Frost Amphitheater



Jaz Sawyer Ensemble ft. Jazzmeia Horn
We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite
Friday, November 12, 2021
7:00 PM | Bing Studio



Jaz Sawyer, drums
Jazzmeia Horn, lead vocals 
Tongo Eisen–Martin, word spoken
Howard Wiley, tenor sax 
Geechi Taylor, trumpet/background vox/percussion
Ajayi Jackson, bassoon/congas/percussion
David Ewell, bass




Introduction      Freedom, Then and Now      

Duet                  Jaz Sawyer, Tongo Eisen-Martin                                                        

Quartet             Jaz Sawyer Quartet ft. Tongo Eisen-Martin

Ensemble          Max Roach's We Insist! Freedom Now Suite:             
                         Part 1 - Driva Man  (Roach, Brown)                                         
                         Part 2 - Freedom Day (Roach, Brown)                        
                         Part 3 - Triptych: Prayer/Protest/Peace (Roach)
                         Part 4 - All Africa (Roach, Brown)
                         Part 5 - Tears for Johannesburg (Roach)


Generously supported by the Koret Foundation

Season Sponsor: 


PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones, pagers, and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.

HEALTH AND SAFETY: All patrons are required to wear a mask at this performance. 


About the Program

Jaz Sawyer and Jazzmeia Horn perform Max Roach's We Insist! Freedom Now Suite in its entirety. NEA Jazz Master Abbey Lincoln, a frequent collaborator and subsequent wife of Roach at the time, was featured along with lyricist Oscar Brown Jr. who wrote songs for the album that played variations on the theme of the struggle for African Americans to achieve equality in the United States. 

Released on Candid Records in 1960, this monumental recording contains a suite which composer and drummer Max Roach and lyricist Oscar Brown had begun to develop in 1959 with a view to its performance in 1963 on the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. The music consists of five selections concerning the Emancipation Proclamation and the growing African independence movements of the 1950s.

About the Artists

Jaz Sawyer 
Dr. Jaz Sawyer (with one “Z”) began playing drums at age of 2 in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco, California. Several of Jaz's early mentors and teachers include Eddie Marshall, John Santos, Donald Bailey, Michael Sipro, Ed Kelly, Mondre Moffatt and Raymond Froehlich (SF Symphony). Jaz's musical studies have taken him through music programs at the Ruth Asawa School of The Arts, SF Conservatory of Music, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Michael Carvin School of Drumming, and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Dr. Sawyer possesses an eclectic and refined personal style of drumming that stems from his deep roots in his classical, jazz, West-African, and Afro-Caribbean musical training. Jaz has worked with many notable artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Abbey Lincoln, George Benson, Bobby Hutcherson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Randy Weston, and Phil Lesh & Friends in some of the world’s premier concert venues, including The Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and the Sydney Opera House.

Jaz has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (The New School/Mannes College), a Master of Public Administration & Public Policy degree (Metropolitan College of New York), and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (Northcentral University). Dr. Sawyer is actively involved with music education in communities within the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Sawyer's latest EP project ONE DAY released in August 2021 and features San Francisco's 8th Poet Laureate, the very gifted Tonga Eisen-Martin who is featured in this evening's program.

Jazzmeia Horn
NAACP Winner and 2x Grammy Nominee Jazzmeia Horn was blessed with a fitting name for her chosen path. Horn’s jazz-loving, piano-playing grandmother chose the name “Jazzmeia.” Born in in 1991, Horn grew up in the soulful city of Dallas with a tightly knit, church-going family filled with musical talent and began singing as a toddler. Jazzmeia attended Booker T. Washington High School for Performing and Visual Arts, known for launching such musical greats as Roy Hargrove, Norah Jones, and Erykah Badu, then later attended The New School in New York City.

Horn’s education included steering herself to the mentors who would guide her passion for jazz, like Bobby McFerrin, Abbey Lincoln, and Betty Carter. Winner of the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition and the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition, Jazzmeia was signed to Concord Records and released her debut album A Social Call to great critical acclaim. In the two years since Jazzmeia Horn bowed with her first album, the GRAMMY Award®-nominated A Social Call, she’s been busy on the road, honing her vocal skills to a finely tuned level, writing songs of personal relevance and social message, and perfecting a fearless approach to improvisation and performance in general.

Jazzmeia’s second GRAMMY Award® nomination, Love and Liberation is filled with songs of daring musicality, emotional power, and messages of immediate relevancy. The concept of this album aligns with her mantra to use consistently in her everyday life through the act of love and liberation by choosing to liberate—oneself or another. Jazzmeia’s New album Dear Love is an ambitious and exhilarating project that is one of the first times a Black female vocalist has written and fronted a big band album in its entirety with the addition of strings. Jazzmeia begins touring the new album in December 2021.




Upcoming Events

Jaz Sawyer Ensemble ft. Kim Nalley
The Message Forward Suite – The World Premiere 
Sat, Nov 13 at 7:00 PM | Bing Studio




Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth
A new work by Kyle Abraham and Jlin | A.I.M
Sat, Dec 4 at 7:30 PM | Memorial Auditorium






Generously supported by the Koret Foundation

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