Acclaimed jazz bassist Rufus Reid will conduct the Bucknell Jazz Band in a performance of “Quiet Pride” Friday, April 12, at 8 p.m. at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University.
The performance is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.
In a related event, the Weis Center is hosting a “Lunchtime Chat with Rufus Reid,” Thursday, April 11, at noon in the Weis Center Lobby.
“Quiet Pride” is a five-movement musical tribute to prominent sculptor Elizabeth Catlett who died in April 2012 at the age of 96. The presentation, a mix of music and multimedia featuring projections of Catlett’s sculptures, was awarded the Sackler Composition Prize for 2006, the very first year in which jazz was chosen as the composition genre.
Kathryn Maguet, executive director of the Weis Center, says, “We’re thrilled to collaborate with the Department of Music and jazz legend Rufus Reid on “Quiet Pride.” Reid’s award-winning composition is inspired by the sculptures and spirit of the late artist and activist Elizabeth Catlett. This lush and multi-layered piece is both beautiful and powerful - much like the artist herself.”
Considered one of today’s premier bassists on the international jazz scene, Reid participated in the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop for five years. He has written for string orchestra, jazz ensembles large and small, concert band, double bass ensemble pieces and a solo bass composition.
Known as an exceptional educator, Reid travels throughout the world as guest artist performing his compositions with both small and large ensembles. He has traveled, performed and recorded with many of the great Jazz Masters and has been honored with numerous awards including the Humanitarian Award from the International Association of Jazz Educators and the Jazz Educator Achievement Award from Bass Player magazine.
In addition, the Weis Center is hosting a “Lunchtime Chat with Rufus Reid,” Thursday, April 11, at noon in the Weis Center Lobby. Reid will give a presentation about Catlett, her work, and the composition she inspired. Attendees may bring their lunch to the presentation.
One of America’s prized artists and sculptors, Elizabeth Catlett had an artistic career spanning more than 70 years. An American-born Mexican sculptor and printmaker, she created numerous sculptures, drawings and prints that celebrate African-American and Mexican women, from nurturing mothers to strong workers.
The granddaughter of slaves, Catlett was born into a middle-class Washington, D.C., family in 1915. She attended Howard University, and was the first to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the University of Iowa. Her sculptures and prints celebrate not only famous African-Americans like Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X, but also anonymous workers, as in “Negro Woman,” “Sharecropper” and “Survivor.” Catlett died in 2012.
“Quiet Pride” was inspired by four of Catlett’s sculptures. Its Movements begin with “Recognition,” recognizing the unity of two individuals becoming a single entity; “Glory,” inspired by the powerful, unique beauty of this black woman’s face that exemplifies courage, strength and determination; and “Mother and Child,” a sculpture that embodies, in the simplest of line and form, the indisputable bond between mother and child.
The fourth Movement, “Singing Head,” personifies the resonance of a human voice; and “Tapestry in the Sky” was inspired by Catlett’s sculpture “Stargazer,” a reclining figure that invites viewers to gaze at the night sky.
“We are incredibly fortunate and honored to work with one of jazz’s finest musicians and educators. It’s been a joy to watch him direct and collaborate with our students throughout the semester,” said Barry Long, assistant professor of music and director of the Jazz Band. “They’ve loved working with him and are very excited to share in his rich and moving new work.”
Since its inception as the student-led Jazz and Rock Ensemble in the late 1960s — the first collegiate jazz band to perform behind the Iron Curtain — the Bucknell Jazz Band has performed classic and contemporary improvised music featuring students from every major across campus. Under Long’s direction, the 24 members have had the opportunity to commission new works from Dean Sorenson, Rick Hirsch and Kevin Lowe and work with such guest artists as Chris Vadala, Wycliffe Gordon and Dave Liebman.
For more information about future programming at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to www.facebook.com/WeisCenter or www.bucknell.edu/WeisCenter