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The Good Music of the Bad Old Days 

Wednesday, Jan 6 2010
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Maybe you think you know everything about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. already. But let us be the first to say it — you don’t. The legends are rightly repeated, the songs are often sung (badly), and the photos have burned themselves into our collective consciousness. But at “MLK and Jazz — Celebrating the History of Civil Rights Music,” jazz genius Marcus Shelby and his quartet (including — yesss! — Howard Wiley on saxophone) hold forth with contemporary spirituals, freedom songs, blues, and jazz. When these magicians play, and Faye Carol sings, everyone in the room cries good tears. And then they learn, as talented lecturer Shelby gives an exegesis on King in particular, civil rights in general, and music. We’ve heard him speak during concerts before, and it’s always as rich and satisfying as the music. Shelby’s major projects have been historically inspired, including his Port Chicago CD and his “Harriet Tubman” oratorio, making his understanding of the man and the moment that make so many of us proud to be Americans that much more complex and interesting. So while you may not know everything about King, the dapper bass player just might.
Fri., Jan. 15, 8 p.m., 2010

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Hiya Swanhuyser

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