Wynton Marsalis’ “Abyssinian Mass” raises “joyful noise” in reflecting African-American worship – an uplifting celebration and landmark collaboration of jazz, gospel, instrumentation and vocals.
Marsalis, the artistic and managing director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, brings the work to Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday.
The piece was written by Marsalis in 2008 in recognition of the 200th anniversary of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, one the oldest African-American churches in the country and the first in New York.
With the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the 70-person Chorale Le Chateau, under the direction of Damien Sneed, Marsalis is taking his music on the road with “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration Tour” during October.
The concert is made possible through support of the Steward Family Foundation and Ray and Barbara Dalio. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s support included 1,000 tickets to individuals, including Project LIFT students and families.
They are designed to speak to issues that are not topical. With a Mass, it is always the same issue – come together, speak together and stay together. Everyone has a place in the house of God. That is the main theme of the sermon, but the form of the piece itself takes you through many of the spiritual conditions of American music, Anglo- and Afro-American church music.