On a Memorial Day in 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, an encounter between a young black shoe shiner named Dick Rowland and a white elevator operator named Sarah Pagean incident that was reported with hazy details and shocking incompletenessstarted one of the most brutal and tragic race riots in American history. Even more tragic, however, was how little the event was discussed by national or even Oklahoman sources. It was an event that Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
's pedal steel guitarist Chris Combs, like many proud Oklahomans, felt needed to be told.
The result, Race Riot Suite (Kinnara, 2011), is a sweeping statement that finds an expanded JFJO exploring more stylistic territory than ever before, with the help of high-profile guests like trumpeter Steven Bernstein
Daniel Lehner spoke with Combs about the genesis of Race Riot Suite, and an even more ambitious project, Ludwig, that reimagines Ludwig van Beethoven's Third and Sixth Symphonies, and asserts that the 17th century classical composer's music is far more relevant today than most think.
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