With Adam Fairhall's The Imaginary Delta
Commissioned by MLF and Manchester Jazz Festival, pianist and composer Adam Fairhall’s The Imaginary Delta is a riotous re-imagining of early jazz forms via a mixture of old and new idioms, archaic blues instruments and new technologies. Samples from vintage recordings are used to invoke the past in a soundworld that is playful, haunting and often downright unruly. They include the songs of Bessie Smith, who also provides the inspiration for Jackie Kay’s new poems in which the author boards a Pullman car to travel across Tennessee with The Empress of the Blues. Poignant, bittersweet, and funny, these poems meet at the crossroads where the blues and poetry collide. Jackie Kay is the author of several prize-winning collections of poetry, including The Adoption Papers and Fiere, as well as short stories, plays and the memoir Red Dust Road.