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Damien Sneed to tour with Wynton Marsalis for Abyssinian Mass

By September 4, 2013 No Comments

Grammy-nominated Damien Sneed will join legendary jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis to perform Marsalis’ composition of Abyssinian Mass, a collaboration of jazz, gospel, instrumentation and vocals. The multi-city showcase, called Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration Tour, will also feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Chorale Le Chateau.

The tour will kick off on Oct. 3 in Chapel Hill, N.C. and end on Oct. 27 in Boston. The showcase is scheduled to take place in performing arts centers and churches across the nation. In addition to the North Carolina and Massachusetts stops, the tour will also stop in Sneed’s native Augusta, Ga., and Marsalis’ hometown of New Orleans.

The Grammy-nominated Sneed, who will serve as conductor, said the tour is one of the highlights of his career.

“This is a most memorable moment in my career being able to travel around with Wynton Marsalis, my mentor, along with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and my very own choral group, Chorale Le Chateau.  What’s even more amazing is that we will be making stops in my hometown and in Wynton’s hometown.”

Since Marsalis composed and recorded In This House, On This Morning two decades ago, he has remained committed to reflecting the form of the African-American church service. The tour got its roots in Marsalis’ 2008 work, Abyssinian Mass, which was commissioned to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Abyssinian Baptist Church on West 138th Street in Harlem.

In select cities, Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration Tour will include education initiatives curated by Sneed and utilizing the talents of gospel artist and educator Karla Scott to engage thousands of high school age choir students to community choir members. In workshop settings, the young participants will study and perform select movements from Abyssinian Mass. These workshops will be supported by online videos featuring Sneed discussing the history of gospel music, cultural background and its relevant styles, as well as specific rehearsal techniques.

The tour is the highlight of a busy fall for Sneed. Sneed will also release his latest live recording project with his group, The Levites and special guests including Bishop Iona Locke, Ruby Holland Hutchins, Tekesha Russell and among others. In addition, Sneed will partner with the Jazz at Lincoln Center to host listening parties that feature his project Introspections Live. Shortly after the Abyssinian Mass Tour, Sneed will be featured at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater on November 8 and 9 in a show called “Jazz Meets Gospel” featuring his group, The Levites, along with Kenneth Whalum III, Brianna Thomas, Bishop Iona Locke and Tekesha Russell. Sneed will also release new solo project under LeChateau Earl Records in January.





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