Jamal Cyrus will present a performance titled Texas Fried Tenor (2012). The performance is part of a larger series entitled Learning To Work The Saxophone, the title of which is taken from the refrain of the Steely Dan song “Deacon Blues.” After listening to the song one thousand times on a road trip from Philadelphia to Houston, Cyrus became interested in the importance of the saxophone in American music, especially blues and jazz which are celebrated as America’s original musical forms. In this context, the saxophone is not solely an instrument of artistic expression, but also one of social and spiritual transcendence. The dramatic account of “Deacon Blues” strikingly mirrors the history of the horn in American music–the struggles of those that invented its unique sounds. Texas Fried Tenor also serves as a meditation on the musical legacy and lineage of Texas Saxophonists.
Houston-based artist Jamal Cyrus (b. 1973) borrows from revisionist approaches within American history, particularly studies dealing with the formulation of black political movements. Cyrus' work acts as a document of questioning, meditation, and commemoration