20th Annual Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival

Friday, May 15, 2015 - Saturday, May 16, 2015

Celebrate the 20th year of concerts highlighting the legacy of jazz pianist, composer, educator, and bandleader Mary Lou Williams with performances featuring some of today's most exciting and respected jazz musicians.



Run Time:

Approx. 3 hours

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Hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater

Today's leading jazz artists celebrate the life, legacy, and career of legendary pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams with two exciting concerts in the intimate Terrace Theater.
Hard-swinging drummer Sylvia Cuenca  who brings  her Organ Quintet, toured regularly with Clark Terry and Joe Henderson, among others, before breaking out as a bandleader herself. Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, who the late Marian McPartland called "a true virtuoso… warm, sensitive, exciting, and totally honest," is joined by her Berklee Quintet. Friday concludes with a set by pianist and bandleader Michele Rosewoman with her ensemble New Yor-Uba, whose most recent recording, 30 Years, A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America, garnered the number one Latin Jazz spot in NPR's 2013 critics poll.
The Ladies Sing the Blues project performs in an extended set, headlined by show-stopping vocalist Catherine Russell, daughter of the late Carline Ray, recipient of the 2005 Mary Lou Williams Jazz Award. Joining Russell are Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead alumnae vocalists Brianna Thomas and Charenee Wade. The vocalists will channel the spirit of "cakewalking baby" crossover singer Ethel Waters, and 1920s blues divas Bessie Smith ("the Empress of The Blues"), Mamie Smith ("the Queen of the Blues"), and Ma Rainey ("the Mother of the Blues"). Highlighting the Festival's 20th Anniversary, several past recipients of the Williams Jazz Award will be invited onstage for a special celebration.

Performance Timing: Approximately 3 hours--three 50-minute sets, with brief pauses after each set.

Note: Sylvia Cuenca will sign CDs following the performance, in the States Gallery outside the Terrace Theater.


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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!