Get local news delivered straight to your phone
Support City Paper!
Setting Lyndon Johnson’s ambitious social policies to music seems equal parts brainy and boring. But Wadada Leo Smith’s jazz piece about the “Great Society” programs comes from a place more personal than political; it’s a portion of Ten Freedom Summers, his magnum opus dedicated to moments in the Civil Rights movement. The trumpeter, who premieres the performance in D.C. to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, has developed the work slowly, gradually adding pieces inspired by Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, and Emmett Till, among others. This weekend, each show will be accompanied by visual displays as well as short historical introductions for context, adding up to a history lesson that will likely be a whole lot more profound than an episode of Schoolhouse Rock. Wadada Leo Smith performs at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $20–$33.50. (202) 399-7993. atlasarts.org.