Jazz and Social Justice
We Dream of Better Places,
Give Us Justice Now.
The Transformations Suite
THE TRANSFORMATIONS SUITE
"Raised in San Francisco's Bay Area, long an incubator of black liberation artists and activists, Pinderhughes is a Juilliard-trained pianist and composer dedicated to using music to push for structural change. The Transformations Suite is a five-part tone poem, arranged over meticulously arranged big band jazz instrumentals, with aims to provide a motivational and emotional engine to push forward the mission of Black Lives Matter. The first piece of the project — "Momentum, Pt. 2" — premieres below.
Commentary by Nate Chinen (Director of Editorial Content, WBGO)
"Our best musicians in the jazz tradition were radical imaginers," Samora Pinderhughes says. A pianist and composer in his mid-20s, he has asserted his connection to that lineage with The Transformations Suite, an earnest and ambitious new work combining music, words and visuals. The piece, which took five years to chisel into shape, was inspired by African-American resistance and protest movements, as well as the oppression that many still endure.
The call to change is central to the suite, as is the awareness of historical progress, however halting or tenuous it may seem. In the end, Pinderhughes voices a literal call to action: "Fight back!" goes the stirring refrain in a video montage that concludes the concert, amidst a ritual recitation of all-too-familiar names like Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray.