A Swinging Centennial: Jackie Robinson at 100


Date & Time: Sunday, December 15, 2019, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Location: Robinson Park Recreation Center

Address: 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, California

Information: (626) 791-7647 or (626) 744-4738

Robinson Park Recreation Center

Bobby Bradford (photo courtesy of Dean Westerfield)

The Baseball Reliquary presents the final concert in its series of musical events in celebration of the Jackie Robinson Centennial, A Swinging Centennial: Jackie Robinson at 100, on Sunday, December 15, 2019 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., at the Robinson Park Recreation Center, 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, California. This program is co-sponsored by the NAACP Pasadena Branch in collaboration with Councilmember John J. Kennedy. Admission is free of charge; since seating is limited, please RSVP for tickets at sporras@cityofpasadena.net. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The concert will feature a performance of Stealin’ Home, Bobby Bradford’s tribute to Jackie Robinson, commissioned by the Baseball Reliquary. A renowned jazz musician, bandleader, and composer, Bradford is also noted for his long career as an educator, teaching jazz history and improvisation for over three decades at Pasadena City College and Pomona College. Bradford’s jazz suite, approximately 45 minutes in length, will be performed by an all-star ensemble featuring Bobby Bradford (cornet), Vinny Golia (woodwinds), Chuck Manning (tenor saxophone), William Roper (tuba), Don Preston (piano), Henry Franklin (bass), and Tina Raymond (drums).

Bobby Bradford’s Ensemble (photo courtesy of Dean Westerfield)

Over the years, Bobby Bradford has performed with Eric Dolphy, Charlie Haden, James Newton, David Murray, and others. He is acclaimed for his work with Ornette Coleman, and for his long association with clarinetist John Carter, a pairing that began in the late 1960s. Following Carter’s death in 1991, Bradford fronted his own ensemble known as The Mo’tet, with which he has continued to perform since. Of the Stealin’ Home commission, Bradford has said, “When Jackie Robinson made his Major League debut in 1947, I was in the seventh grade in Dallas, Texas, and like many Americans, especially black people, I was overjoyed at the coming of our champion of baseball. Now, 72 years later, I have been given the opportunity to write music in his honor, and I am deeply grateful to the Baseball Reliquary for their confidence in me. Robinson was a great black man, a man of stature and courage, a great American, and an exceptional athlete. I hope in some small way to pay tribute to his memory with music.”

Byron Motley (photo courtesy of Jesse Saucedo)

Singer/songwriter Byron Motley will open the program with a collection of songs reflecting Jackie Robinson’s historic debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 through the emergence of the artistry of Nat King Cole. The performance will be presented in a multi-media format utilizing video clips, slides, and interview sound bites from a forthcoming documentary about the Negro Leagues produced by Motley, adding a unique and emotional element that further connects the audience with this history and those who created it. Accompanying Motley will be Ron Pedley (piano), Roberto Vally (bass), and Randy Drake (drums).

This program is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.


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