Our roving Lively Up! Festival photographer tuned into a conversation between saxophonist/composer, Denys Baptiste and poet/author, Lemn Sissay as they discussed Denys’ new work ‘NOW IS THE TIME’ for which Lemn has contributed his poetry.
‘We have to search through our past for inspiration that can take us through the traumas of the present’.
‘[Martin Luther King] is our hero, and he’s a hero to everybody’.
MARTIN LUTHER KING & THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON is another magical film from the Hackney based Smoking Dogs. Directed by Jon Akomfrah this evocative and historically illuminating documentary celebrates the pivotal moment in modern history when the the Civil Rights movement descended on Washington DC to pressurise a vulnerable but sympathetic President John F Kennedy to go forward with his Civil Rights Bill.
As with all Smoking Dogs films it’s beautifully constructed and while the story is imbued with an intense urgency it’s punctuated by a monochrome, dream like quality that’s graced, at one point, by Miles Davis’ muted horn.
The rigorous nature of Jon Akomfrah’s directorship ensures that Dr King’s role was not elevated in importance above others who played a crucial role in making the march happen. At the heart of the organisation was the so called ‘Big Six’ led by the charismatic Philip Randolph – president of…
Great little trailer for Denys Baptiste’s new project, Now Is The Time that goes on tour next Saturday. Please share with your friends!
Denys is working for the very first time with the award-winning poet, Lemn Sissay whose projected video narration of specially commissioned poetry is integral to the live music performance. Take a look, let us know if you like it, and get booking! We think you’re going to enjoy this show!
This weekend we attended Denys Baptiste‘s Now Is The Time…Let Freedom Ring! rehearsal in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London where this project will be presented in a month’s time. It was a great rehearsal – thanks to Southbank Centre’s production team for facilitating this – and, oh my, our audiences are certainly in for a treat with this one!
It was brilliant to see some of the musicians who played on Let Freedom Ring! back in 2003 – musicians like Giorgio Serci (guitar), Satin Singh (percussion), Jenny Adejayan (cello) and Omar Puente (violin) – now 10 years older and a good bit wiser! We also saw Jazz Jamaica’s trombonist, Harry Brown in the musical director’s chair for the first time on one of our projects (nice one, Hazza!).
Now Is The Time is Denys’ new suite in four movements that preludes Let Freedom Ring! There’s plenty of classic jazz, blues and gospel in there, plus some Afrobeat and some properly groovin’, funky elements as well. Denys certainly knows how to write great tunes – we’ve already started humming the piece after just one rehearsal. Can’t wait to hear Now Is The Time with the choirs. It’s going to be absolutely amazing!
Could this be another Denys Baptiste classic? Very possibly… ! Check out the tour datesand find out when you can hear this wonderful new music.