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Tyrone Birkett

Tyrone Birkett

SAXOPHONE

Saxophonist Tyrone Birkett has synthesized his early mentorship by jazz legends Frank Foster and Budd Johnson, years toiling in black church sanctuaries, and soul-jazz into a distinctive fusion. An outsider artist not common to the jazz scene, he has nonetheless developed powerful & inventive improvisations with his own idiosyncratic melodic sense. As conceptualist and composer, with his ensemble Tyrone Birkett Emancipation, he is currently working on a project that synthesizes jazz language, black church music, and soul music into a concept called Postmodern Spirituals. A re-imagining of the Negro Spiritual in a contemporary context, it is an artistic form purposed to bring the hope and resilience of the freedom song into the 21st century. This project has been presented in the United States and abroad and has supported work by cultural leaders such as MacArthur Fellow, actress, playwright, and professor Anna Deavere Smith and author Nikki Giovanni. Musical contributions were made to the movie “Proud” starring renowned actor Ossie Davis in his last film performance. He is a recipient of the BRIO Award in Instrumental Music from the Bronx Council on the Arts, and a Puffin Foundation Grant for the compositionThe Seven Star Suite.” Birkett has developed two music/dance/spoken word/video collaborative works, the first entitled “Those Whose Backs Are Against the Wall is based on the work of theologian & mystic Howard Thurman. Secondly, “Tragic Beauty,Terrible Beauty” is based on the book by Dr. James H. Cone “The Cross and The Lynching Tree.”