The People’s Holiday

From the moment the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened, it was clearly the go-to venue for the Smithsonian’s jazz initiatives. Even more than many of its jazz events, though, NMAAHC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations and Christian McBride‘s album The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons seem made for each other. The iconic bassist’s work honors King alongside Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali, building gospel-tinged music around their words and ideas in a dramatic way that by itself evokes a poetry reading. It’s shrewd programming, then, that McBride’s NMAAHC performance (with students from New York’s Juilliard School) based on The Movement Revisited would also include a poetry reading by the award-winning Evie Shockley. Both McBride and Shockley’s art is soaked in unmistakable soul—but then, what else would one expect in marking The People’s Holiday? The concert begins at 4 p.m. on Jan. 18. Registration is available at si.edu. Free.