Historic: BRC Get-Down Revue @ Winter Jazz Fest

In a rousing revival of our Black Rock Coalition Get-Down Revue, we kicked off our 32nd year of mission-oriented programming with an encore performance of choice cuts from the Atlantic Records R&B box set in celebration of the pioneers of early rock & roll who called the label home from 1947-1974.

It was a certified dance party, featuring:

Luqman Brown – Musical Director/Bandleader

Jared Michael Nickerson – Bass

Ramsey Jones – Drums/Vocals

Ben Tyree – Guitar

Leon Gruenbaum – Keys

V Jeffrey Smith – Horns

Wayne Cobham – Trumpet

JS Williams – Trombone

Lisala – Vocals

Shelley Nicole – Vocals

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Historic: BRC Orchestra Deep Roots of Rock N Roll

July 26, 2014 Lincoln Center Out Of Doors, 2p FREE   With “Deep Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” the Black Rock Coalition Orchestra transported us back in time and into the future with a rousing homage to the Pioneers, Founders, Innovators, Technicians, Trailblazers and Instigators of the genre. Under the Musical Direction and Design of Toshi Reagon, the monstrously-talented members of this world-class Orchestra recreated the spark that blew minds and kindled an industry. This was classic Black Rock Coalition Orchestra. With our every breath, our very blood, we celebrate the Originals. The ones from whom we all flow. Now and always, we acknowledge the before, the during, and the everlasting after. Rock ‘n’ Roll… Musical Direction and Design: Toshi Reagon Host/DJ/Narration: Carl Hancock Rux Special Guests: Nona Hendryx Vernon Reid Corey Glover Tamar-kali KimberlyNichole Karma Mayet Johnson Jason Walker Ganessa James, Electric Bass Robert “Chicken” Burke, Drums Mimi Jones, Upright Bass Juliette Jones, Violin V. Jeffrey Smith, Horns Ronny Drayton, KiKi Hawkins, Asa Asa Lovechild Adaku Utah, Dance

Historic: BRC Orchestra performed Curtis Mayfield’s Sparkle soundtrack

MAY 20, 2018

Shout out to LaFrae Sci, our musical director, and the killer orchestra she assembled for this beautiful performance in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn—Shelley Nicole, Asa Lovechild, KiKi Hawkins, Jared Michael Nickerson, V. Jeffrey Smith, Marcus Machado, and Leon Gruenbaum. And thanks, too, to our outdoor connection, Letitia Guillory and NYC Parks who thought of us for this edition of “Movies Under the Stars.”

brco sparkle art redux

Historic: BRC Orchestra performs STATE OF GRACE (A Grace Jones Retrospective), Joe’s Pub, NYC

Grace Jones is what so many others try to be—multidimensional, international, masculine, feminine, musical, visual, global, iconic, unexpected, irrepressible, undeniable, and Black. In short, everything the Black Rock Coalition has whole-heartedly supported since its founding almost 30 years ago.

The Black Rock Coalition Orchestra, as part of its Artist In Residence series at Joe’s Pub, presented ‘STATE OF GRACE,’ a freak-flag waving retrospective of the musical genius behind such enduring anthems as ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’, ‘My Jamaican Guy’, ‘Slave To The Rhythm’, among many others. Gordon Voidwell, whose latest project, Bad Etudes has been drawing universal critical raves, curated the band while rising star and sonic renegade Tecla providing Musical Direction for the night. Booties shook and minds shimmied in this sultry, sonic salute to the larger-than-life siren whose appeal crosses genres and generations alike.

The Black Rock Coalition Orchestra (BRCO) has been the official performance arm of the Black Rock Coalition (BRC) since 1986. Through its ever-evolving, ever-revolving incarnations, some of the most accomplished progressive artists of color have paid homage to significant bodies of work by noted progressive artists in some of the world’s most respected venues and festivals—honoring such artists as Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield, Betty Davis, Santana, Gil Scott-Heron and others.     The BRC is the nation’s only non-profit, member-supported organization founded to facilitate the maximum empowerment, exposure and expression of Black alternative musicians as artists.     “The BRC’s tribute shows have been a great fact of New York life since the activist group’s founding in 1985. The BRC has long been rich in underestimated talent.” -David Fricke, Rolling Stone

Historic: BRC Orchestra performs the music of Prince & Earth Wind & Fire, Bklyn

brco at iaaf 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.01.20 PM20160703_185736 Gene Williams and Darrell McNeill @ BRC Orchestra performance at IAAF

Historic: BRC Orchestra Rocks Aretha (Restoration Rocks, Restoration Plaza, BK)

Historic: BRC Orchestra Salute to Don Cornelius & Soul Train + Late Night Dance Party

May 26, 2012 @ BAMcafe Live
Wow. Lines around the block and love, love, love…for the music, the man, the band, and the show that brought Blackness and pride and soul-spirit grooves to our living room every week. Thanks to all who performed and thanks to those who gleefully embraced the eternal Soul Train line. We definitely feel like we did Don Cornelius and SOLAR Records proud.

Historic: BRC Orchestra salutes There’s A Riot Goin’ On

Luv n' Haight: The BRC Salutes Sly & The Family Stone's There's A Riot Goin' On

Saturday, September 24, 2016 @ BAMcafe Live, 9p, FREE

Luv n’ Haight: The BRC Salutes Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On

There’s A Riot Goin’ On was created during turbulent times. Its resonance with the current political climate helps us make a statement, through the music, that reflects our solidarity with today’s Black Lives Matter movement as well as other social-minded, action-based organizations. This performance also continued our Million Man Mosh initiative of bringing artists, activists, and fans together to move the needle for social change.

Hosted by Miles Marshall Lewis, author of There’s A Riot Goin’ On from the 33 1/3 book series

with words shared by Carmen Dixon, a representative of Black Lives Matter, New York Chapter

Historic: BRC Orchestra Tour of France


‘Sisters, Songwriters & Sirens’ celebrates the important and often under-appreciated contributions Black women make to culture through music, expression, perspective, and visibility. Heading overseas for a 6-show, 12-day tour of France, this was the third time our host Chateauvallon had called upon the talents of our all-female lineup to bring audiences to their feet in the name of Nina, Tina, Betty, Rosetta, Abbey, Big Mama, Maybelle, Aretha, Memphis Minnie, Miriam, Maxayn, Joan, Grace, Chaka, Jayne, Nona and Sugar Pie…not to mention originals by members of the killer Orchestra led by powerhouse Tamar-kali.   The 2 performances at Chateauvallon sold out, Paris had a respectable crowd for a three-night residence, but we killed in Lyon—selling out the 1200 seat venue and having the people on their feet screaming for more by the 7th song. We hope to be welcomed back soon…

Historic: BRC Orchestra’s A Tribe Called Quest Retrospective

Saturday, October 1, 2016 @ BAMcafe Live

The Black Rock Coalition Orchestra’s Tribe Called Quest Retrospective

Long recognized as one of the greatest hip-hop collectives of all time, A Tribe Called Quest took the genre to new heights sonically and lyrically by combining street beats with jazz influences—a style and a sound that laid the groundwork for new genres like acid jazz, trip hop, and drum and bass.

As part of SOURCE360 Festival, the BRC Orchestra paid respect to these hip-hop icons with a program that showcased some of the group’s best work, along with choice album cuts from classics like People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm, Low End Theory, and Midnight Marauders. The program also honored founding ATCQ member Malik ‘Phife Dog’ Taylor (who passed away in March 2016), and Weldon Irvine, a distinguished composer and teacher who mentored the group and many others within the BRC circles.

Part of the SOURCE360 Festival