Black Girls Discover The Transformations Suite at MOCA?

I hate that I got there late. I missed out a little on whatever magic Samora and the guys mesmerized the crowd with at MOCA  last Friday night. I walked in on Jehbreal doing his thing on the mic, Samora laying hands on the piano, and a spellbound crowd witnessing it all.

The guys making magic.

The guys making magic.

I saw it on Facebook about a week ago. Curious, I purchased tickets to find out what The Transformations Suite was all about (and I overdue a visit to MOCA).

I soon found out that The Transformations Suite performed by:

  • Samora Pinderhughes (bandleader, piano, vocals)
  • Lucas Roberto Pino (tenor sax)

  • Jehbreal Muhammad Jackson (vocals)

  • James Macbride (drums)

  • Clovis Nicolas (bass)


  • An artistic FIGHT BACK

  • A bridge between then (the Civil Rights Movement) and now (Black Lives Matter)

  • A jazz, spoken word, and digital commentary of the social injustices experienced by African Americans in this country

Visit the site to get a taste and even purchase the digital album.

Back to the night.

During the Q&A, Samora Pinderhughes, a Bay Area composer and pianist gave CLE the lowdown on what inspired and influenced his project.

In the making over three years, he was inspired by Baldwin's The Cross of Redemption. The musical influences of Marvin Gaye, Wayne Shorter, and Lupe Fiasco also made appearances.

The Transformations Suite Performers, me, and MOCA Curator of Public Programs, Diedre McPherson

The Transformations Suite Performers, me, and MOCA Curator of Public Programs, Diedre McPherson

Six months to write and a year to pull together, The Transformations Suite has evolved with each performance. For the Cleveland rendition, the 50 year legacy of Carl Stokes’ mayorship provided a hometown focus.

(Side Note: Tri C has planned a year long tribute commemorating Stokes with events around CLE. Check out to learn more.)

Samora’s dad, a teacher in the Bay Area who imparted to his son the importance of race relations, was the impetus behind the name of the project.

Transformations feels bigger than mere change. (I wonder if making it plural means that the transformation is collective or multifaceted.)

That's the feeling I got from the short time I was there.

(What will I do now, especially with the craziness happening in our world? What will my Transformations include?)

I'm glad I got a chance to experience The Transformations Suite.

A beautiful young lady commented during the Q&A that it can't just be entertainment.

Whatever  “it” is, she's right. Too many have died for us to be entertained and not ever transformed.

ft. The Turf Fienz. also ft. Shariffa Ali, Chris Myers, Aden Munassar, Vuyo Sotashe, Jules Latimer, Jay Knowles, Savannah Harris, Kyle Poole, Brandi Stewart, JJ Jeter, Carolyn Smith, Jeremie Harris, Jasminn Johnson, Sienna Pinderhughes, Sofia Snow, and Brandon Hall. Directed by Samora Pinderhughes & Stefon Bristol. Music from "The Transformations Suite" by Samora Pinderhughes.

And I'll go back to MOCA soon. I liked the vibe there.