Diving deep into the musical explorations of Ed Sarath, an accomplished American musician, composer, and educator, we find ourselves at the Amazonas Green Jazz Festival in Manaus, Brazil. In this article, we’ll examine his fascinating journey in music and spotlight his performances at the festival.
Ed Sarath: A Multifaceted Musician
Ed Sarath, a Professor of Music in the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at The University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance, has had a diverse and successful career. He is also the Director of the interdisciplinary U-M Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies and plays the flugelhorn. Sarath is a prolific author, with works such as Black Music Matters: Jazz and the Transformation of Music Studies and Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness: Jazz as Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society under his belt.
Although Sarath’s resume may sound academic, his festival concerts were anything but. Instead, they showcased his remarkable talent as a composer, blending various musical styles and influences to create captivating works.
Amazonas Green Jazz Festival Performances
At the Amazonas Green Jazz Festival, Sarath presented a range of his compositions, including two inspired by Manaus-born poet-journalist-composer Anibal Beça and a suite titled Amazonia Verde Para Sempre (“Amazonas Green Forever”). This latter piece, inspired by ecological imperatives, featured a 46-beat cycle and drew from indigenous and Afro-Brazilian musical traditions.
In another performance, Sarath and his ensemble interpreted Maya Angelou’s poem “His Day Is Done” with a 5-movement, 40-minute piece commemorating the death of Nelson Mandela. The composition showcased a range of musical influences and techniques, reflecting Sarath’s diverse musical background.
A Conversation with Ed Sarath
In an interview, Sarath discussed his approach to composition and his experiences in teaching music. He emphasized the importance of incorporating a range of influences and styles in his work, blending genres in unique ways. He also shared his thoughts on the connections between improvisation, consciousness, and spirituality in music.
Teaching Black Music Matters
In addition to his composition and performance work, Sarath teaches classes on music and consciousness. He believes that exploring the story of Black music and its connection to creativity and spirituality is essential for understanding our shared musical heritage and promoting healing.
As both a musician and educator, Ed Sarath continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of music. His performances at the Amazonas Green Jazz Festival are a testament to his talent and vision, and his ongoing work in the field of music education promises to inspire generations of musicians to come.