I thoroughly enjoyed playing this number at Courtney Fadlin’s Sax Interpretations Ladies Edition, an online concert that took place towards the end of May this year.
‘Wade In The Water’ is special to me for several reasons. First, it is an African American jubilee song, a spiritual in which victims of the trasatlantic slave trade poured their faith and expressed their longing for freedom, making it very powerful, even if the lyrics are short and simple. Also, it is believed that this song was associated with the ‘underground railroad’, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by enslaved people to escape. Slavery is a very painful matter in Black history, so the fact that this song helped in both spiritual and practical ways is comforting, in a way.
At a musical level, ‘Wade In The Water’ has come to include a lot of interesting jazz elements in terms of key changes, orchestration and the quality of the brass lines, all of which make it a joy to play. It has a swing feel to it that makes you dance, or at least tap your feet whenever you hear it. Hope my version brings some warmth to your heart. Enjoy!