Soul, Gospel, Blues: The Love Show Comes to MASS MoCA

Carla Cook

Carla Cook

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) –  The Love Show digs its roots in Grace Lee Boggs’ declaration that “linking love and revolution is an idea whose time has come.”  Five of New York’s most acclaimed soul vocalists — Carla Cook, Helga Davis, Marcelle Davies Lashley, James Staten Jr., and Jason Walker —  will spread their love on Saturday, October 1, at 8 pm in MASS MoCA’s Club B-10.  The Love Show is more than a concert, joining music, performance pieces, and activism to rejoice in their mission of loving thy neighbor and loving thyself.

Grammy-nominated Carla Cook combines Motown, blues, rock, and European classical to create jazz unlike it has ever been heard before.  Growing up in Detroit, she began singing in her church choir, developing her interest in gospel music.  As she began composing and performing, she elected to pave a unique path by reinterpreting pop and rock songs through jazz, singing songs like Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” and Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues.”  Cook has formed numerous jazz ensembles, the first based in Boston.  Her debut album It’s All About Love received a Grammy Nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Performance; her following albums Dem Bones and Simply Natural also welcomed critical acclaim for her beautiful and textured voice.

Helga Davis

Helga Davis

Soul vocalist and esteemed NYC radio host Helga Davis will join Cook, bringing her blend of funk, rock, and jazz to The Love Show.  Davis won praise in Greg Tate’s cult band Women in Love, establishing her solo and theater career when the group disbanded in 1995.  Her international acclaim has led her to host the radio show Overnight Music on NYC’s classical station WQXR, part of New York’s chief public radio station WNYC FM 93.9, an NPR affiliate.

Veteran soul vocalists Marcelle Davies Lashley, James Staten Jr., and Jason Walker will also take the stage.  Lashley, drawing from gospel, jazz, and R&B, sang backup vocals for such musicians as Carl Hancock Rux, Lizz Wright, and Toshi Reagon before forging her solo career.  Soul man James Staten Jr.  is known for his melding of music and activism.  By uniting house, pop, and jazz, Jason Walker is a powerful vocalist who has worked in theatre with Robert Wilson and fronts his own acoustic soul band.

Da Band for The Love Show features Ted Cruz, Fred Cash, and Ben Perowsky. Cruz’s expertise has allowed him to share his keyboard and piano flair composing music for film, television, and the opening and closing ceremonies for the millennium celebration in Times Square.  He has toured worldwide with jazz, rock, and classical musicians before stopping at MASS MoCA.  Bassist Cash has shared his skill with artists BIGlovely, Indie.Arie, Jean-Paul Bourelly, and Alicia Keyes.  Perowksy, one of jazz’s top percussion connoisseurs, established himself with saxophonist David Binney in Lost Tribe, later forming the Ben Perowsky Trio and Quartet, in addition to performing with legends James Moody and Rickie Lee Jones.  Perowsky also pioneered a new musical genre, pairing slow dub with minimal vocals to achieve a dark sound.

The love will begin on October 1 at 8 pm and will be presented in MASS MoCA’s Club B-10.  Drinks from the MASS MoCA bar, as well as dinner and snacks from Lickety Split, are available before and during all shows.  Tickets for The Love Show are $12 in advance and $16 day of show. Student tickets are $10. This performance is part of MASS MoCA’s Alt Cabaret series which presents some of the best new and emerging music, theater, spoken word, and dance artists working today giving patrons the chance to catch rising stars on their way up. Other Alt Cabaret performances for the season include Neo-folk rising star Sam Amidon and Stephanie Rothenberg’s mixed reality talk show piece Best Practices in Banana Time.  MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams, open from 11 – 5, closed Tuesday. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA.

MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.  MASS MoCA is an independent 501c(3) whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy.  Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of annual operating revenues are from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants.




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