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Ten Freedom Summers (4CD) [Box set]

Wadada Leo SmithAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Price: $26.19 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 22, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: CUNEIFORM
  • ASIN: B007JZFX9C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,717 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Dred Scott: 1857
2. Malik Al Shabazz and the People of the Shahada
3. Emmett Till: Defiant, Fearless
4. Thurgood Marshall and Brown vs. Board of Education: A Dream of Equal Education, 1954
5. John F. Kennedy's New Frontier and the Space Age, 1960
Disc: 2
1. Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 381Days
2. Black Church
3. Freedom Summer: Voter Registration, Acts of Compassion and Empowerment, 1964
4. Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society and the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Disc: 3
1. The Freedom Riders Ride
2. Medgar Evers: A Love-Voice of a Thousand Years Journey For Liberty and Justice
3. The D.C. Wall: A War Memorial For All Times
4. Buzzsaw: The Myth of a Free Press
5. The Little Rock Nine: A Force For Desegregation In Education, 1957
Disc: 4
1. America, Parts 1, 2 & 3
2. September 11th, 2001: A Memorial
3. Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, 1964
4. Democracy
5. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Memphis, the Prophecy

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Lauded as one of the most vital musicians on the planet by Coda, and "one of the most imaginative and explorative composers in creative music." by John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith is one of the most visionary, boldly original and artistically important figures in contemporary American Jazz and free music, and one of the most distinctive trumpet players of our time.

Spread out over four discs, Ten Freedom Summers is based on the Civil Rights Movement in the USA and Wadada Leo Smith has been working on it on and off for over 30 years. It features performances by his Golden Quartet/Quintet and a small chamber ensemble, including Anthony Davis, John Lindberg, Pheeroan AkLaaf, Susie Ibarra and others. Wadada's previous albums on Cuneiform have been extremely strong sellers and have received huge critical acclaim and strong radio play and Ten Freedom Summers is not only a truly remarkable recording, it is Wadada s piece de resistance of his musical accomplishments. Having recently turned 70 and more active now than anytime in his career, with Ten Freedom Summers , Wadada Leo Smith continues to point forward in his work.


Play any one of these 19 songs and you're confronted or seduced by gorgeous sound combinations. Ensembles break apart and re-form into audacious musical shapes that you'll remember like landmarks, even when the music's off. Smith's trumpet savors meditative dissonance along with strings and harp; his Golden Quartet or Quintet, sometimes featuring two drummers, races through passages of wild improvisation. The whole thing is impressive, yes, but also spellbinding, like the book you read for school that alters how you think about everything. --PopMatters Picks: The Best Music of 2012 : The 75 Best Albums of 2012

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal December 29, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Ten Freedom Summers is a collection of compositions mixing chamber orchestration provided by the ten-member Southwest Chamber Music ensemble and the cerebral avant-garde jazz we normally associate with WL Smith, provided by the familiar Golden Quartet. The tracks average about twelve minutes in length and range from five to over twenty minutes, spanning four discs.

This is the culmination of decades of work and is not simply an appendix to his more well-known works; the nineteen compositions here might be some of the most patiently and intricately-crafted of his career (or anybody's career), and I don't say 'patient' or 'intricate' lightly. In fact, in the few months I've been listening, I've yet to come close to wrapping my head around it because there's just so much happening within every track. The way it blends the now-well-known avant-garde jazz traditions with what is considered 'classical music' distances the album considerably from any familiar genre, although the jazzier sections owe a lot to Miles Davis's atmospheric style (In A Silent Way, Bitch's Brew).

Unlike most of jazz, the compositions here are more theatrical; enjoying them almost requires that you sit still and listen. It's therefore not easy to put it on a 'best-of-2012' list alongside names like Vijay Iyer. Despite its low-key release (like most of WL Smith's) and the fact that it was recorded in less time than the average lo-fi punk album (live, in 3 sessions), this could very well someday qualify as one of the most important recordings in modern music. If you're on the ropes about buying this, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Occupy Jazz/History July 25, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A monumental achievement. Very gratifying to see Wadada methodically delineate in his titles the direct revolutionary connection--a connection that always exists but is rarely made explicit--between the jazz avant-garde and the history of the (ongoing) struggle for social justice in America. It would be nice if this set included, say, a 60-page booklet that filled in this history in detail for those with little background in this area, but at under $24 for a four-disc set--which is even cheaper than the download, for some reason--this is not even a quibble. Hats off to Cuneiform, Wadada, and all the musicians for making this an eleventh freedom summer.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars songs for our nation October 20, 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
a friend walked in while TEN FREEDOM SUMMERS was playing. she groaned that the music sounded like something composed for tolstoi. i couldn't argue with her. this collection is stony, monumental. elegiac fanfares, some complete, others extend into more improvisational pieces. the spaces between smith's spare notes are filled with drumming that picks up from where the sound of the trumpet fades into oblivion. the drumming is full and bombastic.

there are four cds, a total of nineteen songs, seven of the selections are performed by a chamber ensemble, the southwest chamber music, with the occasional accompaniment from one of the members of smith's golden quintet.

the quintet is comprised of smith on trumpet, anthony davis on piano, john lindberg on bass, susan ibarra and pheeroan aklaff share drum duty, solo work by them is listed in the notes on the lineup.

it's no secret that a great deal of the music that came out of the 1970s jazz scene around aacm, sounds like military music played predominantly for military and state funerals. TEN FREEDOM SUMMERS follows as part of that tradition. and in the tradition of oliver nelson's THE KENNEDY DREAM and ornette coleman's SKIES OF AMERICA, TEN FREEDOM SUMMERS combines jazz and european concert music as tribute to moments and persons who stood out in the history of the united states.

TEN FREEDOM SUMMERS is not a suite, with all nineteen pieces functioning as parts of a single composition, however, there is plenty of music so that various arrangements create different listening experiences, such as listening to the chamber music pieces together in a sitting.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Realization of a Concept December 11, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Wadada Leo Smith has been very active in recording recently and this is the realization of a long-term project. He goes back and forth between performing with a small group (Golden Quartet/Quintet) and a contemporary classical group (and both). This reasonably priced four disc set is full of challenging music for the listener that probably should be enjoyed one disc at a time rather than a marathon listening session. Despite the quality of the set, anybody unfamiliar with Smith should probably investigate his earlier small group recordings to determine if this would be to their liking.
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