have been lost over time. So for me, it’s just helping to keep something going. And I do it because there’s a need.”
Jackson, who came to international prominence as a member of the legendary Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, brings his bold-toned, Trane-inspired tenor lines to bear on a series of hymns, spirituals and gospel numbers hand-picked by Giovanni, who was also the first person to receive the Rosa L. Parks Women of Courage Award. The project is personal for me. I come from a lineage of devout Christians, and that has afforded me the chance to connect with that ancestral stream,” Jackson says.

The saxophonist’s most recent release is With Peter Bradley, the soundtrack for Alex Rappaport’s documentary on the African-American abstract painter. Jackson is also slated to release a new recording, Inspiration, in 2024.

Photo credit: 1) Niki Giovanni and Javon Jackson. 2) Javon Jackson and Niki Giovanni. Photo by Shaban R. Athuman.

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