Albany Records in cooperation with the Center for Black Music Research is initiating a series undertaking to document the musics of the African diaspora. This first volume features two orchestral works one by Mary Watkins, who is an eclectic composer and pianist of the classical and jazz traditions and the other by Olly Wilson, one of the most distinguished composers of his generation. Watkins' work swings, grooves, and hearkens to the roots of African-American musical expression. Elements of jazz, traditional African music and popular forms are merged with contemporary techniques and colorful orchestrations. A veritable tour de force, Wilson's multimovement song cycle features three vocal soloists and a chamber ensemble that highlights extensive percussion. Drawing from sources such as spirituals and African-American poets, Wilson uses musical and textual emblems from African-American poetry in inventive ways that both surprise and entice.