The enlightening "Let's Talk About Race In America" series will put jazz music in the spotlight on Sunday, April 29, with a performance by the Robert Gardiner Jazz Quartet, featuring a mix of original compositions and selections from the great American songbook.
The performance, sponsored by the Friends of the Greenwood County Library System and Lander University's Diversity Advisory Council, begins at 7 p.m. in Lander's Abney Cultural Center Auditorium. It is free and open to the community, and is FALS-approved for Lander students.
"Jazz is an American art form, and its development goes hand-in-hand with American history as it has unfolded over the last century and a half," said quartet founder and Lander professor of music Dr. Robert Gardiner.
Jazz music traces its roots to New Orleans, one of the nation's most important port cities and home to myriad cultural backgrounds and musical genres. "This melting pot of diversity laid the foundation for the birth of jazz. From there, it moved up the Mississippi River to St. Louis and Chicago, and then on to New York and across the planet," Gardiner said.
"Like America, jazz is constantly evolving," he continued. "It reflects society in good times and bad. It deals with segregation, depression and conflict, as well as peace and prosperity. It reflects the diversity of America and the power and strength derived from this diversity."
About the Robert Gardiner Jazz Quartet
Dr. Robert Gardiner is a saxophonist and professor of music at Lander University. He recently formed the South Carolina Jazz Orchestra, which will begin its inaugural season in the fall of 2018 and feature internationally recognized guest jazz artists Chris Potter and Wycliffe Gordon.
Bert Ligon is a pianist, guitarist, composer and professor of music at the University of South Carolina. He has authored several definitive textbooks on jazz theory.
Reggie Sullivan, a bassist and vocalist, is the leader of the Reggie Sullivan Band, which is known in the South for high-energy performances and unique interpretations of pop, funk and jazz.
Drummer Ocie Davis is originally from New Orleans but relocated to Charlotte after Hurricane Katrina. He is the co-founder and artistic director of the Jazz Arts Initiative.
About the Diversity Series
Let's Talk About Race In America is a three-month series sponsored by the Greenwood County Library, The Friends of the Greenwood County Library System, the South Carolina Humanities Council, Lander University, Starz24 Josh Norman, GLEAMNS and Duke Energy, as well as through private donations.
For a full schedule of upcoming events, visit greenwoodcountylibrary.org/raceinamerica.htm.