EJI Director Bryan Stevenson and Wynton Marsalis Team Up for New Recording


We’re excited to share that Freedom, Justice, and Hope performed by jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra along with EJI director Bryan Stevenson is now available on CD and digital streaming platforms.

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Blue Engine Records announced today its release of Freedom, Justice, and Hope, the live recording of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s multidisciplinary concert that contextualizes jazz within Black Americans’ pursuit of equality.

Featuring Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in creative collaboration with social justice activist and EJI founder Bryan Stevenson, the recording features new arrangements of some of the most important protest songs in jazz history and new works by featured guest artists and composers Endea Owens and Josh Evans.

Exclusively on Freedom, Justice, and Hope, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performs new arrangements of revered jazz songs: “Honeysuckle Rose,” composed by Fats Waller (1929); “We Shall Overcome” (1947) “Freedom Suite,” composed by Sonny Rollins (1958); and “Alabama,” composed by John Coltrane (1963).

These songs are intermixed with Mr. Stevenson’s stirring monologues, which provide compelling commentary on American terrorism, disenfranchisement, and racial injustice while highlighting the history of fearless activism and incredible artistic creativity that defined the Civil Rights Movement. Freedom, Justice, and Hope also features Mr. Stevenson, an accomplished pianist, joining the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on “Honeysuckle Rose” and “We Shall Overcome.”

“Art and music have always been essential forces in the pursuit of justice in America. When Wynton reached out about doing this project, I believed we could really reinforce the idea that, together, art and music—especially jazz music—play a critical role in meaningfully engaging people in the multiple ways that the struggle for racial justice in America must continue,” said Mr. Stevenson. “Premiering music by emerging composers—including Josh Evans’ incredible composition informed by the 1919 Elaine Massacre in Hoop Spur, Phillips County, Arkansas, and Endea Owens’ compelling new piece honoring the life and legacy of Ida B. Wells—is precisely the kind of integration of art and justice that makes jazz a force for change. Adding to the recording, works by jazz masters like John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, whose compositions confronted racial injustice in their lives, further elevate this unique musical experience.”

Freedom, Justice, and Hope features the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis performing works, commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center, by two of jazz music’s emerging musicians and composers. “Elaine” by trumpeter Josh Evans, is informed by the 1919 Elaine Massacre in Hoop Spur, Phillips County, Arkansas.

Endea Owens, “Ida’s Crusade” is inspired by the life and work of Ida B. Wells (1862–1931) and Ms. Well’s crusade against the lynching and wrongful imprisonment of Black Americans.

The Freedom, Justice, and Hope concert took place in 2021 during the height of the modern-day social justice movement and in the midst of the COVID pandemic.