Kris Monson, a bassist and composer now living in New York City, is a product of the rich Central Virginia jazz community. Kris studied with Pete Spaar and John D’earth while a double major in systems engineering and music at the University of Virginia. He continued his studies at the Manhattan School of Music where he recently received a Master's degree in Jazz Bass Performance.
For this one of a kind concert, Kris will present the Charlottesville premiere of his “Suite for Charlottesville,” a reflection on the August 2017 white supremacist uprising and violence. The suite is written for a seven-piece ensemble, and this concert will feature some of Monson’s close collaborators in New York City, along with Charlottesville musicians and mentors, John D’earth (trumpet) and Jamal Millner (guitar). The Suite has received acclaim from leaders in the music, including trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and pianist Phil Markowitz. Talking about the importance of the suite, Markowitz is emphatic: “Kris Monson depicts in his Charlottesville Suite the angst and moral outrage of this tragic event."
Monson says “the music in this suite is a reflection on our history and future as a community, presented via the great tradition of Black American Music.”
The music is organized into four movements that describe the physical and emotional settings before, during, and after the 2017 protest events. The 1st movement, (Robert E. Lee Park), is about the beloved city park where the protesters gathered, and the park’s namesake statue that served as a rallying cry for the protesters. The 2nd movement, The March, is a slow and painful reflection on the hatred that physically marched throughout the city. The 3rd movement, Shadows of the March, is an intimate duet between bass clarinet and double bass that represents two voices mourning the events of the protests, trying to understand what had happened and why. The final movement, Emancipation Park, brings us to the present day as we determine how to move forward from the realities of our history. The suite ends with one unison melody, signifying resilience and hope for the future.
Tickets to see the Kris Monson Ensemble perform Suite for Charlottesville are free, thanks to a grant from UVA Arts. They will be available on a first come, first served basis at the door. Doors will open at 7:15 pm for this 8:00 pm concert. Brooks Hall is located on the grounds of the University, next to the Rotunda. For more information visit cvillejazz.org, or call (434) 249-6191.