South African R&B singer-songwriter Jonathan Butler and his band will headline the annual Jazz Journey concert, staged Friday at Dillard University to commemorate the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
The free concert, sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, starts at 6 p.m. at Dillard’s Lawless Memorial Chapel, The concert also will be broadcast live on community radio station WWOZ 90.7 FM.
Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, during apartheid, Butler started singing and playing acoustic guitar as a child. Racial segregation and poverty during apartheid have been the subjects of many of his records.
His first single was the first by a black artist played by white radio stations in racially segregated South Africa and earned a Sarie Award, South Africa’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards.
He has continued releasing records in recent years, including “Brand New Day” (2007), “So Strong” (2010), “Grace and Mercy” (2012) and “Living My Dream” (2014).
Also appearing will be The New Orleans Nu Legends, whose members include Nicholas Payton, trumpet; Herlin Riley, drums; Roland Guerin, bass; David Torkanowsky, piano; and Donald Harrison, saxophone.
The Dillard University Choir also will perform.
Speakers will deliver comments on Dr. King’s legacy in the context of current events.