If you could use a break from your day-to-day COVID-19 routine that offers a beat and a groove, tune in to Coastal Carolina University’s Cultural Arts Facebook page.
CCU’s own Steve Bailey, a prolific artist widely known for his pioneering work on the six-string fretless bass, will perform with five-time Grammy award-winning bassist Victor Wooten July 16 at noon on Edwards Live.
Bailey, artist-in-residence in the CCU Department of Music and chair of the bass department at Berklee College of Music in Boston, will highlight the release of his new album Carolina, a compilation of 17 duets between Bailey and prominent artists including Willie Nelson, Bakithi Kumalo, Becca Stevens and Wooten. Wooten, visiting scholar in performance studies at Berklee, will play from his 2018 album, Trypnotix.
Edwards Live is a CCU online initiative created in Spring 2020 to provide artistic programming to the Grand Strand community during an unpredictable time with a predictable shortage of live entertainment. It’s been serving weekly doses of hope and beauty for three months, each week bringing multiple events featuring art, music, theater, lectures and discussion to unite viewers via social media channels for shared moments of inspiration and reward.
Bailey’s virtual performance will include works from Carolina in addition to solo pieces and duets from Bailey and Wooten, with Bailey performing from Myrtle Beach and Wooten from Nashville. Following the performance, Matt White, CCU assistant professor of trumpet and coordinator of ensembles and commercial music and jazz in the Department of Music, will join Bailey and Wooten for a question/answer session and discussion.
For Wooten and Bailey, who have appeared on the Wheelwright stage for numerous gigs in the past, the time is right to connect online with a CCU-based audience.
“Given our long relationship with the Grand Strand, and Coastal being the place where I played my first notes of jazz music, which led to my whole career, I will always relish the idea of coming back and being a part of anything CCU-related,” Bailey said. “It’s always just fun, and Victor loves it as well.”
In an initiative similar to Edwards Live, Bailey has been working with Wooten to produce weekly webinars featuring music, discussion and interaction among musicians who have been left without gigs, classes, and, in some cases, jobs in the wake of COVID-19.
“We’ve gotten a worldwide following with thousands of people watching,” Bailey said. “Everybody’s just hanging out. The webinars are all free -- nobody’s getting paid to do them -- but people are just clinging to each other. It’s really bizarre; people before who were hard to get on the phone are now sitting down for three hours and pouring their hearts out about what they’re going through.”
The pandemic, Bailey said, has transformed competition into collaboration.
“It’s fun to get together and share art with people who would otherwise be our competitors. Now, we’re all locked together and getting through it together and sharing information,” Bailey said.
Each week, the webinars elicit a great deal of post-event response.
“I get hundreds of emails every week, and there’s a big common denominator in all of them: People share their thanks, say it has been a little light or ray of hope, and provide reassurance that it’s not just them going through this. It’s all of us.”
Rather than the standard 45-minute timeframe, this Edwards Live event will span 90 minutes to ensure time for the performance and a fully-developed discussion among Bailey, Wooten, White and musicians and audience members in attendance. Bailey’s public weekly webinar will follow 30 minutes later, at 2 p.m., for those who wish to extend the experience.
To attend the Edwards Live event featuring Bailey and Wooten, visit the Cultural Arts at Coastal Carolina University Facebook page at facebook.com/CCUCulturalArts or the Edwards College YouTube page at youtube.com/channel/UCyuoadMPb6xMKSMFawl9ofw/videos.