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As co-founder of the Afro-Semitic Experience, Jewish-American jazz bassist David Chevan was a perfect fit for Harlem Speaks with his extensive study on the connections between Jewish and African American sacred traditions. When the group was first formed they collaborated on a mission statement: "The Afro-Semitic Experience is an ensemble dedicated to preserving, promoting and expanding the rich cultural and musical heritage of the Jewish and African diaspora."
Bassist and composer, David Chevan was born in Philadelphia in 1960, and grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts. His early passion for music has led him to explore a wide range of musical realms from singing in synagogue, to playing in Gospel groups, Polka bands, Klezmer bands, and Italian wedding bands, and finally to Jazz and contemporary composition. He has composed music for a wide range of artists and ensembles, including several collaborations with dance and film. His most recent compositions have focused on melding jazz improvisational practice with Jewish liturgy. In addition to performing regularly in a duo with pianist Warren Byrd and leading their group, The Afro-Semitic Experience, Chevan has had the opportunity to perform and record with, Joe Beck, Harold Danko, Mat Darriau, Jason Kao Hwang, Laura Wetzler, Giacomo Gates, Frank London, Herb Robertson, and Cookie Segelstein. He is a Professor of Music at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and is proud to be a member of the board of trustees of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation.
"Never before have I heard this lyrically powerful a fusion of Jewish and jazz souls on fire." Nat Hentoff, The Wall Street Journal on The Afro-Semitic Experience.