Black History Month celebrated in style

Volume 124, No. 3March, 2024

Martha Hyde

There was a festive air in the club room at Local 802 on Monday, February 12. 802 Jazz Night and the DECIBAL Collective teamed up to present a celebration of Black History Month.

Longtime 802 member and jazz cellist Akua Dixon was the keynote speaker and related her experiences as a Black string player and entrepreneurial band leader over the decades of her career. Poet Tracie Morris held the audience spellbound with performances of her poetry that made use of unusual vocalizations and evoked “Double Dutch” hopscotch rhymes.

The final act was legendary bassist and singer Bakithi Kumalo, well known from his performance on Paul Simon’s “Graceland” project. He told stories of growing up in apartheid South Africa in the township of Soweto, and played and sang in some of the many South African languages. His trio was rounded out by pianist and composer Miho Nabuzane (whose compositions were featured in the set) along with 802 member and veteran drummer Ray Marchica.

Photos by Martha Hyde and John Pietaro (click on any photo for larger version)