It’s said that people do things to make themselves feel good…listening to the CD, ”Spirituals: Reflections & Meditation” makes me feel good. Dr. Ruth Bass-Green’s arrangements and performance of many American Negro Spirituals will transport any listener to the best of the past, declare the power of the present moment and remind us of the promise of the future.
Dr. Ruth Bass-Green’s performance of spirituals and sacred songs has a singular, dynamic focus – to generate visions of hope and healing in the souls of all people!
Dr. Ruth Bass-Green’s career as a church musician (playing both piano and organ) started when she was twelve years old. She began her studies under the tutelage of her mother, Hazelle Catherine Parker Bass and at the USC School of Music. She continued her performance studies with Dr. Garfield Tucker and later with Madame Bonye of the famed Wilshire Fine Arts Music Studio in Los Angeles. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from California State University, Los Angeles, she earned a Master’s and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts, School of Education, Amherst, Massachusetts.
Dr. Ruth Bass-Green has been pianist, organist and choir director at churches throughout the United States. She has performed on the African continent in South Africa and Kenya. In this, her first CD, Dr. Ruth Bass-Green’s compassionate, melodic arrangements of the spirituals are finally available for all to enjoy. Echoing the experiences of the ancestors’ journey through the middle-passage and beyond, her music reverberates with the pain and the promise of the African-American experience.
“Amazing Grace” lyrics are by Rev. John Newton, English ex-slaver. Melody origin is not known, but is thought to be from American slave folk music. The words give a message that redemption and forgiveness are possible no matter the sin and that God’s mercy delivers the soul from despair.
“Deep River” is an American Negro Spiritual that originated during two hundred years of slavery. In the slow sustained spiritual category, the song sings of the desire to be free from the bondage of slavery, either on earth or in heaven. It was the first spiritual arranged for performance by Harry T. Burleigh in 1914.
“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” is a spiritual that the enslaved servant laments being stolen from the motherland of Africa and expresses the desire for freedom on earth or in heaven.
“Total Praise” is a contemporary Christian classic written by *Richard Smallwood, 1999. This work is a still-gaining-popularity and is widely performed by gospel choirs worldwide.
“Give Me Jesus” is a traditional African American Spiritual that had many arrangers during the 20th century. It was updated by Fernando Ortega and released in 1999.
“Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” is a traditional Negro spiritual. Famous contralto Marian Anderson first recorded this spiritual on the Victor label in 1925.
“Come Sunday” is a jazz standard from *Duke Ellington’s instrumental Jazz Suite “Black, Brown and Beige,” 1943 musical history of African Americans.
“Go Down Moses” is a spiritual with text derived from the Bible’s old testament. During slavery it was used as a code song to tell of impeding escapes led by the underground railroads’ leader Harriet Tubman, who was likened to the Bible’s Moses.
“Were You There When They Crucified My Lord” is one of the many Easter spirituals created by slaves before 1865.
“I Want Jesus to Walk with Me” is an American spiritual that was arranged by composer Edward Boatner (1898-1981) for concert and church performance.
“Oh Freedom” is a post- Civil War-American spiritual created by slaves not yet freed. It not only refers to freedom after death, as many slave spirituals do, but also celebrates a new freedom here on earth. In the 1950s and 1960s, the song was an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement.