by Steven Pisano
If the name Ned Sublette rings a bell, you may remember that his band achieved fame in the late nineties and early oughts for country music flavored with Cuban stylings, including the hit "Cowboy Rumba." But, Sublette is also a formidable musicologist and historian, with a special focus on New Orleans and Cuban music.
At Symphony Space this past weekend, a range of artists read selections from Ned Sublette's critically acclaimed book "The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry" Among them were film director Jonathan Demme, R&B singer Nona Hendryx, writer Carl Hancock Rux, writer and country singer Kandia Krazy Horse, and jazz singer Lezlie Harrison, among others. Sharing the stage was the New Orleans sax legend Donald Harrison, along with Detroit Brooks on guitar and banjo, Zaccai Curtis on piano, and Darryl Staves on drums. Slides projected on a screen over the stage made the performance feel like we were in the middle of a Ken Burns film.