At the ceremony Xhosa played the standard ‘Georgia On My Mind’ introducing it as George On My Mind, dedicating it to Geoge Floyd. In the middle of the piece, about 1′ 40 secs in, he improvises the painful and poignant loss of breath. As an instrumentalist this was groundbreaking, reminiscent of Billie Holiday’s classic song ‘Strange Fruit’ about lynchings in the Deep South, where the opening bars brought the room to silence, and with which she closed out her night club sessions.
But all the reviews and write-ups omitted to mention Xhosa’s groundbreaking tribute to George Floyd.
Download and open with Quicktime here, Xhosa Cole
Hear him talk about race and jazz here, Xhosa,race&jazz