Skip to main content

Luke Stewart interview, 2021-06-20

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc031_07.wav

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.


  • Creation: 2021-06-20


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Luke Stewart is a D.C./NYC-based musician and organizer of important musical presentations and has a strong presence in the national and international Improvised Music community. He is noted in Downbeat Magazine in 2020 as one of “25 most influential jazz artists” of his generation. He was profiled in the Washington Post in early 2017 as “holding down the jazz scene,” selected as “Best Musical Omnivore” in the Washington City Paper’s 2017 “Best of DC,” chosen as “Jazz Artist of the Year” for 2017 in the District Now, and in the 2014 People Issue of the Washington City Paper as a “Jazz Revolutionary,” citing his multifaceted cultural activities throughout DC. In New York City, Luke collaborated with Arts for Art in hosting the first ever “Free Jazz Convention” to share resources and strategies among the community. He is also a presence in the greater community of Creative Musicians, with regular multi-city ensembles including. He has performed at many important venues in D.C., New York City, and around the world. Luke Stewart holds a BA in International Studies and a BA in Audio Production from American University, and an MA in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship from the New School.


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes


Luke Stewart talks about being born in the Mississippi Gulf Coast and moving to Washington, D.C. in pursuit of music and historical connections to the legacy of radical music and culture in the capital. His approach to performance is that of recognizing musical legacies of the cities, where he is based, and using radical music and culture as tools of resistance and call for social justice. He meets a community of improvising musicians and elders while working at WPFW. Luke continues to meet and collaborate with creative musicians in various DIY venues around the city. He hosts DIY events in his rehearsal spaces, including Red Door and Union Arts. Together with collaborator Giovanni Russonello, Luke co-founds CapitalBop to preserve and present important jazz acts in the district. As one of the founding members of Rhizome DC, Luke Stewart hosts many memorable improvising sessions and performances, holds a month-long residency, and more in the space. As Rhizome DC is getting ready to vacate the current house, Luke is certain that the community with its established following and relative financial and structural stability will continue operations if not in Washington, D.C., then in a more affordable area within the DMV.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001