Virtuosity shows itself in many forms, but rarely do we see it exuberantly displayed on an electric tap board. Michela Marino Lerman's customized contraption allows her feet to mimic break beats, raging tabla solos and warm marimbas.
But at the very beginning of this unique performance, the tap dancer and bassist Russell Hall rattle our senses by taking us to America's city streets, sonically evoking the sound of "helicopters and tear gas." The couple thought about that name for this potent composition, before they landed on "The Race."
"We feel that people of color are constantly racing against a system that is trying to oppress and essentially erase them," Lerman and Hall explain. They say a version of the piece was created three years ago in memory of Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, and more. "Then came the news of Ahmaud Arbery, then George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and we knew we wanted to do something."
Fittingly, their Alone Together Duets video is released on the same day as their Juneteenth Jubilee, a Black artist-led event aimed at spreading joy in a time when we most need it. It will feature performer George Faison, DJ Stretch Armstrong, vocalist Michael Mwenso and more.
Produced by Jazz Night in America and The Checkout from WBGO.