Piedmont Blues

Piedmont Blues

Saturday, December 10, 2016, 8pm

The Music Center

$25 - $65

Gerald Clayton & the Assembly
Featuring René Marie 
Directed by Christopher McElroen

Duke Performances | Duke University is lead commissioner of Piedmont Blues Project; co-commissioners include Strathmore, the Savannah Music Festival, and the Modlin Center for the Arts at University of Richmond.

Ragtime rhythms, finger picking guitar style, and understated vocals are the hallmarks of the folk music style found in the Piedmont region, the area between the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the Appalachian Mountains from central Georgia to central Virginia. Jazz pianist-composer-bandleader Gerald Clayton has captured the essence of this celebrated land, home to a unique culture and rapidly vanishing folkloric history, and preserved it in a multimedia project. Piedmont Blues features a nine-piece band led by Clayton that includes vocalist René Marie and tap dancer Maurice Chestnut, and it combines music with projected film and new and archival photography to create an epic cultural event.

Preconcert lecture: Aaron Greenwald, executive director of Duke Performances and lead commissioner and producer of the project, discusses the creation of Piedmont Blues. Free with concert ticket.
Sat, Dec 10, 6:30pm

  • Award-winning theater director Christopher McElroen worked in close collaboration with Clayton on the project.
  • Footage includes performances by some of the last of the living original Piedmont Blues musicians: NEA National Heritage Fellow bluesman John Dee Holman, as well as Piedmont songsters Boo Hanks and Algia Mae Hinton.
  • From the late 1920s through the early 1940s, artists like Blind Boy Fuller, Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Blake, and Sonny Terry made the Piedmont Blues popular through a series of top-selling recordings and women like Etta Baker and Elizabeth ‘Libba’ Cotten were also masters of Piedmont guitar style.

Learn more about this exciting project.

Come early and witness our area’s Piedmont blues tradition live! Strathmore is proud to present the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation musicians in the Lockheed Martin Lobby prior to Shades of Blues Music Center performances. Learn more about AEBHF.

This performance is part of Strathmore’s Shades of Blues festival. Check out the full line-up.

Strathmore thanks the DC Blues Society for their promotional support.

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