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“Looks of a Lot,” the SCP Jazz commission by pianist Jason Moran and visual artist Theaster Gates featuring the Kenwood Academy Jazz Band, received a triumphant world premiere May 30 at Symphony Center.

Along with collaborators saxophonist Ken Vandermark, bassist/vocalist Katie Ernst and his group the Bandwagon, Mason and his crew created an unforgettable evening of music and community awareness. From Moran’s post on Facebook:

“Still reeling. I’m exhausted by amount of power exhibited last night’s premiere of LOOKS OF A LOT. We all meditated on the impact the city continues to have, in both lightness and darkness. The Kenwood Academy Jazz Band with Ken Vandermark brought a serious energy to the stage. Katie Ernst became an honorary member of The Bandwagon. Theaster Gates works were all across the stage, making the space feel like an old new home. A lot of glory was given. I broke down a few times during the performance, as I had not anticipated the weight of expressing any of these sonic feelings in front of an audience. It was too much for me to handle. Fortunately with the warm audience, it was as if we were all holding each other’s hands, to help us through each moment. Sending love to each of my collaborators, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for commissioning this work, the tireless stage/lighting/sound crew, and the audience (the village) that is looking to help change the future of Chicago. We all have a hand in this.

“What is that phrase, ‘BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.’

“I am forever transformed by my role as an artist.”

Click the gallery tab above to view Todd Rosenberg’s photos of the performance, and check out this video interview with Jason Moran.

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