Winard Harper

COEXIST. "Everything builds on what is around as the values and traditions are passed down. From the African roots to today, many ingredients have been thrown into the pot...that includes the ground laid by the medicine men and messengers before us. Coexist speaks to these complex economic and social times. Tracks like 'Ummah' ("Community") and 'Amazing Grace' highlight the communal and the spiritual, " says Harper. (The hymn "Amazing Grace" was written by John Newton, a British slave-trader that underwent a religious conversion and sought Forgiveness for previous deeds.) For the past couple of decades, many jazz performers talk about "the tradition" and idealize what has been—Winard Harper knows the tradition is about learning from the past, living in the present, and reaching to the future.

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