(LENOX, Mass.) – “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue,” an evening of music and food at The Mount – the historic home of writer Edith Wharton – takes place on Thursday, July 11, 2013, from 5 to 8pm, in conjunction with Lift Ev’ry Voice, the biennial festival celebrating African-American culture and heritage in the Berkshires. The evening features virtuoso trombonist Craig Harris and the Tailgaters, with the Peter Primamore Quartet and the MCLA Allegrettos opening. Food by Mad Jacks BBQ Restaurant in Pittsfield will be available for purchase, or attendees may bring their own picnic supper.
When Craig Harris exploded onto the jazz scene in 1976, he brought the entire history of the jazz trombone with him. From the growling gut-bucket intensity of early New Orleans music through the refined, articulate improvisation of the modern era set forth by J.J. Johnson and into the confrontational expressionism of the 1960s avant-garde, Harris handled the total vernacular the way a skilled orator utilizes the spoken word. He has performed with a veritable who’s who of progressive jazz’s most important figures – including Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jaki Byard, Cecil Taylor, Muhal Richard Abrams, David Murray, Henry Threadgill, and Lester Bowie – and his own projects display both a unique sense of concept and a total command of the sweeping expanse of African-American musical expression.
It’s these two qualities that have dominated Craig’s past 15 years of activity, bringing him far beyond the confines of the jazz world and into the sphere of multimedia and performance art as composer, performer, conceptualist, curator, and artistic director. Projects like Souls Within the Veil, composed to commemorate the centennial of W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, Brown Butterfly, a multi- media work based on the movement of Muhammad Ali with video, dance, and music; and God’s Trombones, based on James Weldon Johnson’s classic collection of poems that refigure inspirational sermons by itinerant Negro preachers. He has been the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Meet the Composers New-Works Commission, Lila Wallace Readers Digest Award, and many other awards for his compositional skills.
The Mount is located at 2 Plunkett St., in Lenox, Massachusetts. In case of rain, the performances will be moved indoors into the Mount’s Carriage House.