Makanda Project Free Community Concerts

Throughout the year, VISIONS presents free jazz concerts by the acclaimed Boston-based jazz group The Makanda Project.  The concerts mostly take place in community-based settings in Roxbury, MA: the Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library, First Church in Roxbury, the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, and Bartlett Place.  There are additional events at public housing developments elsewhere in Boston.

The arts—and the community spirit achieved through these particular events—are an ideal vehicle for the principles that VISIONS represents. Presenting these concerts is another way that VISIONS is involved in the community where we work. The Makanda Project is a 13 piece ensemble formed in 2005 to play the previously unrecorded compositions of Makanda Ken McIntyre (1931-2001), a Roxbury native who was a significant yet under-recognized jazz innovator in a career that spanned over four decades. The Makanda Project includes several of Boston’s most accomplished jazz musicians. Many of the concerts also feature internationally renowned guest artists, as well as performances by community youth.  Some of the concerts also include a live painting activity facilitated by Massachusetts College of Art & Design’s sparc! the ArtMobile.


The Makanda Project will be performing three concerts at the Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library this spring.

On Saturday, February 25 we will reprise a program we did last spring.  Saxophonist Ricky Ford has written a series of compositions based on poems by Langston Hughes; we premiered them last May, with renowned poet and Roxbury community member Askia Toure reading the poems.  There was a very good response, and it seemed like it would be worth doing it again.  We’re adding a second voice on the poems, Vanessa Silva, this time.  As before, the horn section will be expanded from 10 to 14 to go with Ricky’s arrangements.

On Saturday, April 15 Chico Freeman will join us; he will play at the library for the first time after a few visits to the Bolling Building.  We’ve worked closely with Chico over the last few years, and we have arrangements of a couple of his especially intriguing compositions that we’ve never performed – those will be featured on April 15.

On Saturday, May 5, since the previous 2 concerts have been all Ricky’s and Chico’s music, we will do a concert just featuring compositions by Makanda Ken, McIntyre, which is what we originally formed the band to play.  We have a couple new, newly arranged ones that we’re working on, that will be heard in public for the first time.

All the events start at 7 pm and are free to the public.  Reservations will be recommended due to space constraints at the library.

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