Avery Sharpe Releases “400: An African American Musical Portrait”
Bassist and composer Avery Sharpe has released a poignant new album documenting the story of African Americans called 400: An African American Musical Portrait. Written for sextet and featuring the Extended Family Choir on four songs, the recording sonically tells the story of the 400 years since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to North America in 1619.
The release is a continued effort by Sharpe to highlight the history of African Americans. His recent releases have included tributes to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Jesse Owens, and the Harlem Renaissance.
“These efforts reflect Sharpe’s deep fascination with history and his programmatic focus on music that depicts these stories and furthers the legacy of these great figures,” a press release explains. “With 400, Sharpe presents his most ambitious project yet, tracing the epic story of a people from the beginnings of chattel slavery to the Civil War and Reconstruction, through the Great Migration and the World Wars to the Civil Rights Era and the Obama presidency.”
The bassist is joined by guitarist Kevin Eubanks, saxophonist Don Brade, trumpeter Duane Eubanks, pianists Davis Whitfield and Zaccai Curtis, and drummer Ronnie Burrage. Sharpe’s inclusion of the Extended Family Choir literally makes it a family affair: the group is led by his brother Kevin with his sister Wanda as well as nieces and nephews. You can hear the full group as well as a bass solo on the track “Is There A Way Home”:
400: An African American Musical Portrait Track List:
- Is There A Way Home
- Colonial Life
- A New Music
- Harlem and the War to End All Wars
- Blues and World War II
- Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around