Piedmont Blues is a live concert presentation led by celebrated jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Gerald Clayton that explores the essence and impact of the Piedmont blues. The project features The Assembly — a nine-piece band led by Clayton and including vocalist René Marie and tap dancer Maurice Chestnut.
The presentation has been conceived and developed by Clayton working in close collaboration with award-winning theater director Christopher McElroen.
Using songs, lyrics, and imagery from the Piedmont blues, Piedmont Blues makes a testimony of the struggle endured by African Americans in the Southeast during
Jim Crow and chronicles the efficacy of the Piedmont Blues as a salve for suffering.
“My aim with this project is to capture the arc of African American pain and triumph through the expression of the Piedmont blues, to both illustrate the artistry specific to the Piedmont tradition and also to dig beneath the surface of the music to understand the core of the compositions and the struggle to overcome oppression, poverty, and pain.”