Christopher Parker & Kelley Hurt: No Tears Suite (Mahakala Music, 2020)

January 21, 2021 at 7:34 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Christopher Parker & Kelley Hurt: No Tears Suite

Composed by pianist Christopher Parker and lyricist Kelley Hurt, No Tears Suite was written about the Little Rock Nine and the battle for desegregation in public schools during the 1950s. Musically, it’s gorgeous, flowing jazz with spoken narration telling the story on the opening overture. “To Be a Kid” is a truly joyous instrumental piece, meant to express the wonders of childhood. “Roll Call (Canon)” is a more somber piece with another monologue, but one with a positive outcome, as it details the successful lives of the Little Rock Nine. “Don’t Cry (Warrior’s Song)” is much more swinging, and Hurt sings a few bold, encouraging verses. “Crisis” is a brief free jazz interlude, and “Jubilate” is a triumphant conclusion. Even though this album is about a very serious subject and a particularly turbulent chapter of American history, it’s ultimately a story full of hope, and the music is appropriately strong and uplifting.

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