Produced in association with the american vicarious, Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation is a live mixed media concert led by celebrated jazz pianist / composer / bandleader Gerald Clayton and directed by Christopher McElroen that explores the essence and impact of the Piedmont blues. The project features The Assembly — a nine-piece band led by Clayton and including GRAMMY-nominated vocalist René Marie.
Entwined throughout the live concert is an assemblage of projected film, new and archival photography, and folklore underscoring the verdant cultural landscape of the Piedmont region. Included amongst the footage are performances by some of the last of the living original Piedmont blues musicians: NEA National Heritage Fellow bluesman John Dee Holeman, as well as Piedmont songsters Algia Mae Hinton and Boo Hanks (the latter passed in April 2016).
Using songs, lyrics, and imagery from the Piedmont blues, Piedmont Blues makes a testimony of the struggle endured by African Americans in the Southeast during Jim Crow and chronicles the efficacy of the Piedmont Blues as a salve for suffering.
Duke Performances | Duke University was the lead commissioner of Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation; co-commissioners include the Music Center at Strathmore, the Savannah Music Festival, and the Modlin Center for the Arts at University of Richmond.