Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration at Jazz at Lincoln Center
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Two decades ago, Wynton Marsalis composed and recorded In This House, On This Morning and began a creative exploration of how to reflect the forms of the African American church service onto a theme of universal humanism while raising a joyful noise. Marsalis refined this integration of sacred and secular expression with his definitive 2008 extended work Abyssinian 200: A Celebration, commissioned by the Abyssinian Baptist Church on West 138th Street in Harlem to celebrate its 200th anniversary. After a triumphant performance in London's Barbican Centre, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis brings fresh eyes and ears to this masterwork. The sensational conductor Damien Sneed leads Chorale Le Chateau, his 70-person gospel choir, through the demanding compendium of shouts, chants, and joyous expressions required by this composition. Spirited sermonizing from a surprise guest, and the athleticism of tap dancer Jared Grimes add further charisma to the presentation.