Eric Essix performing Evolution

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Featuring 5 Men On A Stool and vocalist Tracy Hamlin


To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist church bombing, UAB's Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center is developing and producing community events and performances the week of September 15, 2013, to engage the community through the healing power of the arts.

Evolution is the title of the landmark 20th CD by Eric Essix, which musically charts the spiritual growth and healing of Birmingham 50 years after the events that energized the Civil Rights Movement in 1963. The local native and Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame member will debut Evolution as part of the Alys Stephens Center's September 2013 commemoration of those historic events – including the bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church – which forever changed our nation. On this recording, Essix's guitar fronts contemporary jazz arrangements supported by traditional jazz instrumentation throughout most of the set. Along with six new compositions –all written by Essix – are covers of a handful of well-known songs by various popular artists. "With this project, I definitely wanted to, of course, acknowledge the past but also highlight the amazing progress we've made over the past 50 years," says Essix, who is also co-founder of the annual Preserve Jazz Festival in Hoover. "Birmingham is my home. I have seen the segregation of the past and the tremendous growth of this city first hand, and I'm proud of where we are today and of the strength and resolve of the people here." Joining Essix for this concert will be the dynamic ensemble 5 Men on a Stool and vocalist Tracy Hamlin. You won't want to miss this evening of remembrance, celebration, and healing.

 

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More About The Artist

Who better to commemorate 1963 than Birmingham Native and Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Inductee Eric Essix. Essix will perform songs from his landmark 20th recording titled Evolution, a musical diary that examines the progress of Birmingham over the past 50 years and into the future. A guitarist with intimate personal, family, and community connections to the subject matter, Essix has produced and recorded songs that have a direct connection to the Civil Rights Movement for more than a decade:

2000 – For Four (An original composition dedicated to the girls who died in the bombing)
People Get Ready (Curtis Mayfield)
2004 – Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round (march anthem)
2005 – Abide With Me (a ten-song collection of Negro spirituals and hymns)
2009 – We Shall Overcome and Shuttlesworth Drive (An original composition dedicated to the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth) on Essix's Birmingham album. The latter was a #1 contemporary jazz hit that stayed in the top 5 of the national jazz radio charts for more than 20 weeks.

When Essix is not on stage, he serves as artist coordinator at UAB's Alys Stephens Center and an instructor of jazz studies and music technology in UAB's Department of Music.

ArtPlay Meet the Artist School Show: Friday, September 20, 10am Jemison Concert Hall.

 

 

August 2014
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