The Democracy! Suite
Activating the Jazz Community to Affect Social Change

Wynton Marsalis and Eric Jackson joined FirstWorks for a conversation about the power of music to affect social change. Livestreamed on January 14, 2021.

Jazz musician, trumpeter, composer, bandleader, advocate for the arts, and educator Wynton Marsalis has helped propel jazz to the forefront of American culture. In April 1997 he became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his work “Blood on the Fields,” which was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center. Since 2012, he has served as Managing and Artistic Director of the world-renowned arts organization.

Recently performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet as the finale for FirstWorks Urban Carnevale, The Democracy! Suite was written by Marsalis amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. A response to the political, social, and economic struggles facing our nation, the Suite’s unique repertoire celebrates jazz’s embodiment of freedom and democracy and aims to entertain, inspire, and uplift audiences with the full vigor, vision, and depth of America’s music.

For more information on The Democracy! Suite, now available as a full length audio recording, visit

The conversation was hosted by Kathleen Pletcher, FirstWorks Executive Artistic Director, and Eric Jackson, “The Dean of Boston Jazz Radio.”
Eric Jackson wearing headphones and smilingIn a celebrated broadcast career spanning over 50 years, award-winning Boston radio personality Eric Jackson has conducted over 3,000 interviews with jazz greats ranging from Wynton Marsalis to Chick Corea. For nearly four decades he has hosted WGBH radio’s signature jazz program, “Eric in the Evening.”
Kathleen Pletcher speaking into a microphoneKathleen Pletcher founded FirstWorks in 2004, transforming the one-night First Night Providence festival into a year-round performing arts and educational organization. As a presenter, she has developed projects with creative pioneers such as Yo-Yo Ma, Kronos Quartet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Rhode Island Commerce logoFirstWorks Urban Carnevale was made possible by Governor Raimondo and Rhode Island Commerce’s HaRT Recovery Program.