By Tracey Dee Rauh
Managing Editor of Features
---- — Jazz saxophonist and vocalist Lance Bryant and his band bring the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to life for the fourth year in a row in a performance at the Sahara Club in Methuen.
With his spirituality and uncompromising demand for change, King made an impact on America and eventually the entire world. His strong belief in the principles of his faith both informed and fueled King to press on through the struggle for civil rights.
King’s quest ended abruptly at 6:01 p.m., April 4, 1968, when he was struck down by a sniper’s bullet. James Earl Ray was convicted of the murder.
As King and his followers worked for their cause, jazz musicians of the time found their strength and voices of protest through their spiritual heritage. They took the traditional structures of their art form and transformed them into a new expression that is considered by many to be the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement.
The set-list at the Sahara Club will feature jazz arrangements of spirituals, as well as great classics of the jazz cannon from the 1950s and 1960s, musically speaking out for racial and social justice.
Led by Bryant, the band will feature renowned jazz artists including pianist George W Russell Jr., drummer Ron Savage, and bassist David Clark, with additional vocalists Brigette A. Bryant and Caylen Bryant.
Lance Bryant is the former musical director and arranger for the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. He has toured and recorded extensively with peers including Abdulah Ibrahim, Wallace Roney, Jon Hendricks and James Williams.
More recently, Bryant’s music has become a strategic blend of his gospel and jazz roots, culminating in his Christian Jazz recordings. He teaches, performs in jazz venues locally and is minister of music at Andover Baptist Church.
If You Go What: Lance Bryant and band's tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When: 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22. Where: The Sahara Club is located at 34 Bates St., Methuen. How: Tickets are $10.