poster for Ways to Freedom


The Music Program of the University at Albany’s Department of Music and Theatre is pleased to present Ways to Freedom, a concert dedicated to themes of freedom performed by UAlbany vocalist Kyra Gaunt and UAlbany pianist Bob Gluck along with two guest artists, bassist Christopher Dean Sullivan and drummer Tani Tabbal, on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 7pm at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus.

Striving to be free is a timeless theme. Freedom has also been a theme throughout the history of jazz, a musical form shaped by the strivings for freedom of African Americans. Many other musical forms have also given voice to the hopes for freedom of peoples across the globe. Songs of freedom, songs inspired by hopes of freedom and songs that motivate actions towards freedom have captivated musicians throughout the ages. Melding jazz, spoken word and popular song, the concert is dedicated to the many “ways to freedom” as voiced through musical expression.

Kyra Gaunt, ethnomusicologist, author and critical social media researcher, joined the faculty in Music at UAlbany in 2017. She is a TED Fellow and a Senior Ford Fellow who voices the unspoken through song, scholarship, and social media. Classically-trained for 12 years, she studied voice with tenor George Shirley at The University of Michigan and studied jazz with pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, saxophonist Patience Higgins, and the legendary pianist/pedagog Barry Harris. Gaunt has appeared on stage with Bobby McFerrin, Bob James and Graham Haynes. She continues to perform jazz and poetry and records as an R&B singer-songwriter. Her album “Be the True Revolution” is available on iTunes and CDBaby.

Bob Gluck, pianist, electronic musician and author, has released ten CDs, most recently including “At This Time” with Tani Tabbal and “Infinite Spirit: Revisiting Music of the Mwandishi Band” (FMR, 2016, with Billy Hart, Eddie Henderson, and Christopher Dean Sullivan). His books “You’ll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band” (2012) and “The Miles Davis ‘Lost’ Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles” (2016) are both published by University of Chicago Press. Collaborators have included Michael Bisio, Jane Ira Bloom, Billy Hart, Aruan Ortiz, Andrew Sterman, Neil Rolnick, Ken Filiano, Christopher Dean Sullivan, Eddie Henderson, Ken Filiano, Joe Giardullo, Eddie Allen, Ras Moshe Burnett, and Dean Sharp.

Christopher Dean Sullivan is a renowned bassist of many musical languages: jazz, funk, reggae, Latin, fusion, Caribbean, Indian, African, Eurocentric perceptions, rock, country, and more. He has shared the stage with Stanley Jordan, Pete Seeger, Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, Grant Green, Horace Parlan, Joe McPhee, Sonny Simmons, Cecil Payne, Joe Lovano and Roy Campbell Jr. He has recorded with Michael Marcus, Joe Giardullo, Sheila Jordan, Odean Pope and Newman Taylor Baker. Sullivan played on Gluck’s 2011 recording “Something Quiet” with Giardullo (FMR Records). He also performs with the Cotton Club All Star Orchestra and he has toured with 50s/60s groups including the Marcel's, The Drifters and the Sharelles. Sullivan is also an educator and actor. 

Tani Tabbal is known as a dynamic, lyrical and energetic drummer. He began playing drums professionally as a teen, performing with Oscar Brown Jr., Phil Cohran and Sun Ra and his Arkestra. Tabbal has recorded, performed and toured with a wide range of musicians, including Roscoe Mitchell, David Murray, Geri Allen, Cassandra Wilson, James Carter, Karl Berger, Dewey Redman, David 'Fathead' Newman, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, Douglas Ewart, Oliver Lake, Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill, Richard Davis, Leroy Jenkins, Milt Jackson and Jackie McLean. As a recording artist, he is on over 70 CDs and has released three as a bandleader: “Before Time After,” “Wizards” and “Mixed Motion.”

Advance tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  Tickets purchased on the day of the show are $10 for the general public and $5 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997.

The artists will also offer an open rehearsal from 3pm to 4pm on October 25.  Admission is free and no tickets are required.