12th Annual
Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival

Thursday, May 10, 2007 - Saturday, May 12, 2007

The festival marks its 12th thrilling year with star-studded performances featuring the world's top female jazz artists.



This event has already closed.
Please use the event calendar to search for current events.


All of the 2006 concerts sold out--so be sure to reserve your seats now for this popular Kennedy Center showcase featuring today's top female jazz artists. The Washington Post says the festival "speaks volumes about the contributions women have made to jazz--and continue to make--both here and abroad." 

Individual concert tickets $30 - or SAVE when you purchase all three concerts together with the special $81 "Trio Package." Trio Package not available online - visit the Box Office or order by phone at (202) 467-4600.

Lynne Arriale
Composer, leader, and pianist Lynne Arriale has developed a singular voice through her compelling
originals known for their heartfelt, folkloric quality and her reinventions of pop classics. The New York Times says, "Lynne Arriale's brilliant musicianship and bandstand instincts place her among the top jazz pianists of the day."

Karen Briggs
There are violinists who, although classically trained, perform primarily non-classical music. Karen Briggs is one of those "hybrid" violinists. Her sound indicates exposure to gospel, Latin, classical, African, jazz, and R&B music. Her playing combines the rip and energy of Jimi Hendrix, a unique "vocal-like" soul, and the bop and swing phrasing of Charlie Parker with embellishment of rhythmic bowing. Briggs played in the 2001 and 2004 Women in Jazz festivals.

Flora Purim, featuring Airto
From electric and Latin jazz to fusion, Brazilian vocalist Flora Purim shows "few can match the sheer beauty of her voice" (USA Today). Named four times as Down Beat Magazine's Best Female Jazz Vocalist and a two-time Grammy nominee, Purim is joined by her husband, percussionist Airto Moreira, with whom she has been performing for more than three decades.

Mayuko Katakura
As the winner of the second Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Pianist Competition held last year at the Kennedy Center, Mayuko Katakura was invited to perform in this year's festival. Born in Sendai, Japan, the daughter of two jazz musicians, Katakura seemingly has jazz in her DNA. She began playing piano at age five, and through her childhood studied mostly classical music. As she got older, Thelonious Monk became her main influence.

Anat Cohen
Originally from Tel-Aviv, Israel, Anat Cohen has been performing around the world, sharing her astounding musicianship and becoming a major force on the global world music and jazz scene. Idiomatically conversant with modern and traditional jazz, classical music, Brazilian choro, Argentine tango, and an expansive timeline of Afro-Cuban styles, she has established herself as one of the primary voices of her generation on both the tenor saxophone and clarinet since arriving in New York City in 1998.

Jeannie Cheatham and the Sweet Baby Blues Band
Unrestrained, exuberant, soulful, rollicking, growling, howling, roaring, wicked, virtuous, wild, and truthful. Those are just a few of the words to describe the Kansas City blues–style performances by singer-pianist Jeannie Cheatham and the Sweet Baby Blues Band. This performance is dedicated to bass trombonist Jimmy Cheatham, Jeannie's husband of 47 years and her longtime musical partner, who passed away in January 2007. The motto of the Sweet Baby Blues Band is "Nobody goes home feeling bad." And nobody does.

The Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award: Jane Ira Bloom 
Soprano saxophonist/composer Jane Ira Bloom has been steadfastly developing her unique voice on the soprano saxophone for more than 25 years. Jazz critic Bill Milkowski has called her "a true jazz original...a restlessly creative spirit, and a modern day role model for any aspiring musician who dares to follow his or her own vision." At Friday's performance, this leading lady of jazz will receive the 2007 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award in tribute to her lifetime of service to jazz.

Pianist/composer Hiromi mesmerized the jazz community with her 2003 Telarc debut, Another Mind. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Hiromi says, "I don't want to put a name on my music. It's just the union of what I've been listening to and what I've been learning. It has some elements of classical music, rock, and jazz, but I don't want to give it a name." Jazz great Ahmad Jamal, a co-producer on Another Mind, calls her "nothing short of amazing."

Stephanie Jordan
Vocalist Stephanie Jordan "sets hearts aflutter" says All About Jazz. "She's a singer with poise and pizzazz, with a voice and an appealing look that bring to mind Carmen McRae and Lena Horne." Jordan's lyrical style has also been compared to Norah Jones and Diana Krall, while others say it evokes living legends Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves. She was introduced to many new fans when she appeared on "Higher Ground," the Jazz at Lincoln Center concert for Hurricane Katrina relief.

Ann Patterson's Maiden Voyage
Under the leadership of saxophonist Ann Patterson, Los Angeles–based Maiden Voyage is one of the most talked-about big bands around. Founded in 1980 in a traditionally male-dominated jazz world, the 17-piece ensemble quickly outgrew the novelty of being an all-women's band, achieving a high level of respect. Performing a musical tribute to Melba Liston (the 1997 Women in Jazz Award winner), the band returns to the Center for the first time since the 2000 Women in Jazz festival.


IAJE Sisters in Jazz Collegiate All-Stars
In cooperation with the International Association for Jazz Education
FRIDAY, MAY 11 AT 12:30–2:30 P.M. & 6–7 P.M.
Third Annual Women in Jazz Pianist Competition
A Performance Plus™ Event
In honor of Mary Lou Williams, the Kennedy Center once again presents this exciting two-part pianist competition, in which five finalists get to display their talents in front of Millennium Stage audiences and a jury of renowned international musicians. The winner will be announced later the same evening during the festival's 7 p.m. performance in the Terrace Theater. The winner will enjoy the opportunity to perform as part of the 13th annual festival in 2008.
SATURDAY, MAY 12 at 12:30–2:30 P.M.
Jam Session
Led by bassist Miriam Sullivan, with drummer Lucianna Padmore and the winner from the 2007 Women in Jazz Pianist Competition (selected the prior evening), musicians are invited to bring their instruments and join this exciting impromptu jam session!

This event has already closed.

Please use the event calendar to search for current events.

All events and artists subject to change without prior notice.

All ticket prices are subject to change based on demand. Purchase early to lock in prices and the best seats!