Home / News / Thaddeus Ford brings live jazz and modern dance to Deep Ellum Art Co. this Saturday, Sept. 23

Thaddeus Ford brings live jazz and modern dance to Deep Ellum Art Co. this Saturday, Sept. 23

With a little help from The City of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs, Dallas-based, sixth-generation jazz musician Thaddeus Ford is bringing his singular brand of jazz to life for this premiere exhibition illuminated by original choreography by Michelle Gibson. This one-of-a-kind performance will take place on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 7 to 11 p.m. at Deep Ellum Art Co.

The one-night event will introduce an absolute overload to the sensory soul, pulling Ford’s jazz into an entirely new space as his six-piece jazz band injects Ford’s composition into attendees’ veins and interpretive dancers round out the visual intrigue of the performance – creating an altogether stunning, futuristic vibe. Deep Ellum Art Co., a mixed-use creative facility combining an art gallery with 30 beers on tap and event/performance space, opened earlier this month and is located at 3200 Commerce St., Dallas, Texas 75226.

“I’m a huge fan of Thaddeus’ work and all that he’s done to elevate the local scene,” said John LaRue, local arts advocate and owner at Deep Ellum Art Co. “Our official slogan is ‘Dedicated to the Creative and Native,’ so we’re beyond proud to help him execute his vision.”

Rooted deeply in jazz, with an ancestry lining back six generations to the beginnings of the musical genre itself in New Orleans, Dallas transplant Thaddeus Ford felt compelled to bring a different kind of performance to his new hometown. His grandfather toured and recorded with R&B legend Antoine “Fats” Domino, Jr., who helped lay the foundation for what would become rock and roll music, for more than twenty years. Little RichardGuitar Slim and many others enlisted Ford’s grandfather to play on some of the earliest rock and roll records released, paving the way for his uncle to become a touring musician with Grammy Award-winning musician Harry Connick, Jr. Ford‘s love for jazz and all sounds rooted in the tradition of Black American music and the Pan-African diaspora, along with his rich family history, has compelled him to share this style of music locally, but with a twist.

“The music I write, perform and enjoy is based on rhythm. It incorporates the entire Black American Music aesthetic,” Ford said. “The style of dance that I enjoy speaks to that as well. Dance has the ability to express life and all of its emotions in a way that other forms of art can’t.”

The project, which Ford envisions will bring the spirit of the New Orleans Second Line Parade to Dallas, celebrates the idea of overcoming adversity and persevering through a desolate time. The parallel, while more metaphorical than literal, is ideal as the Second Line is meant to simultaneously mourn physical death and celebrate eternal life. By bringing together multiple artists and their personal journeys – from near-death experiences to the loss of everything familiar after Hurricane Katrina – Ford’s production will celebrate “Tragedy to Triumph.”

Ford experienced his own tragedy – and triumph – with Gibson, his choreographer. The pair met in 1994 at The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), a prestigious performing arts school where the young artist was smitten by the dancer. Ford and Gibson were eventually pulled in different directions away from New Orleans – a beloved home that had nurtured them from birth into adulthood – to pursue opportunities and stretch them both personally and professionally. Then, seventeen years after they first met, Ford got a call to play at a wedding, where he accompanied her as she danced. After the gig, he told her he would find a way for the pair to work together again, and here they are today.

“My tragedies lie within the sanctified impulse and history of my New Orleans roots, while my triumphs ride the syncopated ancestral rhythms of Congo Square and the testimonies of how we made it over rolling down the streets in the Second Lines,” Gibson said. “We were raised on sacred ground where music and dance is a communal experience. A ritual. A lifestyle. Ashe.”

The project will debut in Dallas, but Ford hopes to present it nationally and internationally, particularly in New Orleans.

For more information on Thaddeus Ford, visit the artist’s Facebook page.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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