When a composer creates a new album, they call it a project—especially when the music is something more than that just notes and chords. Bassist Avery Sharpe refers to his new work 400: An African American Musical Portrait as a “serious project.” The album chronicles 400 years of slavery, starting in 1619 when the first enslaved Africans were brought to the United States. Sharpe recently performed 400 at his alma mater, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Producer Dave Fraser sat down with him after the performance and shares what inspires Sharpe’s music.
This story originally aired on February 27, 2020.