Music for Abolition

Music for Abolition, directed and curated by Terri Lyne Carrington, brings together musicians across a variety of genres to create a soundtrack—and provide a heartbeat—to our shared struggle for abolition. Expressing grief, rage, exhaustion, and resolution in the face of the U.S. history of racism and oppression, the music resonates with calls of freedom.

Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science
Pray

Us n’ We

Us n’ We

Composed, performed and filmed by Terri Lyne Carrington and Lisa Fischer
Edited by “Yo V” (Vilho Louhivuori)

Us n' We examines the issues of isolation, mental illness, grieving, profiling, spiritual well being, love, freedom... and their relationship to incarceration.


Sleepwalkers

Sleepwalkers

Composed by Kris Davis
Performed by Kris Davis, piano
Val Jeanty, electronic percussion,
Lily Finnegan, spoken narration
Terri Lyne Carrington, sound design/production
“Yo V” (Vilho Louhivuori), video editing

Sleepwalkers act in mindlessness, prison guards enforce. How do we imagine a society that breaks away from what we are told is possible? Free of sleepwalkers and prison guards? Imagination is a key element of abolition. This piece was inspired by the words of Robin D.G. Kelley and Jackie Wang, both of whom are quoted.


Can You Imagine

Can You Imagine

Lyrics by Maimouna Yousef aka “Mumu Fresh”
Poetry and Music Production Queen Cora Coleman
Mastered by Carlos Garza
Mumu Fresh is filmed by Anshia Crooms
Queen Cora is filmed by Sudari Scott

Can You Imagine is a collaborative work between Mumu Fresh and Queen Cora that shares an in depth journey of a young boy who fell victim to the highest expression of insecurity through white Supremecy. This young man later becomes the father of Mumu Fresh. Can You Imagine, a piece that shares the hope of new perspective, goes on to encapsulate the vision of life, through poetry, without the need for bondage and incarceration because LOVE and IMAGINA serve as the primary expression of human engagement.


Freedom Is No Fear

Freedom Is No Fear

Nicholas Payton: video directing, video editing, trumpet, keyboards, bass
Sasha Masakowski: looper, drum machine
Rob Davis: live music video director
Sarah Rochis: live music camera
Antoine Staib: visual effects
Andrew Block: sound engineer

As a Black American, when I think about abolition, my mind immediately goes to music as being the first means of crafting our liberation, post-colonization. When we were not allowed to speak our native tongues, we created a new language in the Blues. In this piece, we use sound and visuals as a means of recalling a lineage in which our traumas are not commodified for entertainment or media fodder. We use repetition to help break through the mental fog of false constructs like racism and sexism. Throughout the composition, our ancestor Nina Simone is heard reminding us that freedom is no fear. To me, abolition is more than just visualizing a future in which we are free, but that freedom is now and it starts in the mind.


ONLY THE SHADOW KNOWS (HONEY) / RIOT

ONLY THE SHADOW KNOWS (HONEY) / RIOT

Jason Moran - Pianist/Composer
Kyle Abraham - Choreographer
Claude “CJ" Johnson - Dancer
Ashli Bickford - Camera
Dan Scully - Additional Film Editing
Filmed at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park
Archival Footage of Newark Riots of 1967

This piece aims to highlight the pace at which abolition occurs. It lasts longer than a moment, more than a lifetime, spanning generations of seekers. The choreographer Kyle Abraham puts the moving body in front of us, because it is the most important part of actualizing our vision of abolition. The body changes shape, struggling to set a tempo for a “movement.” Frederick Douglass does this by also frequently posing in front of a camera. These images become chapters. By documenting his existence, he becomes the most photographed man of his time, verifying his body and mind. The dance verifies the body in the moment, responding to the sound. When we feel we are static, much energy is stirring for the next gesture, to give the smoke a shadow.


Comfort Food

Comfort Food

As a society we have been conditioned to be creatures of comfort. We artificially sweeten inconvenient truths to make us feel good. We hold onto lies to make us feel right. Imagine a society where we all feast on love and nurture each other in a way that uplifts every individual's inner light.

Composed, recorded, & shot by - Malcolm-Jamal Warner
Edited by - Nathan Anderson


You Ought To Be Ashamed/Expanse

Some of us have been dreaming of
Expanse
Some of us have been slowly making plans
Expanse
A place where we can stretch our toes
Expanse
The kind of vastness where a body doesn’t know
Which way to go

You Ought To Be Ashamed - music and lyrics by Porter Grainger
Expanse - music and lyrics by Cécile McLorin Salvant
Voice, piano, animation, editing by Cécile McLorin Salvant
4 Photographs courtesy of Library of Congress free to use and reuse sets

Abolition Think Tank

Abolition think tank is a shared exploration of concrete steps needed to move past our present punitive culture, led by three incarceration veterans, Sadiq Davis, Richard Garland and James Badue-El, who actively work to facilitate positive societal re-entry for others.

Film, Music and Editing by Nicole Mitchell Gantt
Spoken Word by Sadiq Davis, Richard Garland and James Badue-El
Photographs by Chris Benson, Library of Congress, Eye for Ebony, Nicole Mitchell Gantt, Unseen Histories, Trust Tru Katsan, Kayle Kaupange, Glodi Miessi, Humphrey Mule, Andrae Ricketts, Jon Tyson

Blind Emotions

Blind Emotions is an original composition inspired by my teaching artist work at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, NY. Through this work I have learned more about myself and the creative process than ever before, and have also clearly seen the way in which music can humanize any and every experience, even in those settings that attempt to dehumanize the most. Blind Emotions is dedicated to all the artists on the inside who I have learned from and grown with. It is a testament to the possibilities in each of us to look beyond our own inherent bias, to see all human beings as deserving of true restorative justice and to consider all of the intersectional societal factors at play in any given situation. It is a call for us to reimagine our carceral spaces and expand our imaginations.

Written, performed and edited by Sarah Elizabeth Charles
Filmed by Sarah Elizabeth Charles & Inner World Films

Musicians

Portrait of Terri Lyne Carrington

Three-time GRAMMY® award-winning drummer, producer, educator and activist, Terri Lyne Carrington started her professional career as a “kid wonder” while studying under a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music in Boston. In the mid '80’s she worked as an in-demand drummer in New York before gaining national recognition on late night TV as the house drummer for both the Arsenio Hall Show and Quincy Jones’ VIBE TV show.

In 1989, Ms. Carrington released a GRAMMY®-nominated debut CD on Verve Forecast, Real Life Story, and toured extensively with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, among others. In 2011 she released the GRAMMY®Award-winning album, The Mosaic Project, featuring a cast of all-star women instrumentalists and vocalists, and in 2013 she released Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, which also earned a GRAMMY®Award, establishing her as the first woman ever to win in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category.

To date Ms. Carrington has performed on over 100 recordings and has worked extensively with luminary artists such as Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, Clark Terry, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, James Moody, Yellowjackets, Esperanza Spalding, and many more. Additionally, Ms. Carrington is an honorary doctorate recipient from Berklee, and currently serves as Founder and Artistic Director for the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.

In 2019 Ms. Carrington was granted the Doris Duke Artist Award, a prestigious acknowledgement in recognition of her past and ongoing contributions to jazz music. Her current band project, Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science (a collaboration with Aaron Parks and Matthew Stevens), released their debut album, Waiting Game, in November, 2019 on Motema Music.


Portrait of Lisa Fischer

Lisa Fischer is a two-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter with a distinguished career as a first-call background singer who has toured with Luther Vandross, The Rolling Stones, Sting, Tina Turner, Nine Inch Nails, and countless others.

Lisa earned her first Grammy Award as a solo artist in the Best R&B Performance category for the single, “How Can I Ease the Pain.”

She is featured on seminal projects by Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma, Billy Child, has collaborated with the Alonzo LINES Ballet, and has a lead role in the Oscar-winning documentary "20 Feet From Stardom."


Portrait of Kris Davis

Pianist-composer Kris Davis was voted pianist of the year in the 2020 Downbeat Critics Poll and in the 2019 Jazz Times Critics Poll. She won both composer and pianist of the year in 2020 by the Jazz Journalists Association. The New York Times dubbed her as one of the music’s top up-and-comers saying: “One method for deciding where to hear jazz on a given night has been to track down the pianist Kris Davis.” To date, Davis has released twelve recordings as a leader. Her newest release Diatom Ribbons was voted number jazz album of 2019 by The New York Times and NPR among others. Davis works as a collaborator and side person with artists such as John Zorn, Terri Lyne Carrington, Craig Taborn, Tyshawn Sorey, Eric Revis, Johnathan Blake, Michael Formanek, Tony Malaby, Ingrid Laubrock, Mary Halvorson and Tom Rainey. Davis received a Doris Duke Impact award in 2015 and multiple commissions to compose new works from The Shifting Foundation, The Jazz Gallery/Jerome Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts.

She is currently the Associate Director for the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and runs her own music label, Pyroclastic Records.


Portrait of Val Jeanty

Haitian electronic music composer/percussionist/turntablist, Val Jeanty evokes the musical esoteric realms of the creative subconscious. She incorporates her African Haitian Musical traditions into the present and beyond, combining acoustics with electronics and the archaic with the post-modern. Her "Afro-Electronica" installations have been showcased in New York City at the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Village Vanguard and internationally at SaalFelden Music Festival in Austria, Stanser Musiktage in Switzerland, Jazz à la Villette in France, and the Biennale Di Venezia Museum in Italy. She currently teaches at Berklee college of Music.


Portrait of Lily Finnegan

Lily Finnegan strives to push boundaries and not adhere to labels. For her, music is about imagination and envisioning the world she wants to live in. Through growing up in a music loving household, drums became her focus and main vehicle of expression. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2020, where she majored in Jazz Performance and Sociology. Now she is part of the Masters program at the Global Jazz Institute through Berklee College of Music. She has played with a variety of musicians and bands spanning many styles, such as free improvisation, jazz, punk and experimental music.


Portrait of Queen Cora Coleman

Cora C. Coleman, better known as “Queen Cora”, is an author, producer, business owner, and international drummer. Her showmanship is recognized as inspiring, passionate and explosive. Throughout her music career, she has performed in 40 countries, before hundreds of thousands of attendees and millions of viewers. In addition to her 5-year tenure with Prince and 3-year tenure with Beyoncé, she is the only musician to play in 2 of the United States NFL’s Top 10 Best Super Bowl Half-Time Shows with both artists. Queen Cora graduated valedictorian of Kashmere High School (Houston, Texas, USA) and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Music Performance at Howard University in Washington, D.C., USA.


Portrait of Queen Maimouna Youssef

Maimouna Youssef, also known as Mumu Fresh, is a Grammy-nominated singer, MC, songwriter, activist, and hip-hop artist. In 2018, Youssef was awarded the post of Musical Ambassador for the United States and traveled to Central America to support the rights of young women. Her stage shows have been described as unique and spiritual experiences, captivating audiences in world-famous venues such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and many more.


Portrait of Nicholas Payton

As a leading voice in American popular music, the Grammy Award-winning Nicholas Payton is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, producer, arranger, essayist, and social activist who defies musical and artistic categories. All the while, he honors the tradition of what he terms “postmodern New Orleans music,” as well as the spirit of Black American Music, of which he states, “There are no fields, per se. There are lineages.” Payton has released over 20 recordings as a leader, pushing musical boundaries and showcasing a variety of contemporary and traditional styles, while displaying his ambidextrous ability to play both the trumpet and keyboard at the same time when he’s inspired to do so. He has collaborated with numerous mentors and contemporaries alike, ranging from Common and Cassandra Wilson to Trey Anastasio, MonoNeon, and Jill Scott, to Dr. John, Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste of The Meters, Allen Toussaint, and Abbey Lincoln to name a few. His most recent albums are Quarantined with Nick and Maestro Rhythm King, both released in 2020. In addition to Payton’s work as a performer, he is an equally respected composer, having written The Black American Symphony an orchestral work, which the Czech National Symphony Orchestra commissioned and performed. As a leader, Payton's seminal writings and discussions on the problematics of the term and associations of "jazz" have inspired musicians, researchers, music listeners, and thinkers alike.


Portrait of Jason Moran

Jazz pianist, composer, and artist Jason Moran is the Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center, has recorded 16 solo albums, and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010. His trio The Bandwagon has produced a profound discography for Blue Note Records and Yes Records; a label he co-owns. He has collaborated with major art world figures as Adrian Piper, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker and many more. His touring exhibition JASON MORAN, began at the Walker Art Center and continued to the Wexner Center and Whitney Museum. Moran has composed scores for Alonzo King's Lines Ballet Company, Ronald K. Brown's Evidence Dance Company, Ava Duvernay's Selma, The 13th, and both stage and HBO film adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me.


Portrait of Kyle Abraham

Kyle Abraham is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and 2016 Doris Duke recipient, who has recently featured in The Oprah Magazine, Kinfolk, and Vogue Italia, 2018 Princess Grace Statue Award recipient and Lincoln Center Education Artist in Residence. Mr Abraham is the founding Artistic Director of A.I.M, an American contemporary dance company, created in honor of his history, experiences and artistic interests. In addition to performing and developing new works for A.I.M in 2019, he also choreographed and premiered The Bystander for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Only The Lonely for Paul Taylor American Modern Dance Company and Ash, a new solo work for American Ballet Theater principal, Misty Copeland to rave reviews.


Portrait of Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Malcolm-Jamal Warner is a well-respected Emmy-nominated actor, Grammy-Award winning poet, musician, and activist. Though most known for his iconic role on the celebrated "The Cosby Show," Malcolm successfully navigated his way through teen stardom to become known in the entertainment business for not only his seasoned acting talents, but also his accomplishments on the music, directing, and producing fronts, making him one of the most accomplished talents in the industry today. A staple on the stage, television, and film for over 30 years, and now on his 10th television series, "The Resident," (on Fox/HULU), Malcolm has been able to gracefully sustain longevity in an industry fraught with uncertainty and instability


Portrait of Cécile McLorin Salvant

Cécile McLorin Salvant, is a composer, singer, and visual artist. Salvant has a passion for storytelling and finding connections between vaudeville, blues, folk traditions from around the world, theater, jazz, and baroque music. Salvant won the Thelonious Monk competition in 2010, has received Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album for her 3 latest albums, “The Window”, “Dreams and Daggers”, and “For One To Love”. In 2020, Salvant received the MacArthur fellowship and the Doris Duke Artist Award. Salvant’s latest work, Ogresse, is a musical fable in the form of a cantata that blends genres (folk, baroque, jazz, country) and is development to become an animated feature-length film, which Salvant will direct. Salvant also makes large-scale textile drawings which can now be found at Picture Room in Brooklyn, NY.


Portrait of Nicole Mitchell

Nicole Mitchell is an award-winning flutist, composer, bandleader, and educator whose research centers on the legacy of contemporary African American culture. Mitchell served as the first women president of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Mitchell has repeatedly been awarded #1 Jazz Flutist by Downbeat magazine and the Jazz Journalists Association from 2010-2020 Mitchell’s critically acclaimed Black Earth Ensemble (BEE) has been her primary compositional laboratory, with which she has performed internationally. She has composed works for the French Ministry of Culture, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Newport Jazz Festival, to name a few. Mitchell is a professor of music, the William S. Dietrich II Endowed Chair in Jazz Studies and the Director of Jazz Studies at University of Pittsburgh.


Portrait of Sarah Elizabeth Charles

Sarah Elizabeth Charles is a vocalist based in New York City. She works with artists such as Christian Scott and Sheila Jordan, and has released three critically acclaimed albums with her band, SCOPE. Charles has performed at venues including The White House and Carnegie Hall, and had a commissioned composition performed at The National Gallery in Washington D.C. Charles teaches at Carnegie Hall’s Sing Sing Correctional Facility and has developed a music education program with Rise2Shine, a non-profit organization based in Fond Parisien, Haiti. She is the recipient of Yale School of Music's Distinguished Teaching Artist Award, the New York City Women's Fund grant, and more. One can only look to the future for more unique music from this one of a kind artist.