Jazz keyboardist and composer Doug Carn and his Black Jazz Legacy Band are coming home to Harlem.
Carn and the Black Jazz Legacy Band will be performing the music that made him famous more than 30 years ago on April 17 and 18th at the historic Lenox Lounge in Harlem, NY.
In the 70’s, Carn recorded several albums on the independent Black Jazz record label. He was most well known for scripting lyrics to jazz classics including “Infant Eyes”, “Little B’s Poem” and “Peace” that have subsequently been recorded by jazz notables Bobby McFerrin, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Nneena Freelon. “My music was kind of an underground thing, very nouveau and progressive,” says Carn. “It was not only about being black when black was first considered beautiful—it was about optimism, peace, love and spirituality. That music is just as relevant today. When the status quo goes down, the underground comes up.”
Through the years Carn, who lives in St. Augustine, Florida, reinvented himself as an artist several times. His most recent efforts have included doing gigs with his Big Band, introducing his “alter-ego” hip hop rapper Zing Bop, as well as writing and producing a two-act play based on the Fats Waller-Al Capone connection. His Black Jazz recordings, however, have always had a strong following and Carn feels the time is right to resurrect that music.
“Over time, the beauty and value of this music have survived,” he says. “In the 90’s it was reissued on compact disc in Europe and Japan where it was really popular. Many fans have never heard the music performed live. I’m always amazed that people still ask me to play ‘Revelation’ whenever I’m doing a gig at a festival or club.”
Performing with Carn in the Zebra Room of Harlem’s historic Lenox Lounge will be George Harper, Jr. on tenor sax, Michael Carvin on drums, and Andy McCloud on bass. Harper and Carvin played with Carn on the original Black Jazz recordings. Kathy Farmer will be the vocalist. “My music is hard to sing,” Doug says, “but this lady nails it! She inspires me. She’s been singing my stuff all over Europe for 15 years and people love it, but most folks over here don’t know it…yet.”
The Lenox Lounge performance on April 17 – 18 is the first stop on the Black Jazz Legacy Band’s US tour. After their debut shows, Carn's group will also be performing in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.