Moonchild: Celebrating the Life & Music of Yusuf Salim

October 27–28

Presented as part of the Building Bridges Initiative at Duke University, funded, in part, by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art & the National Endowment for the Arts, & co-sponsored by the Duke Islamic Studies Center. In partnership with the Duke Middle East Studies Center.

Hayti Heritage Center, Durham, NC

Jazz pianist, composer, and mentor Yusuf Salim–known by the community as Brother Yusuf–left an indelible mark on the jazz scene in Durham, NC. This two-day celebration commemorates his life and legacy on Friday, October 27, 2023 with a big band performance led by jazz studies director Robert Trowers from North Carolina Central University. The celebration continues on Saturday, October 28, 2023 with a complementary lunch, panel discussion and documentary teaser, followed by an evening performance featuring five female-vocalists Yusuf mentored.

Evening 1

Friday, October 27 at 8 PM:

Big band performance assembled by Robert Trowers and the award-winning NCCU Jazz Band featuring multi-GRAMMY nominated Nnenna Freelon, 2024 NEA Jazz Master Gary Bartz, international jazz singer Eve Cornelious, bassist Rachiim Ausar-Sahu and GRAMMY-winning pianist Chip Crawford. 

Documentary Preview Screening & Panel Discussion

Saturday, October 28 at 12 PM:

12 PM: Complementary Lunch Reception
1 PM: Preview Screening + Discussion

Our special two-day celebration of the life and legacy of jazz pianist, composer, and mentor Yusuf Salim continues with a special lunch reception and sneak peek preview of “Moonchild,” a documentary film in production about Salim’s life by Durham filmmaker Kenny Dalsheimer. The conversation will be moderated by Darrell Stover and will feature Raciim Ausar-Sahu, Eve Cornelious, Kenny Dalsheimer, Nnenna Freelon and Noah Powell. It will touch upon Brother Yusuf’s lifelong musical and spiritual journey, his deep connections and powerful impact on many artists — including his approach to building community through music, a force for lasting connection and transformation.

Evening 2

Saturday, October 28 at 8 PM

This evening is an intimate set featuring five leading vocalists Yusuf mentored — Frankie Alexander, Eve Cornelious, Lois Deloatch, Nnenna Freelon, and Adia Ledbetter — spotlighting the lyrical explorations of his music and the jazz standards that linked Brother Yusuf with these women vocalists.