Jazzmobile, ‘In White America,’ Wilbur Ware benefit

Ron Scott | 11/5/2015, 1:59 p.m.
Jazzmobile the nonprofit organization founded in the 1960s to bring live jazz to New York City communities, has moved indoors ...
L to R: Joanna Rhinehart, Shane Taylor, Art McFarland and Ezra Barnes in New Federal Theater's "In White America" Gerry Goodstein

“This production, unfortunately, has proven to be timeless,” said Toles. “But it is a good history lesson and humanizes some of our great Black heroes.”

After 50 years, “In White America” still plays like a John Coltrane tune, engaging you in the moment. You feel the heat in the crowded hall as Marcus Garvey speaks. During a narrative, you are moved to the bowels of a slave ship. The abuse is inhuman, and conditions are so abominable you want to regurgitate and kill the shipmate.

Such images bring to mind the campaign slogan of presidential candidate Donald Trump: “Make America Great Again.” Those “great” opportunities were missed such as after the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Movement. America’s first hideous sin was bringing Black people from Africa to enslave them. The second was attempting to annihilate Native Americans after stealing their land.

The slogan should be “Make America Great Through Equality, Compromise and Compassion.”

“In White America,” do what you have to do, but see it. For tickets, call 212-353-1176 or email newfederal@aol.com.

The late bassist Wilbur Ware (Sept. 8, 1923-Sept. 9, 1979), who was self-taught, never had to endure the sometimes-opinionated halls of music academia. Instead, he explored the bass with the intensity of a strong abandoned breeze. His often-noted unorthodox technique was just his creative style that led to his unique percussive sound.

Nov. 13 to 15, the Wilbur Ware Institute, the nonprofit organization named in his memory, will present its annual fundraiser at Cassandra’s Jazz Club and Gallery (2256 Seventh Ave. at 133rd Street).

The weekend kicks off with the pianist Donald Smith, the bassist Juini Booth, and the guitarist Pasquale Grasso. Special guests will include the trumpeter Wallace Roney, the pianist Roberta Piret and the young drummer Kojo Odu Roney (Wallace’s nephew, and at 11 years old, he is blazing).

Nov. 14 will feature the established musicians saxophonist George Coleman with the pianist Harold Mabern, special guests the pianist Bertha Hope and the vocalist Andy Bey. The Nov. 15 finale honors the bassist Bob Cranshaw with the Lifetime Achievement Award with performances by Dezron Douglas Quartet and special guests the trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and trombonist Steve Davis.

The Dwight Dickerson Trio will perform each night with the bassists Ron McClure and Lisle Atkinson, the drummer Greg Bandy and guests saxophonist TK Blue and trumpeter Michael C. Lewis.

For a complete listing, reservations and prices, call 347-523-9886 or visit wilburwareinstitute.org.