Craig Harris and Sam Rivers

Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend: Craig Harris and Friends Play the Music of Sam Rivers

Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 7:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall

$15 general public; $12 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $8 Wesleyan students, youth under 18

Trombonist, prolific composer, bandleader of various sized ensembles, and gifted sonic shaman Craig Harris' musical journey has led him on a path that has affirmed his place in performance with and among the ranks of creative music’s most progressive thought-leaders. Harris has performed around the world with a wide range of jazz luminaries, including the inimitable Sun Ra, as well as Sam Rivers, Cecil Taylor, Charlie Haden, Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill, and Oliver Lake, since 1976.

Harris has amassed an extensive discography of his own influential work in addition to contributing to the projects of his esteemed colleagues. Steeped in the tradition of using his musical voice to comment on social injustice and humanity, Harris co-composed the score for the Academy Award-winning film Judas and the Black Messiah (2021), which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album” the next year. Harris’ most recent recording as a leader, Managing the Mask, was released in 2022.

At Wesleyan, Harris’ sextet will make their Connecticut debut, performing the music of saxophonist Sam Rivers (1923–2011) in celebration of Rivers’ centennial anniversary at 8pm. A brilliantly innovative composer, Rivers taught at Wesleyan in the early 1970s. Harris will be joined by David Murray on tenor saxophone, Don Byron on clarinets, Jerome Jennings on drums, Alexis Marcelo on piano, and Jordyn Davis on bass. 

Don Byron previously performed "Jungle Music for Postmoderns" as part of the Crowell Concert Series on campus in February 2002.

The concert opens at 7pm with a 45-minute set performed by members of the Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra, directed by Professor of Music and African American Studies Jay Hoggard ’76, MA ’91. This concert is the conclusion of the 21st annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend.

Images: Craig Harris and Sam Rivers (inset).