Hugh Downs, "Here We Go Again"
Solo and Composition
“Here We Go Again” in two parts is an impactful solo guitar performance of the composition. This performance has been intimately staged for a live recording and has been presented here as a music video (5 min 11 sec). The art object also contains an image of a personal message to the artist's listeners as a creative work on paper.
Jazz guitarist Hugh Downs grew up playing at New All Saints Catholic Church in Baltimore, MD around the age of 7. He later moved to Washington DC to study classical guitar and jazz at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
Today Hugh is a sought out musician having been a member of the Blues Alley Youth Orchestra and Paul Carr’s Jazz Academy Orchestra where he has opened up for Joey DeFransesco, the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra and has entertained audiences at Blues Alley Jazz Club, the Historic Howard Theatre and the Kennedy Center. Hugh has also performed as part of the Color of Music Black Classical Music Festival at the home of the French Ambassador and has been commissioned to play at the Canadian Embassy. He has performed with Grammy award-winners Ben Williams, Michael Bowie, Bob Mintzer of the Yellow Jackets, and a host of other jazz masters.
Hugh currently studies with Randy Napoleon, jazz guitarist of the late Freddy Cole, along with Rodney Whitaker and Michael Dease at Michigan State University’s top-ranked Jazz Studies program in the nation.
The Microgrant has helped support the purchase of audio, lighting and video editing software. Through the process of creating this project I have learned how to respond to grant opportunities and commissioned work. I recognized the importance of my art and how it can serve others and be adapted to other mediums. I see on social media that for many musicians, this is a way to gain work especially during these times when there are no live performance venues open. Commissioned musical concerts online and other creative initiatives appear to be a way that musicians get to make the music they love and share it. Importantly, working on this project encouraged me to reflect on how I was feeling about the world around me and how others may be feeling as well. My role as a citizen artist has never been more clear as a result of personal impact the Covid 19 pandemic has made on me as a student forced to adapt to a new way of learning remotely, as a professional musician whose livelihood has been taken away and how it has caused so much devastation across the United States, highlighting the great disparities in healthcare, and political and racial conflicts. Making music to heal and convey a message that can ultimately help others gives me a new purpose and adds to my identity. I believe other CAL students would benefit from this financial support. It will give them an opportunity to purchase new tools or equipment and gain experience using them. Until this project, I had not independently been responsible for having appropriate lighting, and mic preparation, nor had I been involved in creative editing, and syncing music. This was very educational for me. I learned a lot. This opportunity and others like this should be made available to others.