“America Transformed,” Wadada Leo Smith Performs At BC

BROOKLYN COLLEGE–“Creativity and artistic endeavors have a mission that goes far beyond just making music for the sake of it,” jazz musician Herbie Hancock once said. Centuries later, musicians like trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith constantly reinvent how music can touch the human soul. Smith premiered his new work “America Transformed” at the Leonard and Claire Tow Auditorium in Brooklyn College this past weekend from Sept. 8 to Sept. 11.

Smith, born in Mississippi, composed his first piece at 12 years old, pulling from various southern musical traditions. His youth was imbued with music, as he received his education from his father Alex Wallace, who played the electric guitar in the Delta Blues Band. Smith also joined the band in subsequent years.

Smith’s discography focuses on the unity of social and cultural issues, and his techniques break age-old traditional forms of music. Most musicians use modern notation, which contains notes and five-lined staffs. The Chinese notation system uses numbers as opposed to rounded notes. Those who work with country tunes might opt for the Nashville number system, which centers around chords.