Sound Merchants' Virtuoso Jazz Crosses Cultures, Thrills Dubai Audience
Consulate General of the United States
The U.S. jazz quartet Alvin Atkinson and the Sound Merchants performed to
an enthusiastic crowd of
invited guests February 22 at the Dubai Community Theater and Arts Center
(DUCTAC), earning a
standing ovation for their mix of bebop, swing and classic jazz numbers.
Consul General Paul Sutphin
introduced the group, noting that blues and jazz music is a vital US
contribution to global culture, and
plays an important part promoting cross-cultural understanding, particularly
between the Middle East
and the United States. The Sound Merchants performance at DUCTAC was
made possible through the
generous support of the Dubai Cultural Council and the Dubai Community
The audience was treated to two 45-minute sets of jazz classics from Duke
Ellington, Thelonious Monk,
and Chick Corea, as well as to original compositions from Stacy Dillard and
Alvin Atkinson. The original
pieces included Ibn Battuta, reflecting the jazz ensembles' commitment to
from their travels into their music. Another piece performed was in homage of
the cooking of Alvin
Atkinson's mother, eliciting a universal response through the shared
experience of coming home to the
aroma of a succulent meal.
The event was part of the Rhythm Road American Music Abroad Program,
which allows performers of
jazz and urban music to tour countries with limited exposure to live American
culture to reach out
across language, cultural and social barriers through the language of music.
The Rhythm Road
American Music Program is co-produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center, The
United States Department of
State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and U.S. Embassies and
Consulates General Abroad.
The Dubai portion of the Sound Merchants' concert was organized by the
Consulate General's Public
Affairs Officer Marion Ram and the office's Program Assistant.
Primary Instrument: Drums
Location: New York, NY
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
As an educator, Alvin served as the Visiting Professor of Drum-set Studies at the
Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada during the 2004-2005 school year. In addition to
performing, he has taught at
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy, The Bronx Academy and
The New School for Jazz
and Contemporary Music in New York City.
Alvin works with students on all levels, beginning to advanced.