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Born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio, in his short 33 years of life Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American to gain national eminence as a poet.  Writing in both standard English and Black American dialect, Dunbar was a prolific writer of short stories, novels, librettos, plays, songs and essays as well as the poetry for which he became well known. He was popular with both black and white readers of his day, and his works are celebrated today by scholars and school children alike.


This project transforms 10 Dunbar poems into songs with music arranged for a 15-piece big band.


Below is the concert in it's entirety which debuted on July 24, 2014 at Chicago's Millenium Park.

The Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar


Milton Suggs

Victor Garcia, Kris Johnson, Shaun Johnson, Marquis Hill

Stephen Berry, Adam Thornburg, Matthew Davis

Christopher Mcbride and Fred Jackson (altos)

Rajiv Halim and Irvin Pierce (tenor)

Rocky Yera (baritone)

Rhythm Section:
Miguel De La Cerna (piano)
Joshua Ramos (bass)
Xavier Breaker (drums)

Arrangements by Kris Johnson and Kendall Moore

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