LISTEN: 'The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni' brings together a Connecticut jazz musician and an iconic American poet
“The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni” — an album featuring Connecticut saxophonist Javon Jackson — was recently released to correspond with Black History Month.
The album features Jackson playing jazz renditions of gospel hymns and spirituals hand-picked by Giovanni. The 78-year-old poet makes a rare vocal performance.
“Gospel spirituals, as I like to categorize them, speak to the story of America,” said Jackson.
Javon Jackson is a former member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and director of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford. Nikki Giovanni is a renowned poet, activist and educator. She’s a Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award winner and the first person to receive the Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award.
Connecticut Public Radio’s Diane Orson produced this audio essay.