Central Park Five, 2022

Three years ago, I posted here about playing in the premieres of Central Park Five, the brilliant and moving opera by Anthony Davis. I am fortunate to have studied with Anthony in the ’90s and as I wrote in that tribute, Anthony deepened my understanding of Duke Ellington’s music (among so many other topics) by showing how Ellington’s way of writing for the improvisers in his orchestra was “operatic.” In more recent years, I’ve enjoyed collaborating with Anthony, including some concerts with him and Mark Dresser in which we performed an instrumental trio suite of music from CP5. Last year, it was also fantastic to see Anthony get some long-overdue recognition for his work including the Pulitzer Prize for CP5, which has led to a string of new productions of his operas. Among them are two new Central Park Five performances this month by Long Beach Opera. It’s a joy and privilege to be involved with this incredible music again, as one of the improviser-performers in the orchestra. The musicians and cast all sound fantastic, and after the performances, we’ll also be making a studio recording.