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Milestone Negro Spirituals: When Folksongs Bring Freedom

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday and Black History Month, bassist Hilliard Greene presents “Milestone Negro Spirituals: When Folksongs Bring Freedom.” This performance/workshop in words and music brings to light the significance and beauty of the remarkable songs associated with the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century enslaved people of African descent in their efforts to escape to free states and Canada. These uniquely American heritage songs are recognized as a distinct musical genre. Hilliard Greene is acclaimed for composing and performing solo contrabass music. His tours have taken him throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Former musical director for vocalist Jimmy Scott and concert master for pianist Cecil Taylor, he is the leader of The Jazz Expressions. The music that will be featured today is based on the coded Negro spirituals that runaway slaves used to elude capture. Selections will include:

Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Wade In The Water
Deep River
Go Down Moses
Michael Row De Boat Ashore
I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray

This event will stream on the Jazz Foundation and Jazz Museum Facebook pages and the Museum YouTube Channel.


Feb 08 2024


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


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Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)



The National Jazz Museum in Harlem
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