skip navigation | text only | accessibility | site map
Kennedy Center Jazz is sponsored by: Cadillac

2007 - 2008 Jazz Schedule

previous seasonNext Season

[Past Events.]
Sep. 28 - 29, 2007 - Allan Harris: Long Live the King: A Tribute to Nat King Cole
[Allan Harris: <i>Long Live the King: A Tribute to Nat King Cole</i>.]

A "velvet-voiced jazz singer, with music in his veins" (Variety), Allan Harris has won praise for projecting the warmth of Tony Bennett, the rhythm of Frank Sinatra, and the sly elegance of Nat King Cole. He opens the 2007–2008 jazz season with selections from his much-anticipated CD Nat King Cole, Long Live the King, recorded live at the KC Jazz Club during his January 2005 sold-out concerts. Celebrating the CD's release, Harris sings such classic favorites as "L.O.V.E.," "Mona Lisa," and of course "Unforgettable."

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Oct. 5 - 6, 2007 - Dianne Reeves
[Dianne Reeves.]

Vocalist Dianne Reeves's "three-plus octaves, diva-like delivery, and intimate sense of song have long made her one of the most compelling vocalists in jazz," proclaims the Seattle Times. In 2005, she was featured in the acclaimed film Good Night, and Good Luck, as well as on its soundtrack. Her most recent CD, Music for Lovers, is a collection of great romantic performances by Dianne Reeves, including "My Funny Valentine," "You Taught My Heart to Sing," "In Your Eyes," and more. The four-time Grammy winner is currently working on her first album of original compositions in six years, due in 2008.

Media partner: WAMU 88.5 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Fri., Oct. 12, 2007 - Oliver Lake Organ Quintet
[Oliver Lake Organ Quintet.]

Modern-day Renaissance man Oliver Lake is well-known for his fusion of diverse music styles, including free jazz, pop, Dixieland, rhythm and blues, and many more. The New York Times calls him "an alto saxophonist with a robust and piercing sound." His eclectic approach can be found in his collaborations with such artists as Björk, Lou Reed, Ron Brown, and in the World Saxophone Quartet, which he co-founded. Lake makes his Kennedy Center debut with his organ quintet, featuring the Hammond B-3, drums, trumpet, and DJ.

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sun., Oct. 14, 2007, 7:00 PM - Dee Dee Bridgewater: Red Earth - A Malian Journey
[Dee Dee Bridgewater: <i>Red Earth - A Malian Journey</i>.]

A Grammy winner for her recording Dear Ella, a Tony winner for The Wiz, and a London Olivier Award nominee for Lady Day, Dee Dee Bridgewater is "a musical free spirit if there ever was one" (Los Angeles Times). Her muse led her to Africa for her latest project, which melds the voices, instruments, and music of Mali with the traditions of American jazz. In this cross-cultural concert that coincides with her new CD, Dee Dee Bridgewater is accompanied by a ten-piece band comprised of her trio plus seven of her Malian collaborators, who will be in the U.S. for only a few weeks. Don't miss this extremely limited engagement, in which they'll perform American jazz and Malian music on instruments from both continents.

Watch a 5-minute excerpt of the concert on YouTube

Media partners: WAMU 88.5 FM and WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Fri., Oct. 19, 2007 - Benny Reid
[Benny Reid.]

Saxophonist Benny Reid is making his mark with his buttery sound, flavored with old-time grit. An alum of the Kennedy Center's residency program Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, he has revealed himself as a talented and mature young artist. On his Concord debut Findings, Reid embarks on an ambitious journey, traveling through fluid melodies with remarkable depth and emotion. All About Jazz calls it an "impressive debut, complete with very strong self-penned compositions which spotlight his chops."

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sat., Oct. 20, 2007 - Jacky Terrasson
[Jacky Terrasson.]

Jacky Terrasson – piano
Alan Hampton – bass
Jamire Williams - drums

A protégé of Betty Carter and the winner of the 1993 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, Jacky Terrasson is known for his smooth touch and distinctive spin on the standards. The New York Times hails him as "reliably brilliant and spontaneous," while the Los Angeles Times calls him "a pianist with a shining improvisational imagination." In the KC Jazz Club, Terrasson performs selections from his newly released Blue Note CD Mirror, a playful and exclamatory solo outing featuring his twist on straight-ahead favorites as well as originals.

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Fri., Oct. 26, 2007 - Tigran Hamasyan
[Tigran Hamasyan.]

Progressive pianist Tigran Hamasyan approaches "nearly every tune as an arc, beginning in contemplation and building to a crashing fury" (The New York Times). Born in Armenia, he began playing professionally at the age of 10, finding inspiration from such jazz notables as Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker. The 2006 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition winner returns to the Kennedy Center with original compositions featuring his dynamic energy and eclectic style.

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sat., Oct. 27, 2007 - Greg Osby Five
[Greg Osby Five.]

Innovative Blue Note saxophonist and composer Greg Osby has made his distinct mark in the realm of contemporary jazz as a bandleader as well as a sideman for such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, and Jack DeJohnette. The Wall Street Journal calls Osby "one of the few young musicians able to take in jazz's formidable tradition and build on it," while the New York Times says "his live sets are some of the most rewarding experiences of the moment." He returns to the KC Jazz Club with his progressive, renowned quintet.

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Fri., Nov. 2, 2007 - John Patitucci
[John Patitucci.]

An acoustic bassist fluent in several musical genres, Grammy winner John Patitucci has performed around the world with countless jazz luminaries, including B.B. King and Freddie Hubbard, but it is his work with Chick Corea that established him as a jazz MVP. His "nimble dexterity and lucid stream of ideas" (The Washington Post) has won him international acclaim. After playing to sold-out audiences at the Kennedy Center in 2005, he returns with drummer Brian Blade and guitarist Larry Koonse.

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Mon., Nov. 5, 2007, 8:00 PM - Palladium Nights: Ballet Hispanico and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with Arturo O'Farrill
[<i>Palladium Nights:</i> Ballet Hispanico and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with Arturo O'Farrill.]

"A very hot idea... it downright sizzles!"
--The Boston Globe

At the heart of New York's vibrant 1950s jazz scene was the Palladium nightclub, birthplace of the mambo, the cha cha, and the merengue. For one night only, New York's Ballet Hispanico joins with the acclaimed Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with Arturo O'Farrill to celebrate the music and dance of the Golden Age of Latin Jazz in Palladium Nights, a full-length work that sizzles with the passion and drama that define Latin social dancing at its very best!
Visit the official Palladium Nights web site
for more on the history of the Palladium Ballroom, 
plus profiles of the characters in the show, and much more

"Versatile, talented, attractive, and energetic" (The New York Times), Ballet Hispanico is recognized around the world as the foremost dance interpreter of Hispanic culture in the United States. Founded in 1970 by Artistic Director Tina Ramirez, Ballet Hispanico's innovative repertory fuses ballet, modern, and Latin dance forms into a spirited image of contemporary Hispanic American culture.
Led by pianist Arturo O'Farrill, the Grammy Award–nominated Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra is comprised of 18 prominent soloists from the Latin Jazz scene. The Cincinnati Herald calls them "the real deal" and says to "get ready to swing hard!"

"When Ballet Hispanico takes the stage, watch out. Their joy is infectious."
--New York Newsday
"There's nothing you can do with such an exhilarating performance except submit, with pleasure."


Schedule and Tickets
Fri., Nov. 9, 2007 - Gerald Clayton
[Gerald Clayton.]

For young pianist Gerald Clayton, jazz began as a family affair. The son of bassist John Clayton and the nephew of saxophonist Jeff Clayton, he has performed in the Clayton Brothers Quintet. In 2006, he astounded audiences as a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition, and in March 2007 he lent his gifts to the Kennedy Center's all-star Jazz in Our Time concert. The New York Times hails him for having a "huge, authoritative presence, an Oscar Peterson–like style, and highly controlled touch."

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sat., Nov. 10, 2007 - Andy Bey
[Andy Bey.]

Andy Bey's silky baritone has become one of the finest instruments in jazz, resonating through decades of American standards. A lyrical storyteller, he possesses "a film noir voice: languid, mysterious, and surpassingly beautiful" (The New York Times). He emerged as a jazz artist at age 12, performing alongside such icons as Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, and Horace Silver. After receiving acclaim for his 2005 Grammy Award–nominated album American Song, he returns to perform music from his new October 2007 CD Ain't Necessarily So (12th Street Records), featuring songs from the Great American Songbook (George and Ira Gershwin; Jerome Kern; and others).

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Nov. 16 - 17, 2007 - Django Reinhardt Festival
[<i>Django Reinhardt Festival</i>.]

The "Hot Club Swing" of gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt has been thrilling guitar and jazz enthusiasts for generations. In 2004 and 2005, this "swinging and sizzling hot" (The Washington Post) celebration entertained sold-out audiences at the Kennedy Center. For its third KC Jazz Club engagement, this exciting event features father-son guitarists and festival favorites Dorado and Samson Schmitt, as well as violinist Florin Niculescu, accordionist Ludovic Beier, and bassist Brian Torff, known for their fervor and dedication to Reinhardt's music and legacy.

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Thu., Dec. 6, 2007 - NPR's A Jazz Piano Christmas
[NPR's <i>A Jazz Piano Christmas</i>.]

Join the Kennedy Center and National Public Radio when top jazz pianists and other artists perform their favorite holiday songs. This year's artists include Dr. Billy Taylor, Barry Harris, Hank Jones, Ellis Marsalis, and Joey DeFrancesco. An annual NPR tradition, the concert will be produced for later broadcast.

Media partner: WAMU 88.5 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sat., Dec. 8, 2007, 8:00 PM - The Movie Music of Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard
[<i>The Movie Music of Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard</i>.]

Hosted by Bill Cosby
featuring The Terence Blanchard Quintet
plus vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, and Raul Midón  
and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Kennedy Center Honoree Bill Cosby hosts this electrifying multimedia event featuring live music from Academy Award–nominated director Spike Lee's most celebrated films, from Bamboozled, 25th Hour, Jungle Fever, and Malcolm X to Mo' Better Blues, Clockers, and Inside Man. His longtime collaborator, Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard, performs the scores and R&B hits with his quintet, members of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, and special guest vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, and Raul Midón. Updated from its smash engagements in London, New York, Chicago, and L.A., the concert will feature photographs from the films, shot on location by Spike Lee's brother David Lee, as well as music from When the Levees Broke, Spike Lee's acclaimed HBO documentary on Hurricane Katrina.

The AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center will showcase the film music of Terence Blanchard, frequent collaborator on the films of Spike Lee, with a screening and discussion with Terence Blanchard on Friday evening, December 7. Visit their Web site for more details.

Main Theme – Terence Blanchard Quintet and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
"Shadowlands" – Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terence Blanchard Quintet, and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
Inside Man
"Hostage Breakdown" – Terence Blanchard Quintet and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
"People in Search of a Life" – Kurt Elling and Terence Blanchard Quintet
"Strike Packs Up" – Terence Blanchard Quintet and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
Malcolm X
Opening Credits – Terence Blanchard Quintet and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
Eulogy (video w/sound) – Terence Blanchard Quintet
"A Change Is Gonna Come" – Raul Midón and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
Jungle Fever
"These Three Words" – Raul Midón and Terence Blanchard Quintet
"Make Sure You're Sure" – Dee Dee Bridgewater and Terence Blanchard Quintet
25th Hour
Open Title – Terence Blanchard Quintet and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
One Last Walk – Terence Blanchard Quintet and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
Mo' Better Blues
"Mo' Better Blues" – Terence Blanchard Quintet
"Pop Top 40" – Kurt Elling and Terence Blanchard Quintet
When the Levees Broke
"Funeral Dirge" – Terence Blanchard Quintet and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
"Levees" – Terence Blanchard Quintet and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
"The Ghost of Congo Square" –Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Raul Midón, Terence Blanchard Quintet, and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

PROGRAM NOTE: Due to a film project in Italy that does not conclude until at least December 16, Spike Lee is unable to host this event. Kennedy Center Honoree Bill Cosby will now serve as host.

Media partners: WAMU 88.5 FM and WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sat., Dec. 15, 2007 - Jane Monheit and John Pizzarelli
[Jane Monheit and John Pizzarelli.]

Still in her twenties, Jane Monheit "is more than a star, she is an immense talent" (Los Angeles Times). The two-time Grammy nominee's latest Concord recording, Surrender, debuted at number one on Billboard's Jazz Chart in May 2007, adding a strong Brazilian undercurrent to songs by Henry Mancini, Stevie Wonder, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and many others. Using such touchstones as Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, John Pizzarelli is a prime revivalist of the American songbook, renowned for late-night ballads and the cool jazz flavor of his guitar. "We're as lucky to listen to Pizzarelli as Nat Cole fans were before he became a legend" (The Village Voice). Together, these two renowned vocalists usher in the winter holidays with an enchanting concert.

Media partner: WAMU 88.5 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Mon., Dec. 31, 2007 - Patti Austin in A Jazz New Year's Eve
[Patti Austin in <i>A Jazz New Year's Eve</i>.]

Celebrate the final hours of 2007 with superstar entertainer Patti Austin, whose latest recording Avant Gershwin is receiving rave reviews for her exquisite interpretations of some of the famous brothers' most notable compositions. After this special performance with Patti Austin and her band, enjoy festive dancing, a countdown to 2008, and a balloon drop at the New Year's Eve celebration in the Grand Foyer, free with your concert ticket.

Media partner: WAMU 88.5 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Fri., Jan. 11, 2008 - Arturo Sandoval
[Arturo Sandoval.]

Fluent in at least four musical languages, three-time Grammy-winning trumpeter Arturo Sandoval can burn through an Afro-Cuban groove, tear up a bebop tune, soar over a Mozart concerto, and soothe you with a luscious ballad--all with equal power and grace. The Los Angeles Times raves about his "amazing stuff, all of it, brilliantly performed." Last seen at the Kennedy Center performing with the National Symphony Orchestra Pops, Sandoval returns to a more intimate setting, performing originals from his latest Telarc CD, the Latin Grammy–winning Rumba Palace.

Media partner: WAMU 88.5 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sat., Jan. 12, 2008 - Cyrus Chestnut: Sanctified Swing
[Cyrus Chestnut: <i>Sanctified Swing</i>.]

Born in Baltimore, pianist Cyrus Chestnut began his remarkable career performing alongside such jazz luminaries as Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, and as a member of Betty Carter's trio. "Nut," as he is called, relies on his formidable gospel roots to express his affinity for early jazz forms, revealing "an orchestral command of the keyboard and a sophisticated sense of swing" (People Magazine). Joined by a vocalist, horns, and a rhythm section, Chestnut performs on the Hammond B-3 organ in this lively program, blending original gospel with intoxicating jazz rhythms.

Media partner: WAMU 88.5 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Fri., Jan. 25, 2008 - Regina Carter and Carla Cook: I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey
[Regina Carter and Carla Cook: <i>I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey</i>.]

Time Magazine raves that Regina Carter is "breathtakingly daring, taking the listener into the future of jazz." And the Los Angeles Times says she's "almost single-handedly reviving interest in the violin as a jazz instrument." With dare-devilish virtuosity and unfettered swing, the 2006 MacArthur Fellow and Kennedy Center favorite takes an exhilarating romp through classic songs of the '20s, '30s, and '40s as featured on her latest Verve recording, I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey. She's joined by Grammy-nominated vocalist Carla Cook, who JazzTimes calls "a mad-loose, straight-ahead jazz diva with a gospel soul and big band heart."

Media partner: WAMU 88.5 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sun., Feb. 24, 2008, 7:00 PM - The McCoy Tyner Trio with Savion Glover
[The McCoy Tyner Trio with Savion Glover.]

In a night where the keyboard meets the floorboard, four-time Grammy-winning pianist and NEA Jazz Master McCoy Tyner and his trio are joined by Tony Award–winning choreographer and tap master Savion Glover. The legendary Tyner's blues-based piano style, replete with sophisticated chords and an explosively percussive left hand has transcended conventional styles to become one of the most identifiable sounds in improvised music. From Glover's Broadway debut as the title character in The Tap Dance Kid at the age of 12 to his Tony-winning choreography for Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk and his turn as the animated penguin Mumble in Happy Feet, he has remained the undisputed king of tap.

"Glover's intricate steps and manic energy pushed the Tyner trio's rhythmic envelope nearly to the breaking point--and pulled the willing audience into a frenzied, percussive vortex."
--Hartford Courant

Media partners: WAMU 88.5 FM and WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Fri., Mar. 7, 2008 - Terell Stafford Quintet
[Terell Stafford Quintet.]

A gifted and versatile trumpeter, Terell Stafford combines lyricism and a deep love of melody with an adventurous edge. Hailed by the New York Times as a "canny and incisive" artist, he developed his rich, expressive talent while touring with Bobby Watson and his group Horizon. Currently the Director of Jazz Studies at Temple University, Stafford returns to the Kennedy Center with his quintet to perform selections from their newest MAXJAZZ recording Taking Chances, "a timeless look at the beauty of jazz from the inside" (All About Jazz).

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sat., Mar. 8, 2008 - Chip Jackson with Annette Sanders
[Chip Jackson with Annette Sanders.]

The "big melodious tone and exquisite intonation" (New York Post) of Chip Jackson has made him one of jazz's go-to bassists. A member of the Billy Taylor Trio, his innovative rhythmic style has also supplied gusto for such jazz greats as Woody Herman and Elvin Jones. He is joined by Annette Sanders, for years a featured singer with Benny Goodman, who possesses a voice of "lovely shading, assurance, and warmth" (The New York Times). Together, they perform Dr. Billy Taylor's original compositions and vocalese arrangements of swinging standards.

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Fri., Mar. 14, 2008 - Sarah Morrow
[Sarah Morrow.]

The quintessential American in Paris, trombonist Sarah Morrow has taken the City of Lights by storm with both her straight-ahead groove and signature hip-hop fusion. All About Jazz hails her work as "first-rate, bluesy, swinging, blaring, and bold." Her many distinctions include being the first female instrumentalist to tour with Ray Charles. Following her standing ovation performance at the 2006 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, Morrow returns with selections from her newest CD Elektric Air, giving a new definition to urban jazz.

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Fri., Mar. 21, 2008 - Winard Harper
[Winard Harper.]

Born with a natural affinity for percussion, Winard Harper is one of the most celebrated drummers in jazz, performing with Betty Carter and as a member of the Billy Taylor Trio. Surrounding himself with emerging artists, he continues to captivate sold-out crowds with his electrifying solos and vibrant presence. Mixing post-bebop and Afro-centric sensibilities, he reinvents and expands on the traditions of jazz. All About Jazz affirms that "Harper's music recognizes few stylistic, cultural, or genre boundaries."

Media partner: WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sun., Apr. 13, 2008, 7:00 PM - Dave Brubeck and Ramsey Lewis
[Dave Brubeck and Ramsey Lewis.]

Two legends of piano jazz light up the stage in one magnificent concert! With his distinctive harmonic approach and daring improvisations, Dave Brubeck defined the '60s sound of West Coast Cool and made "Take Five" the first-ever million-selling instrumental jazz hit. The Kennedy Center honored him with a Living Jazz Legend Award in March 2007, the same year that marks the 50th anniversary of his first international tour as a U.S. cultural ambassador. Three-time Grammy winner Ramsey Lewis embodies the great diversity of music from his native Chicago. His early gospel playing and classical training shot him to the top of the charts with such smashes as "The In Crowd," "Hang on Sloopy," and "Wade in the Water." Don't miss this powerful merging of these NEA Jazz Masters, in which Brubeck and Lewis's ensembles each perform separately.

Media partners: WAMU 88.5 FM and WPFW 89.3 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Fri., May 2, 2008 - Luciana Souza
[Luciana Souza.]

Sultry Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza, named Rising Star Female Singer for the second year in a row by DownBeat Magazine, "makes good singing seem incredibly easy" (The New York Times). In 2004, her quartet heated up the Terrace Theater at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival. Now the Grammy winner unleashes her seductive charms in the Family Theater with music from The New Bossa Nova, her latest CD.

Click here to read National Public Radio's recent interview with Luciana Souza about The New Bossa Nova.
The interview also includes song clips from the new CD.

Media partner: WAMU 88.5 FM

Schedule and Tickets
Sat., May 3, 2008 - Kenny Barron
[Kenny Barron.]

Praised by the Los Angeles Times as "one of the top jazz pianists in the world," nine-time Grammy nominee Kenny Barron possesses an unmatched ability to mesmerize audiences with his elegant playing, sensitive melodies, and infectious spirit. This giant of post-bop piano is also a faculty member at the esteemed Manhattan School of Music. The Boston Herald says Barron possesses "one of the most fertile imaginations and pleasing sounds in jazz."

Media partner: WAMU 88.5 FM

Schedule and Tickets
May 15 - 17, 2008 - Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival - 13th annual
[<i>Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival</i> - 13th annual.]

All the 2006 and 2007 concerts sold out--so for 2008, be sure to reserve your seats in advance for this annual Kennedy Center festival 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." Each evening features three unique sets featuring remarkable female jazz musicians performing with their own ensembles.

Grace Kelly
Featuring Terri Lyne Carrington
At just 15 years old, saxophonist and Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead alumnus Grace Kelly is rapidly moving her way up in the jazz world. With talents that far outstrip others her age, Kelly has already recorded and performed with many extraordinary musicians in notable venues. She is an award-winning recording artist who has released three CDs as a bandleader, including her 2006 release, Every Road I Walked. Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, who has recorded with Grace, will join her onstage as a special guest.

Catherine Russell
Vocalist Catherine Russell's musical prowess transcends genre. Born with an enviable jazz pedigree, Russell is the daughter of the late pioneering pianist and bandleader Luis Russell and bassist Carline Ray, who is a member of Jazzberry Jam, the 2005 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award. The Wall Street Journal says "it's a delight to hear the real thing in Catherine Russell, [who] hits a groove from note one on whatever she sings." Her latest acclaimed CD is called Sentimental Streak.

Keiko Matsui
Pianist Keiko Matsui returns to the Kennedy Center after a four-year absence to wow audiences with her contemporary sound that has garnered legions of fans worldwide. Her elegant piano melodies and gentle jazz grooves have enormous appeal and never disappoint her loyal fan base, which she has cultivated over a dozen albums and stunning live shows. Walls of Akendora, Matsui's latest recording of all-new material, showcases her signature sophisticated jazz style on tunes that range from the classically inspired to bold and brassy.

Helen Sung
Pianist Helen Sung has been called "marvelously imaginative" and "passionate," and her 2006 CD Helenistique was hailed as "one of the year's most exciting listens" (JazzTimes). With a recent appearance on NPR's Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, the release of her new CD Sungbird (after Albeniz) on Sunnyside Records, and winning the 2007 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Competition, good things are happening!

Sheila Jordan
2008 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award Recipient
All Music Guide says that vocalist Sheila Jordan is "one of the most consistently creative of all jazz singers." Starting with her 1962 debut Blue Note recording Portrait of Sheila, Jordan has become an iconic jazz figure, influencing many other artists in the jazz vocal genre. The New York Times raves, "Her ballad performances are simply beyond the emotional and expressive capabilities of most other vocalists." At this concert, the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award will be given to Sheila Jordan for her lifetime of service to jazz.

Sherrie Maricle and Five Play
Featuring Maria Anadon
Drummer Sherrie Maricle has found success as a jazz artist, music director, teacher, and composer. Five Play, led by Maricle, is a virtual "United Nations of Jazz," fusing world cultures with extraordinary musicianship. This synthesis of talent, passion, and global sensibility has produced a fresh, exciting quintet infused with imagination, rooted in jazz tradition, and unified by a collective inspiration. Five Play's repertoire is comprised of innovative arrangements of classic and contemporary standards, as well as original music composed by the band's members. The Washington Times says, "In the jazz world, ensembles come and go, but here's hoping Sherrie Maricle and Five Play stick around for a long, long time." They are joined by Portuguese vocalist Maria Anadon.

Sophie Milman
Since 24-year-old vocalist Sophie Milman's self-titled debut was released in 2004, it has sold almost 100,000 copies worldwide and hit the Billboard Top 5 in Canada and Top 15 in the United States. In 2006, Toronto's Globe and Mail declared, "Milman clearly fits the template for Hot Young Chanteuse, being stylish, good-looking, and vocally gifted…she's very, very good."

Cindy Blackman
Since 1993, percussionist Cindy Blackman has been seen and heard by millions of people all over the world-- performing with her own group, and for 11 years with retro funk rocker Lenny Kravitz. She released her seventh solo release Someday in 2004, and continues to be a solid, dependable drummer who can easily move from straight-ahead jazz to rock to funk and back again. Talking Drum asserts, "You can be assured that Ms. Blackman will be around for a long time to come."

Montclair Women's Big Band
Ellen Seeling, director, featuring Allison Miller and Vicki Randle
The Montclair Women's Big Band is an irresistible swing machine! Under the direction of veteran bandleader Ellen Seeling, and featuring boundary-defying drummer Allison Miller, the ensemble rivets audience attention from their first downbeat, and the commanding sound compels listeners to their feet and dancers to the floor. The groove is infectious, the visuals dramatic, the experience unforgettable. Prepare to be blown away by the Montclair Women's Big Band. They are joined by Tonight Show vocalist/percussionist Vicki Randle.


Media partner: WAMU 88.5 FM


Friday, May 16, 2008 at 12:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
4th Annual Women in Jazz Competition
A Performance Plus™ Event
Join five exceptional female jazz saxophonists as they display their talents and compete in front of a jury of renowned international musicians.  In this exciting two-part competition performance, the finalists share solo jazz works and trio arrangements showcasing their individuality and style. Don't miss this unique opportunity to see tomorrow's jazz greats. The competition prize is an opportunity to play in the 14th Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival (May 2009).

Schedule and Tickets