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The Appel Room 2018-19 Season

Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks


For one night only, witness the live New York debut of Wadada Leo Smith’s America’s National Parks. When Smith recorded this visionary suite in 2016, it was voted Album of the Year by DownBeat magazine (Smith also won Artist of the Year and Trumpeter of the Year), and it was selected as a top-ten album of the year by the New York Times and NPR. Though the music alone is worthy of its critical acclaim, nothing compares to the live, multimedia concert experience of America’s National Parks.

Visual projections blend real-time footage of the five-piece band with moving images of each song’s subject, marrying improvised music with historic photography in a powerful and collaborative vision. If you’ve ever wanted to dip your toes into the more avant-garde side of jazz, experiencing this show in person would be a compelling way to start.

Topics range from established, natural national parks (Yellowstone, Yosemite) to pointed subjects of historical and cultural significance (“New Orleans: The National Cultural Park USA 1718,” “Eileen Jackson Southern, 1920–2002: A Literary National Park”). It’s a thought-provoking and entirely wordless journey that conveys both the grandeur and sense of intimacy felt in these shared spaces. Smith is a prolific artist, always working on his next creation (he was recently named Musician of the Year in 2017 by the Jazz Journalists Association), so New Yorkers should not miss the rare chance to see him revisit this project as a one-off performance in The Appel Room.

Free pre-concert discussion nightly at 6pm and 8:30pm.

Visitor Info

Box Office

Broadway and 60th Street

Ground Floor



Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm

Sun, 12pm-6pm