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Jazz

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Upcoming Events


NPR's A Jazz Piano Christmas

Sat, Dec 1

Join the Kennedy Center and NPR for this annual holiday tradition highlighting jazz pianists and their favorite seasonal music! This year, Jason Moran will be joined by Booker T. Jones and James Francies, among others. This perennially sold-out event will be recorded for future broadcast on NPR and streaming online.

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Jason Moran—James Reese Europe and The Harlem Hellfighters: The Absence of Ruin

Sat, Dec 8, 2018, 8:00 PM

Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran presents the U.S. premiere of his tribute to early ragtime musician & WWI veteran James Reese Europe. Through new music and stunning visuals, including a special film component directed by John Akomfrah (The March) with cinematography by Oscar®-nominated Bradford Young (Selma, Arrival), Moran will explore how Europe’s achievements continue to affect today’s culture and sound.

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Discovery Artist in the KC Jazz Club: Quiana Lynell

Fri, Dec 14

Enjoy festive holiday favorites with soul! Winner of the 2017 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, New Orleans–based Quiana Lynell performs seasonal classics, approaching the music as a storyteller. Her sound—a mix of jazz, classical, soul, and funk—is unlike any artist’s today.

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A Jazz New Year's Eve: Patti Austin's Bebop Hip Hop Ella featuring Trevor Lawrence Jr.

Mon, Dec 31

Ring in 2019 in style with a night of Hip Hop scatting and Bebop-Hip Hop mashups celebrating Ella Fitzgerald! This year stars legendary jazz and pop singer Patti Austin and acclaimed Hip Hop drummer Trevor Lawrence Jr. Your ticket includes the Grand Foyer Party, with festive dancing to great bands, a countdown to midnight, a big balloon drop, and more.

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Bobby Sanabria MultiVerse Big Band: West Side Story Reimagined

Fri, Jan 18

With an all-new instrumental orchestration of lively Latin jazz, electrifying percussionist/bandleader Bobby Sanabria and his MultiVerse Big Band pay tribute to the beloved Broadway masterpiece that redefined the American musical.

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David Sánchez: CARIB

Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 7:00 PM

The Grammy®-winning Puerto Rican saxophonist's deeply personal new project uses modern jazz to explore the kinship between the West African drum rhythms of Yuba, Calinda, and Sika and music from Haiti, Carriacou, and his native Puerto Rico.

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Discovery Artist in the KC Jazz Club: Camille Thurman with the Darrell Green Trio

Fri, Feb 1

Multi-talented saxophonist, flutist, and vocalist Camille Thurman has amazed audiences all over the world. She returns to the KC Jazz Club headlining a night dedicated to her own imaginative artistry and warm voice.

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I AM A MAN featuring Ron Miles, Brian Blade, Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, and Scott Colley

Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 7:00 PM

On the day before his assassination in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood alongside the striking sanitation workers of Memphis who carried signs declaring “I AM A MAN.” Ron Miles, “one of the finest trumpeters in jazz today” (Jazz Times), makes his most compelling artistic statement to date with a night of music from his new project, a record titled after this simple, powerful phrase that challenged centuries of discrimination. 

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NEA Jazz Master Archie Shepp's All-Star Tribute to John Coltrane featuring Jason Moran

Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 8:00 PM

In this momentous concert event, Shepp celebrates the boundless impact and talent of his good friend and mentor. He’s joined by pianist and Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran and other contemporary greats, including Amir ElSaffar, Darryl Hall, Nasheet Waits, and Marion Rampal.

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Discovery Artist in the KC Jazz Club: James Francies

Fri, Feb 15

The pianist, composer, and newly signed Blue Note musician is no stranger to the Kennedy Center stage. Last season, he dazzled audiences in José James’s Lean on Me and the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert. Now, the spotlight belongs to him as he performs selections from Flight, Vol. 1, his debut Blue Note recording.

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KC Jazz Club: Pedrito Martinez and Alfredo Rodríguez

Sat, Feb 16

Two Cuban jazz masters--percussionist Pedrito Martinez and pianist Alfredo Rodríguez--collaborate in a rare concert experience with an exciting exploration of their homeland. 

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NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves

Mar 8 - Mar 9, 2019

The pre-eminent jazz vocalist in the world today, Dianne Reeves’s talents are rich in each and every song in her limitless repertoire. She has received five Grammy Awards® for Best Jazz Vocal Album, an honorary doctorate of music from Juilliard, and was recently named a 2018 NEA Jazz Master. 

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Nicholas Payton: Afro-Caribbean Mixtape

Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 7:00 PM

The New Orleans–born trumpeter, pianist, singer, and composer presents his signature BAM, “Black American Music,” exploring art beyond the confines of genre classification, with pieces from his ambitious 2017 album that fuses the musical traditions of his Louisiana hometown with be-bop, swing, blues, and soul, all rooted in the rhythms of Africa.

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Crossroads Club: Nate Smith + KINFOLK with Van Hunt

Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 9:00 PM

Drummer Nate Smith is joined by neo-soul singer/songwriter Van Hunt for Smith’s first solo project—a fresh and restless urban pop/jazz hybrid that will have everyone in the Crossroads Club grooving easy. All tickets are general admission—standing room only.

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NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron

Fri, Mar 22

A giant of modern mainstream piano, the NEA Jazz Master celebrates his 75th year with his highly anticipated return to the Kennedy Center—this time with a quintet playing music from his new album in a swinging program of contemporary hard bop. 

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KC Jazz Club: Mary Halvorson's Code Girl (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Thu, Mar 28

Mary Halvorson is unlike any other guitarist. A brilliant musical dissenter, her dynamic style stands at the interface of jazz, rock, improvisation, and avant-garde. Halvorson’s quintet makes its KC Jazz Club debut with rich and wayward sounds from her cutting-edge and critically acclaimed new album. 

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KC Jazz Club: Tyshawn Sorey (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Fri, Mar 29

Tyshawn Sorey isn’t just a jazz musician—he’s a conductor, composer, scholar, educator, multi-instrumentalist, and undeniable champion of artistic evolution. A recent winner of a MacArthur Fellowship, Sorey’s revolutionary rhythms flash brightly from behind the dark sunglasses that he wears at every electrifying show.

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KC Jazz Club: Amir ElSaffar and Two Rivers Ensemble (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Sat, Mar 30

The Iraqi American trumpeter Amir ElSaffar weaves together Middle Eastern musical languages with jazz, pushing the boundaries of each tradition. His Two Rivers Ensemble’s unique fusion has won accolades from DownBeat Magazine to rowdy ovations at the Newport Jazz Festival.

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Henry Threadgill: Double Up Plays Double Up Plus (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Fri, Apr 5, 2019, 7:30 PM

The saxophonist/flautist makes his highly anticipated Kennedy Center debut accompanied by his mind-blowing ensemble on piano, saxophone, drums, tuba, and cello. A mentor of Jason Moran, who calls Threadgill his “favorite living composer,” the Pulitzer Prize winner brings his avant-garde musical innovations and intense, unyielding originality to audiences in the spring of 2019.
 

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Vijay Iyer Sextet (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Sat, Apr 6

"One of the most interesting and vital young pianists in jazz today" (Pitchfork), the pianist and composer catapults his audiences into an exotic realm of sound where American jazz and traditional Indian music seamlessly intersect. 

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Discovery Artist in the KC Jazz Club: Michael Mayo

Fri, Apr 12

Phenomenal vocalist Michael Mayo is a New England Conservatory, Thelonious Monk Institute, and Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead alumnus and one of the leading artists to watch. His classic style and lively energy will close our Discovery Artists series with a bang!

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Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran—Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration

Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 8:00 PM

Jason and Alicia Hall Moran’s compelling new concert experience examines the major demographic shift known as the Great Migration, in which millions of African Americans left the American South after emancipation for the North, West, and beyond. Vocalist Smokie Norful and the Imani Winds quintet join them for music, spoken word, visual media, and more.

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2019 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert

Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 8:00 PM

The National Endowment for the Arts will honor the 2019 NEA Jazz Masters— Bob Dorough, Stanley Crouch, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Maria Schneider—with a free concert. More information about the concert and how to reserve free tickets will be available in Spring 2019.


Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival

May 10 - May 11, 2019

Hosted by NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater, this year’s 24th annual festival includes two nights of sensational music. May 10's program is Feed the Fire, a night dedicated to prolific pianist and composer Geri Allen, while May 11's program is TBD. Performers for both concerts to be announced at a later date. Tickets may be purchased for one or both programs. 

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The Messengers Legacy

Fri, May 31

Drummer Ralph Peterson Jr. assembles an all-star group for a tribute to The Jazz Messengers, the prolific big band collective led by his mentor, the late Art Blakey. Marking the 100th year of Blakey’s birth with selections from a new recording, the band will include Peterson on percussion, saxophonists Bobby Watson and Bill Pierce, bassist Essiet Essiet, pianist Geoffrey Keezer, and trumpeter Brian Lynch.

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