“Frederick Douglass was a powerful orator and a gifted writer. So it is an apt tribute to the great abolitionist and longtime Rochester resident that the new jazz CD A Sky with More Stars — Suite for Frederick Douglass should celebrate both the authority of his words and the precision of their form.
Along with the “seamless logic” of Douglass’s arguments, which played a key role in the abolition of slavery, there is an “inherent musicality” to his writing that this new album captures, says Jeffrey Tucker, director of the University of Rochester’s Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies and associate professor of English, who wrote the CD’s liner notes. “A Sky with More Stars is a fitting showcase of his artistry.”
The album weaves together Douglass’s words, delivered by University Vice President Paul Burgett, with interpretive jazz by composers Tyrone Brown and John Blake of Philadelphia. The result, enthuses an early reviewer, is “an eloquent album filled with music as stirring as the words they augment….””
The CD uses texts and documents from the University of Rochester’s Frederick Online Douglass Project