Press Releases

Grammy-winning Saxophonist Charles Neville Leads Intensive Georgetown University Residency About Music and Social Justice March 29-April 1

Washington, DC — Grammy Award winner Charles Neville, one of the four Neville Brothers known for their embodiment of the New Orleans sound, will work closely with Georgetown University faculty and students in a three-day residency that extends beyond campus. Neville has performed with with artists including Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino, James Booker, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Big Maybelle, James Brown, B.B. King, Clarence Carter, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, Dr. John, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, the Grateful Dead, and more.

GU Music Program faculty member Prof. Ben Harbert says, “Charles Neville embodies 20th-century American music. He has direct experience of Southern traveling shows, second line New Orleans music, experimental music of the 1960s, and international renown with his family in R&B/soul. Here at Georgetown, he will also be speaking about the African-American entanglement with prisons and how he discovered music to be a critical social resource in dehumanizing conditions. Our students and faculty are excited to engage Neville in our ongoing discussions about music and social justice.”

A collaboration between the Music Program, the Prisons & Justice Initiative, and Film & Media Studies Program, the residency features two free public events with Neville on Georgetown University’s main campus.

    Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. | New South Film Screening Room
    This documentary had its world premiere at the SXSW festival and explores the life and music of New Orleans piano legend James Booker, with whom Neville performed. The screening will be followed by a Q & A session.
    Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 8 p.m. | McNeir Hall, New North Building
    Charles Neville, saxophone
    Shawn Purcell, guitar
    Cameron Kayne, bass
    Kevin McDonald, drums

    A culminating concert of jazz standards and original tunes, this program will be followed by a discussion, moderated by Prof. Marc Howard, Director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University. Panelists include Georgetown professors Ben Harbert (Music Program and Affiliated – Film and Media Studies) and Maurice Jackson (History Department and African American Studies Program as well as Affiliated – Music Program), Beth M. Bienvenu of the National Endowment of the Arts, and Claire Schwadron of Project Youth ArtReach.

Neville’s residency will also include visits to Prof. Ben Harbert’s two sections of “Music in US Prisons” course and Prof. Anna H. Celenza’s “Jazz History” class. Neville will also travel with students and faculty to Jessup Correctional Institution in Jessup, MD to do a workshop with inmates; and to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. The guard tower from Angola Prison in Louisiana, the largest maximum security prison in the U.S. where in the 1960s Neville served three and a half years of a five-year sentence for possession of two marijuana joints, has been reconstructed and is on display in an exhibit about segregation. Harbert, whose 2012 documentary Follow Me Down: Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians, collaborated previously with Neville as part of a symposium Angola Bound Revisited: Prison Music of Louisiana, held at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in June 2016 with Neville and others.

About the Georgetown University Music Program
Georgetown University’s Music Program is distinctive for its emphasis on the study of music as both a reflection of multiculturalism in the Americas and a creative activity within contemporary society. The program specializes in all forms of music from jazz, rock, film, country and folk music from around the world to the music traditions of Western Europe (i.e. classical music). The liberal arts degree in American Musical Culture integrates the University’s strengths in film/media, public policy, politics and social justice within the cultural sphere and is designed for students interested in pursuing careers and/or graduate study in arts management, entertainment law, media studies, music business, music journalism or musicology/ethnomusicology.Committed to offering real-life training, the Music Program has established close alliances with many of Washington, DC’s art and media institutions, giving students the opportunity to pursue internships with BET, CBS, the Kennedy Center, NBC, NPR, PBS, Sirius XM Radio, Smithsonian Folkways, Voice of America Radio, and the Future of Music Coalition.
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About the Georgetown University Prisons and Justice Initiative
Georgetown University’s Prisons and Justice Initiative was founded to bring together leadingscholars, practitioners, and students to examine the problem of mass incarceration frommultiple perspectives. Georgetown is ideally situated to establish an Initiative that addresses one of the most crucialmoral and political issues of our time. We have an extensive and distinguished faculty workingon related topics, committed students who are eager to contribute time and energy, a 30-yearhistory of prison education programs in nearby facilities, a prime location in close proximity toWashington policymakers, a reputation as a nonpartisan institution open to diverse voices andopinions, and a guiding Jesuit mission of intellectual inquiry and service of others. Since 2014, a surge in demonstrations and media attention surrounding the events and judicialproceedings in Ferguson, New York, Baltimore, and elsewhere have turned the spotlight ontolongstanding questions about policing, criminal justice, prisons, race, poverty, and humanredemption. These questions call for informed analysis and open-minded discussion. By hosting a series of important academic and policy events, and by supporting a growingnumber of faculty and student research projects, the Initiative seeks to create a prominent andlasting platform to address the evolving challenges of criminal justice and prison reform.
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About the Georgetown University Film and Media Studies Program
Film and Media Studies, an interdisciplinary academic program in Georgetown College at Georgetown University, is dedicated to exploring the relations between media, power, and social justice by integrating film and media theory and history with creative practice. To live in the 21st Century is to engage in the consumption, production, and distribution of sounds, images, and information. The Interdisciplinary Program in Film and Media Studies offers a new academic program that enables our students to gain a sophisticated understanding of media—defined as the multiple channels, technologies, and interfaces through which information, ideas, and emotions are stored, shared, and reciprocated—and the ways that media shape our understanding of the world and our ability to act in it. Through the Minor in Film and Media Studies, students will develop media fluency: the ability to analyze, contextualize, create and use media as the exercise of citizen leadership.
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