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The Imagine Orchestra Premiered in a Storied Space at MAAH

The Museum of African American History and JazzBoston joined forces for the first time for this Jazz Week Kickoff weekend special presentation with premiere of The Imagine Orchestra. Boston WGBH’s popular jazz radio host, Eric Jackson, of Eric in the Evening, introduced the new chamber jazz orchestra for their public debut performance, with the orchestra founder Dr. Bill Banfield, the Chair of the Berklee College of Music’s Africana Studies, Music and Society Department.

Jazz Week 2015, “Jazz in the Neighborhood” is showcasing Roxbury’s musical heritage and the history of Boston’s African American community. The program showcases the African Meeting House, built in 1806 by a free black community establishing both a church and a place where powerful movements for justice were launched. Their meetings, celebrations and events were religious, antislavery, intellectual and personal expressions, and resounded with music. Jazz Week kicked off on April 24 and continues until May 3. If you want to find out more about events around, checkout and read an article about Jazz Week from The Arts Fuse.

The Imagine Orchestra is a chamber jazz ensemble featuring some of Boston’s brightest musical talents coming together for an eclectic approach to composing and performing where the music is both fully orchestrated and improvised. “I hear the sound as Ellington meets Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, and Frank Zappa and Miles Davis meets Gill Evans… in the groove and in the pocket,” says Dr. Banfield, also the orchestra’s composer and conductor. The ensemble is comprised of three groups; a string trio, a rhythm trio and percussion, and winds and brass. It represents how creative artists come to collaborate and ‘imagine’ what the music whispers and inspires musicians to reach for.” (from MAAH,

Here are some photos from the event. In July of 2013, Eric Jackson was asked to speak at the African Meeting House, the title of his talk was “The Power of Black Music” that was also featured on our blog.

Eric Jackson Interviews Lynn DuVal Luse from MAAH after the premiere of the the Imagine Orchestra at Museum of African American History Boston. Lynn talked about the museum history, their music programs and their coming music events.

More music clips from The Imagine Orchestra

Eric Jackson talked about the old neighborhood(Clip) and interviewed Dr. Bill Banfield during the performance


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