Wadada Leo Smith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
From The Checkout, an interview with Wadada on Ten Freedom Summers.
JJ: What gave you the inclination to start this thing?
WLS: Well, Leroy Jenkins was the…. um…. protagonist that said “Look”, well… I’ll say it this way. Our connection was very strong all the time. All through his life. We did lots of things together, like go for walks. I come to New York, we go for walks. We have food, sat out in the park and talked, things like that. Threadgill would also be part of that mix, Alvin Singleton would also be part of that mix. So in 1977 when Leroy put together a new ensemble, he had Andrew Cyrille on drums, Anthony Davis on piano, and him on violin. No bass. And he said “Smith”, you know, he always called me Smith. “Smith, how ‘bout writing a piece for me? To introduce my group?” And I did. And Medgar Evers was that piece, Ok? So on the premier, they premiered it in Italy. I was part of that festival. So I got a chance to hear the premier. And then on the premier performance in L.A., in October of 2011, Anthony Davis played the premier part and recorded it in November.