I Got To Keep Moving

Balance feat. Bill Harris and Gerald Cleaver
A Musical and Literary Event
April 2019

Bringing together three generations of Detroit artists in an interdisciplinary collaboration, “I Got To Keep Moving” featured stories from author Bill Harris’ new collection of the same title, with new original music composed and performed by Balance and drummer Gerald Cleaver. The piece was performed in three of the region’s stalwart cultural institutions: the Detroit Public Library Main Branch, The Toledo Museum of Art, and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance.

 

A Guggenheim Award recipient and the Kresge Foundations’ Eminent Artist for 2011, Bill Harris has been described as “a compelling force in Detroit’s — and the nation’s — literary community for decades” (Kresge Arts in Detroit). His plays have been produced over one hundred times nationwide, and he is also the author of volumes of poetry, and collections of critiques of American history.

 

Featured in the musical ensemble was pioneering drummer and improviser Gerald Cleaver. According to the Detroit Free Press, Cleaver “more than any other Detroit jazz export of his generation… has earned his reputation on the cutting edge.” Cleaver has performed with a who’s who of the jazz and creative improvised music community, including luminaries Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Reggie Workman, and Muhal Richard Abrams.

 

“I Got To Keep Moving” featured solo and musically accompanied readings from Harris, and newly composed compositions by Malis and Elliot inspired by Harris’ tales.  The stories, set from the 1830s until the mid 20th century, vividly and deftly describe the inner and outer lives of a wide cast of characters as they navigate changing circumstances in the southern and Midwest United States. Addressing vital aspects of life—hope, family, violence, movement, and memory—the stories in I Got to Keep Moving are as mesmerizing as they are revealing.