UPDATEFreedom First Jazz is a social justice project bringing attention to Keith LaMar, who is an author, poet and artist who has spent 30 years incarcerated in solitary confinement in Ohio. In partnership with Albert Marques and many musicians from across the world, he wrote an album, ‘Freedom First’, from his cell. This is the first album in history to be written from death row.
Freedom First began in New York City in 2020 as a concert series with musicians playing the jazz standards that LaMar credits to his survival of these long decades in solitary. He would speak live by cellphone between songs.
Albert, with a few musicians featured on the album, has been traveling around the world performing the album in front of an incredible variety of audiences, alongside Keith who calls in from Ohio.
Freedom First is being used not just to bring attention to Keith’s incredible writing talent, but also his case, as he is scheduled to be executed in November 2023.
UPDATE!! KEITH WAS GRANTED A REPRIEVE.
You can learn more about Keith’s case and how to get involved in stopping this injustice here.
You can learn more about the album and Freedom First’s origin here.
The album is available on all streaming services