Juneteenth is the June 19, 1865 date on which people in slavery in Texas were informed they had been granted freedom by the Emancipation Proclamation, two years after it was issued. Jazz musician Rufus Ferguson, with saxophonist Seth Ebersole and bassist John Hébert, will present a Juneteenth concert at 6:30 pm on Friday, June 19, streaming live on The Gilmore Keyboard Festival's website, Youtube channel, and Facebook page, in partnership with Public Media Network. The three will highlight the music of Black jazz musicians and composers.
In choosing music by Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Ferguson says they were "amazing writers, amazing composers of the music, and they highlighted a lot of the themes that African Americans go through in this country, even in our personal lives." When asked if being a musician and knowing how to work with music is helpful during times of upheaval, Ferguson says yes. "Music is a type of art form that really heals us, brings us together, and in this time that everything is going on -- George Floyd and police brutality, and racism in this country -- we're really using music, all forms of black music, to really heal ourselves as well as our communities."