UNT College of Music offers Gospel Meets Jazz concert celebrating Black History Month

Brad Leali performing on Saxophone

DENTON (UNT), Texas - University of North Texas College of Music Professor of Jazz Saxophone, Brad Leali, will conduct his sixth annual “Gospel Meets Jazz” concert celebrating Black History Month and the contributions of African American culture.

“The blues is an integral part of jazz. At an early age my teachers would constantly quote: ‘No blues, No jazz,’” said Leali. “Harmonies that are essential in blues and gospel are interwoven into the foundation of jazz. These chordal structures in tandem with an artist’s creativity have often been the impetus for emotional and soulful performances that are certainly reminiscent of gospel and spiritual music.”

Leali says that jazz evolved from taking the characteristics of gospel outside of the church. Combining the influence of gospel music, classical music, African music and others led to jazz’s expressive and challenging art form and a voice of acceptance, goodness, realism, truth and inclusion.

This year’s performers will include UNT faculty/students, members of the Prairie View A&M University Concert choir under the direction of Dr. Jan Taylor, the Morse St. Baptist Church Gospel choir with Bobby Hicks and UNT graduate jazz studies alumnus, Tito Charneco.

The concert is free to the public and will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 (Sunday), at the Paul Voertman Concert Hall, 415 S. Ave. C in Denton.