40 Fingers: Four artists mix their diverse styles during an evening of jazz at TBAAL

40 Fingers Concert
40 Fingers Concert

The Dallas Examiner

Shelton Summons, Caleb Sean McCampbell, Shaun Martin and Xavier Jackson will be on stage Saturday at 8 p.m., bringing their personal jazz style to the Naomi Bruton Main Stage at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters as part of the third annual 40 Fingers concert.

The four piano players will perform together with a backup band before presenting solo performances to showcase their personal style, Martin said.

“Caleb is more of the experimental jazz,” Martin explained. “Shelton is more of the traditional jazz. I’m more of the ‘funk jazz soul.’ Xavier is soul and blues all day long.”

Summons has dedicated his career to music ministry as the music director at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. However, he still makes time to perform locally.

McCampbell is an award-winning musician who began performing at age 3. He made his national debut in Proline’s “Just for Me” hair care product commercial. He has traveled the world performing with other artists, such as Michael Bublé, Erykah Badu, Chrisette Michelle, Gerald Albright and more. Also, he has helped produce and write many popular songs, such as Lecrae’s Wish, Beyoncé’s Best Thing I Never Had, Talib Kweli’s Mr. International, and Little Brother’s After the Party, to name a few.

Martin began playing the drums in church at 4 years old, then later began taking piano lessons. His career has been highlighted by winning several Grammys: two for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album, Best Gospel Album and Best R&B Performance. He has worked with such artists as Kirk Franklin, Snarky Puppy, Tamela Mann, Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams and The Weeknd. After the concert, Martin will continue his tour schedule, which will include the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Italy.

Jackson has performed since he was 6 years old. Among his mentors is the legendary Lucky Peterson and Curtis King, founder of TBAAL. He has performed with such artists as Shirley Murdock, Lalah Hathaway, K-Ci and JoJo and Bobby Brown. His debut album was Me & My Old Lady. Jackson is the CEO at Sound Over Genre Global Media and has worked on the movie soundtracks of The A Word, In the Flesh and Snatch. His latest album is Soul of a Man.

40 Fingers is a piano concert, but Jackson will also play the organ and Martin will play the keyboard and a vocoder.

The four musicians coincidentally attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Martin added. They met through choirs and other musical activities around town.

Eventually Curtis King, founder of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, said he wanted the four to come together for one concert, and 40 Fingers was born.

“We were doing individual nights at the Black Academy as showcases,” he said. “I think he felt it would be better if we came together and did one showcase.”

The concert will have no rules, regulations or limitations, Martin said.

“Definitely a rock ‘em, sock ‘em good time,” he said.

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