Wednesday, January 24, 2018 Weekend concerts celebrate music by African American composers [Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 27 and 28 at 3 PM in East Palo Alto]

The hand on the left is that of LaDoris Cordell, and on the right, that of Josephine Gandolfi. The two women will be among the performers in "Out of the Blues: The Gift of Song." Photo by Laurie Naiman

Wed. Jan. 24, 2018

By Renee Batti

The musicians and guest artists of the African American Composer Initiative are set to deliver another rousing set of concerts next weekend celebrating the music of such legendary composers as Billy Strayhorn and Thelonius Monk as well as contemporary composers, performing works ranging from spirituals and jazz to original modern compositions and genre-blending arrangements.

The ninth annual benefit concerts, "Out of the Blues: The Gift of Song," will feature vocal and instrumental music dawn from "the traditions of spirituals, jazz, blues, popular, and concert music," says pianist Josephine Gandolfi of Menlo Park, who with Judge LaDoris Cordell and Deanne Tucker co-founded the African American Composer Initiative.

They will be performed on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 27 and 28, at 3 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center of Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto.

The AACI presents programs devoted to music by African American composers. In addition to Strayhorn and Monk, composers include William Grant Still and Florence Price, and contemporary composers Valerie Capers, Regina Baiocchi, Roxanna Wright, Andre Meyers, John Robinson, Charles Lloyd and Charles Brown. Music by some of the founders of the spirituals preservation movement, including Roland Hayes, Hal Johnson and Harry Burleigh, also will be performed, according to Ms. Gandolfi. 

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