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Kenny Werner Trio & Patricia Barber Trio
Saturday, March 14, 6:00 p.m. + 8:30 p.m.
Kenny Werner is a world-class pianist and composer known for his prolific output of compositions, recordings, and publications that impact audiences around the world.
Werner was awarded the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his seminal work “No Beginning No End,” a musical journey exploring tragedy and loss, death and transition, and the path from one lifetime to the next. Utilizing over 70 musicians, Werner’s third album for Half Note Records is an expansive composition featuring Joe Lovano, Judy Silvano, wind ensemble, choir, and string quartet.
Born in Brooklyn in 1951 and grew up in Long Island, Werner began playing and performing at a young age—first recording on television at the age of 11. Although he studied classical piano as a child, he enjoyed playing anything he heard on the radio.
His natural instinct for improvisation led Werner to the Berklee School of Music in 1970. From Boston, Werner traveled to Brazil with saxophonist Victor Assis Brasil and studied with his brother, pianist Joao Assis Brasil. This lead to “Effortless Mastery,” his landmark opus on how to allow the master musician from within to manifest.
Fellow Guggenheim Fellowship Award winner Patricia Barber is an internationally acclaimed American composer singer/pianist known for her harmonic sophistication and incisive lyrics. On her latest album, “Higher,” Barber has boldly blurred the otherworldly lines between poetry, jazz, and art song.
Born in the Chicago suburbs, Barber came by music naturally. Her father was Floyd “Shim” Barber, a saxophonist who worked with Glenn Miller’s orchestra, and the instrument beguiled her. In 1984 she followed her father’s footsteps into jazz and landed a five-night a week gig at the Gold Star Sardine Bar that put her and the venue on the map. From there she performed at festivals caroused the world and has released 18 albums.Find out more »
Monika Herzig’s Sheroes
Saturday, March 21, 7:00 p.m.
In 1987, the pedagogical institute in Weingarten, Germany awarded a scholarship for a one-year exchange program at the University of Alabama to one of their students, jazz pianist Monika Herzig. Together with her partner and guitarist Peter Kienle, she arrived in the United States on a one-way ticket, with one suitcase of belongings and one guitar in August 1988.
Since then she has completed her Doctorate in Music Education and Jazz Studies at Indiana University, where she is now a faculty member. As a touring jazz artist, she has performed at many prestigious jazz clubs and festivals, such as the Indy Jazz Fest, Cleveland’s Nighttown, Louisville’s Jazz Factory, the W.C.Handy Festival, Jazz in July in Bloomington and Cincinnati, Columbus’ Jazz & Rib Fest, to name just a few.
Created and led by Herzig, SHEROES is an all-female, all first-call talent group featuring a cast of international virtuosi including Leni Stern (guitar, Germany/USA); Jamie Baum (flutes, USA); Reut Regev(trombone, Israel/USA); Jennifer Vincent (bass, USA); and Rosa Avila (drums, Mexico). As an ensemble of empowerment, SHEROES is a musical force, operating with deftness, invention, enthusiasm, and ambition. Herzig does much of the writing and arranging, but Regev, Baum, Vincent, and Stern equally contribute compositions alongside covers, including “House of the Rising Sun” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
SHEROES not only heralds an era of greater and deeper consideration for women in jazz but as Jazz Journalist Association President Howard Mandel affirms in his liner notes, “That’s exactly what Monika and company does: present a model of empowerment with results that are good for everyone. Wherever you are on the gender continuum, you’ll like it. SHEROES make music!”Find out more »
Pierre Bensusan & Frank Vignola Trio
Thursday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.
Winner of the Independent Music Award, Rose d’Or of the Montreux Festival, and Best World Music Guitar Player by the readers of Guitar Player Magazine, Pierre Bensusan is recognized as one of the premier musicians of our time.
Born in Oran, French-Algeria in 1957, Bensusan’s family moved to Paris when he was 4 years old. He began formal studies on piano at the age of 7 and at 11 taught himself guitar. Influenced in those early days by the folk revival, Bensusan began first to explore his own diverse musical heritage and then moved to the horizons beyond.
Bensusan has the ability to make a single guitar sound like an entire band as he brings the audience on a mesmerizing musical journey. And yet, he is more than what any musician or music lover expects from a guitarist. He is a composer as well as a bilingual and brave improvisational vocalist, melding whistles and resonant low notes with something like his own scat technique.
Frank Vignola’s stunning virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, the Boston Pops, the New York Pops, and guitar legend Les Paul.
With over 1000 engagements in the last five years alone, Vignola has become one of the most popular and sought after guitarists on the international music scene. His genre-spanning music has brought him to 14 countries on three continents performing in some of the world’s most illustrious venues including the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, New York’s Lincoln Center, and Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy.
Vignola’s jaw-dropping technique explains why The New York Times deemed him “one of the brightest stars of the guitar.”Find out more »
Ann Hampton Callaway & Tierney Sutton
Friday, March 27, 7:00 p.m. + 9:00 p.m.
These two world-renowned jazz stars team up for the first time as their new albums share a common theme: unforgettable film songs. Ann Hampton Callaway’s focus is mostly on the iconic gems from the 1930s and 1940s, while Tierney Sutton lends her imagination to beloved contemporary classics. Featuring the Tierney Sutton Band rhythm section, the night is filled with solos and duets arranged in fresh ways featuring the two singers’ dazzling musicality and connection to the brilliant lyrics of their songs.
An Omaha native, Sutton found her footing as a singer and bandleader shortly after arriving in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s where she’s led one of the most durable working bands in jazz for the last two decades. She is a nine-time GRAMMY® nominated jazz vocalist that has received a nomination for every project she’s released in the past decade. Appropriately, her latest project is the 19-track opus “ScreenPlay”—an innovative approach to the history of film music released monthly as a series of digital EPs along with an accompanying podcast and background material.
An artist who has made indelible marks on jazz, cabaret, and on Broadway as a writer and performer. Callaway has composed over 250 songs for the stage, screen, and television making an indelible mark on jazz, cabaret, and Broadway. A prolific writer and performer, Callaway’s music has been recorded and performed by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Michael Feinstein, and Carole King. Callaway has shared the stage with great artists from many genres including George Shearing, Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Dr. John, Liza Minnelli, Betty Buckley, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Audra McDonald, Harvey Fierstein, Ramsey Lewis, and Kurt Elling. Callaway has released 15 albums since 1992 including her 2018 Shanachie Records session “Jazz Goes to the Movies,” an entrancing collection of songs from Hollywood’s golden age.
Get ready for a night of sensational cinematic delights!Find out more »
Saturday, April 4, 6:00 p.m. + 8:30 p.m.
The SFJAZZ Collective is an all-star, award-winning jazz ensemble comprising eight of the finest performers/composers at work in jazz today. Launched in 2004 by SFJAZZ in San Francisco, the SFJAZZ Collective has become one of the most exciting and acclaimed groups on the jazz scene. The current octet is a burnished international ensemble comprising tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, trumpetist Etienne Charles, guitarist Adam Rogers, vocalist Martin Luther McCoy, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Brewer, and drummer Obed Calvaire.
Each year, the SFJAZZ Collective creates and performs eight new works and eight new arrangements of tunes by an honored artist. This year, the group will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of both Sly & The Family Stone’s “Stand!” and Miles Davis’ “In A Silent Way.” Through the pioneering approach of simultaneously honoring jazz’s recent history while championing the music’s up-to-the-minute directions, the Collective embodies SFJAZZ’s commitment to jazz as a living, ever-relevant art form.
As soloists, composers, and bandleaders, the SFJAZZ Collective represents what’s happening now in jazz. They also demonstrate that jazz has truly become an international language. Hailing from Oklahoma, Baltimore, Miami, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and New York, the Collective’s multi-cultural lineup mirrors the explosion of jazz talent around the globe. However, the jazz community only reached its current state by maintaining its traditions while simultaneously embracing innovation. This, too, is the essence of the SFJAZZ Collective. These exceptional artists come together in the name of jazz as a constantly evolving, quintessentially modern music.Find out more »
Nicole Mitchell: Radical Transformation: For Angela Davis
Saturday, April 18, 7:30 p.m.
Nicole M. Mitchell is an award-winning flutist, composer, bandleader, and educator. Repeatedly awarded top flutist of the year by Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association, Mitchell initially emerged from Chicago’s innovative music scene in the late 1990s, and her music celebrates contemporary African American culture. She is the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Sonic Projections, and Ice Crystal.
Activist and scholar Angela Davis has been an incredible force for social justice for over 50 years. Mitchell’s “Radical Transformation” is a musical celebration of Davis’ courage and resilience. It strives to amplify Davis’ activist vision and concerns towards creating a better world.
The former first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Mitchell celebrates endless possibilities by creating visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar with the unknown.
In January 2018, Mitchell was the Artist in Residence at New York’s Winter Jazz Fest, where she performed four suites of her compositions. As a composer, Mitchell has been commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Institute of Chicago, the Stone, the French American Jazz Exchange, Chamber Music America, Chicago Jazz Festival, and Chicago Sinfonietta. Mitchell has performed with creative music luminaries including Craig Taborn, Roscoe Mitchell, Joelle Leandre, Anthony Braxton, Geri Allen, George Lewis, Mark Dresser, Steve Coleman, Anthony Davis, Myra Melford, Bill Dixon, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ed Wilkerson, Rob Mazurek, Billy Childs, and Hamid Drake. She is a recipient of the Herb Alpert Award, the Chicago 3Arts Award, and the Doris Duke Artist Award. Mitchell was recently named by the University of Pittsburgh as the William S. Dietrick III Endowed Chair Director of Jazz Studies and Creative Arts Ensemble.Find out more »
Friday, May 1, 7:30 p.m. + Saturday, May 2, 7:30 p.m.
The Yellowjackets have consistently forged ahead in their evolving artistic statements. The band has recorded close to 30 albums, been nominated for 17 GRAMMY® Awards, and has adventurously amplified the eclectic, electro-acoustic soundscape creating a unique jazz sound since its fusion beginnings.
While the Los Angeles-based Yellowjackets have been a creative force on the jazz scene since 1981 when they recorded their eponymous debut, their fourth Mack Avenue Records album, “Raising Our Voice,” once again ups the ante with bold new strides.
“The band keeps moving forward,” says saxophonist Bob Mintzer who joined the group in 1990. “It’s one of the few partnership bands in the last four decades. It’s democratic, laissez-faire and accommodating to everyone in the band to contribute. We’re constantly reinventing ourselves as a reflection of what’s happening in the world.”
The Jackets are comprised of pianist/keyboardist/co-founder Russell Ferrante, bassist Dane Alderson in his second recording with the group and drummer Will Kennedy, who joined the band in 1987 and then in 2000 took a 10-year hiatus before returning to the drum chair.
Mintzer sees a bright future for the Yellowjackets. “What attracts me about the group is how stylistically broad we are,” he says. “There are no barriers. We’re free to try new things without making the music overly complex. I always say this is the band you always wanted to be in. We’ll see where we go next.”Find out more »
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Friday, May 15, 7:00 p.m. & Saturday May 16, 6:00 p.m. + 8:30 p.m.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JLCO) comprises 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today. Led by Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director, this remarkably versatile orchestra performs a vast repertoire ranging from original compositions and Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works to rare historic compositions and masterworks by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, and many others. The JLCO has been the Jazz at Lincoln Center resident orchestra since 1988, performing and leading educational events in New York, across the United States, and around the globe. Guest conductors have included Benny Carter, John Lewis, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Santos, Paquito D’Rivera, Jon Faddis, Robert Sadin, David Berger, and Loren Schoenberg.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961, Marsalis began his classical training on trumpet at age 12, entered The Juilliard School at age 17, and then joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He made his recording debut as a leader in 1982 and has since recorded more than 60 jazz and classical recordings, which have won him nine GRAMMY® Awards. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz GRAMMY® Awards in the same year and repeated this feat in 1984. Marsalis is also an internationally respected teacher and spokesman for music education, and has received honorary doctorates from dozens of U.S. universities and colleges. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz artist to be awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio “Blood on the Fields.” In 2001, he was appointed Messenger of Peace by Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and he has also been designated cultural ambassador to the United States of America by the U.S. State Department through their CultureConnect program.Find out more »