The Africana Intellectual Project (AIP) and Performing Arts at Colorado College is pleased to present Grammy Award Winner Nicholas Payton with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic on Friday, October 25 at 7:30pm at Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs. Payton will perform the United States debut of his Black American Symphony and Miles Davis’ iconic Sketches of Spain.
Both works highlight the contribution of Black American music to the world, here through the lens of symphonic music. Sketches of Spain–the renowned 1960 concept album by Miles Davis and Gil Evans–explores and reinterprets the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of Spain. In concert, while the orchestra performs from the manuscripts prepared for the original recording, Payton reconsiders the cultural influences of Spain via the Moors from Africa. In Black American Symphony, Payton draws exclusively from the canon of twentieth-century black music (blues, gospel, jazz, rhythm & blues, hip-hop) to reveal a continuum of communal expression of a people that continues to change with the times.
This event represents the capstone of the AIP’s exploration of music as a component of its Black Art(s): Radical Potentialities Series that has featured performances by Pharoah Saunders and Talib Kweli. We call this a capstone because Payton’s Black American Symphony offers the audience an opportunity to take stock of 100 years of the African American musical tradition in a setting that bridges the gap between western classical music and the radical nature of Black Art. Further, Nicholas is one of the few masters of the trumpet up to the challenge of Miles Davis and Gil Evan’s masterpiece Sketches of Spain.