LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – A concert was held inside the Hampden County Correctional Center in Ludlow on Friday.
Avery Sharpe is an internationally renowned jazz bassist and western Massachusetts resident who has composed a multimedia presentation intended to recognize our common humanity at a time of divisiveness in our country. He is scheduled to debut his new album, “I Am My Neighbor’s Keeper,” at the jail starting at 1 p.m.
Approximately 100 inmates were able to watch the performance by musicians Avery Sharp. Zaccai Curtis, Yoron Israel, Tony Vacca, Kabisko Kabo, Sarah Briggs, Kaila Graef, Gregory Diehl, and Dave Haughey.
“People who need help, they are not helping anymore. Even in the political situation, you don’t hear them talking about poor people. They only talk about middle class or people who have money. I’m just as an artist trying to remind us that we are our neighbors keeper and we should be helping each other,” said Sharpe.
Avery Sharpe joined WWLP’s Mass Appeal host Patrick Berry on Tuesday to talk about his presentation of three shows aimed at spreading the album’s message. It’s about people doing a better job recognizing that we aren’t as different as it seems at times and that we’re all in this together.
Born in Valdosta, Georgia, Sharpe later moved with his family to Springfield, where he attended high school and UMass Amherst. He now holds several roles at Williams College in Williamstown. Sharpe has recorded more than a dozen albums under his own artist record label, JKNM Records, formed in 1994.
Two free public performances will be held in Springfield this weekend. Watch Saturday, April 22nd from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Macedonia Church of God in Christ located at 215 Tinkham Road. On Sunday, April 23rd from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Community Music School of Springfield located at 127 State Street.
“The U.S political climate has drastically changed in the past 40 plus years. In this age of greed, basic human compassion has been eroded. There is a need to remind people that each of us is here on this planet for a very short period of time,” Sharpe said. “It doesn’t matter if one has a religious approach or a secular approach, it all comes down to concern and compassion for each other. It is my hope and mission as an artist to remind us that we all are interconnected and that we are our neighbor’s keepers. When we help to uplift one, we uplift everyone.”
“Any time we can give the people in our care and custody something in addition to the wide range of programming and educational opportunities we provide, we jump at it,” Sheriff Cocchi said. “And to have someone as well-known and revered as Avery Sharpe offer to play at our institution is amazing. We are truly thankful and very much looking forward to the concert as music has the power to transcend all the things that separate us and bring people together.”