“Breathing Freedom,” Dedicated to Eric Garner

“Breathing Freedom” is a musical work that depicts a dream of Eric Garner surviving the assault on his person by police brutality. The pre-chorus quotes his declaration of self-determination and his right to live freely without harassment as a human being. The right “to be.”

The improvisations serve as an underpinning and a sonic illustration of this quest for freedom, as the chorus/hook is constructed with soaring motifs transcending and bursting through the asphyxiating chokehold of oppression. Dedicated to Eric Garner, this piece employs his last statements and imagines his state of mind, extending metaphorically to the suffocation of the unheard and oppressed, and their insistence on asserting their humanity. To “breathe freely” in their own spaces and as they move throughout their world.

This piece also functions as a movement from a larger work “Those Whose Backs Are Against The Wall”, inspired by Howard Thurman’s book “Jesus and the Disinherited.”



Tyrone Birkett is a saxophonist, composer, producer partnering art and social consciousness as an “artist for humanity”. Focused on creating music that affirms the good and the beautiful, in spite of what we see in our world. As the conceptualist, composer and musical director of the band Tyrone Birkett | Emancipation, he has created Postmodern Spirituals, a project that synthesizes jazz language, black church music, soul music & Negro spirituals.

Tyrone has brought curative and empowering art to The Apollo Theater, WNYC/Greene Space, Blue Note Jazz Club, Lehman and York College Performing Art Centers. He has also been awarded grants & commissions from the Puffin Foundation, Drew University, Bronx Council of the Arts and Flushing Town Hall.

 

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