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Philly Jazz Project We Shall 2019
Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In 2019 and 2020, the Museum hosted the Philadelphia Jazz Project over Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend to honor the life, service, and legacy of Dr. King with the performance of We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration. The engaging intermingling of spoken word, singing, and instrumental music pays tribute to one of America’s greatest citizens and thinkers, Dr. King.

However, as we are unable to welcome them in-person this year, the Philadelphia Jazz Project, in collaboration with the Museum and PhillyCAM, has developed a remarkable virtual experience pulling together video footage from the two concerts, as well as commentary from the performers and other contributors, all to take a look at Dr. King’s enduring impact on the struggle for human rights and ongoing American Revolution.

We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration is a different approach to the MLK presentation. It is an affirmation and a statement that emerges out of the will for self-determination. We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration is a combination of poetry, song, and improvisation. It is a faith song, a praise song, a fight song, a love song.  

Please enjoy We Shall Continue.

The We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration performances utilize brief excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches and sermons as inspiration and a combination of gospel, jazz, and blues music to explore the inner workings of a mind and body in struggle. The participating performers include:

  • Kareem Idris - poetry/recitation
  • Toby VEnT Martin - vocals
  • V. Shayne Frederick - vocals
  • James Solomon - vocals
  • Kendrah Butler-Waters - piano & vocals
  • Jocko McNelly - bass & guitar
  • Kimpedro Rodriguez - drums

Additional interviewees include:

  • Adrienne Whaley - Museum of the American Revolution
  • Homer Jackson - Philadelphia Jazz Project
  • Dr. Dianne D. Turner - Historian
  • Kenneth AbdusSalaam - Civil Rights Activist
  • Eric Battle - MLK Illustrator

We Shall Continue: Celebrating MLK Weekend with Philly Jazz Project was released as part of the Museum's on-site and online programming honor the life, service, and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. over MLK Weekend.

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