The 90-minute television documentary "DuSable to Obama: Chicago's Black Metropolis" is truly a tale of two cities. There is the legendary Chicago that emerged from hardship and misfortune on the prairie to attain world-class status. There is also a less known, but remarkable aspect of Chicago's history -- the essential contributions of African Americans to the city's vitality, from Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable to the Columbian Exposition; the Chicago Renaissance to Chicago politics and from the journalism of the Chicago Defender to the new musical sound of the city. This compelling film reveals the lives of the celebrated and the unsung -- from the establishment of the first Black community in the 1840s by free men of color and enslaved Africans seeking freedom, to the election of the nation's first Black president, Chicago's own Barack Obama. Celebrating the history of this powerful community and bringing recognition to the African American experience in Chicago is to better understand the rich heritage of America itself. It is a story of our time and of all time.
Jazz Recording Artist and Chicago resident, Orbert Davis, excelled in his role as music composer for the documentary, which premiered on Chicago's public television station WITW ll in June 2010. Using classical undertones, the score weaves seamlessly through Jazz, R & B, Funk and Blues, providing a sonic picture for the emotional, timeless stories of Chicago's African American heritage. Davis says he came up with a "fresh" sound for the TV special, which
chronicles Chicago'S Black community for the last 200 years, by drawing on historical research. But he did not attempt to recreate the music of the time periods, as one might suspect. Instead, Davis preferred to create a unique sound that tells the listener "yes, this is historic, but it sounds new." He believes that music should give a reference of time, while still transcending it.
Production of "DuSable to Obama: Chicago's Black Metropolis" television special was made possible by CornEd. Major funding is provided by: Illinois Tool Works Inc.; Sara Lee Foundation; The Joyce Foundation; The Black McDonald's Operators Association; Motorola Foundation; American Airlines; Alberto Culver; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois; Hewitt Associates; and Loop Capital Markets. Generous support is also provided by an Anonymous Donor; Michelle L.
Collins; Jim and Kay Mabie; Sandra and Timothy Rand; John and Caroline Ballantine; and Deone Jackman and Eugene Goldwasser. The original Orbert Davis score for the television documentary was commissioned by WITW ll and generously underwritten by Northern Trust. For more information, visit www.wttw.com/dusabletoobama.
Each epoch had its sound and its style, and Davis draws upon these characteristics to conjure moments in time. All of his music, though, radiates Davis' signature lyricism, his haunting melodic lines deepening the emotional content of the scenes unfolding on the screen. -- Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune (Score is Soul of 'DuSuble To Obama' -- June 1, 2010)