The Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival marks its 16th thrilling year with three evenings of star-studded performances hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater featuring the world's top female jazz artists.
7 p.m. each night in the Terrace Theater
JaLaLa vocal group: Janis Siegel, Laurel Massé, and Lauren Kinhan
Jamie Baum, flute, and her Septet
Tia Fuller, saxophone, with her Quartet
Special tribute to the late vocalist Abbey Lincoln: Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, and Cassandra Wilson, vocals with Terri Lyne Carrington, music director and drummer
Corky Hale, harp, vocals, and piano
Peggy Stern, piano and "Sweet" Sue Terry, saxophone
Special guest vocalist Marlena Shaw with FIVE PLAY: Sherrie Maricle, drums; Janelle Reichman, saxophone; Noriko Ueda, bass; Tomoko Ohno, piano; and Jami Dauber, trumpet and flugelhorn
May 20 & 21 on the Millennium Stage, Explore the Arts presents in a free Showcase the exceptional pianists selected as the second annual class of the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Emerging Artist Workshop.
Since the first concerts in 1996, the annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival—founded by the late Dr. Billy Taylor (1921–2010), Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz—has showcased the world’s most respected and accomplished female jazz artists, from the well known to the young and up-and-coming.
For these musicians, Mary Lou Williams has served as their inspiration to leave their mark on every aspect of jazz, just as she did. Dubbed the "First Lady of Jazz Piano," she wrote music for Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington, performed with Ben Webster and Lester Young, and was a mentor to Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and many others. As a pianist, composer, arranger, teacher, mentor, and humanitarian, Williams defied gender, race, and category with her inexhaustible gifts.
Mary Lou Williams once said, "If we are to make progress in modern music, we must be willing and able to open our minds to new ideas and developments." The Kennedy Center invites you to join us in paying homage to America’s original art form, both past and present. Each evening features three unique sets of remarkable female jazz musicians performing with their own ensembles. These jazz pioneers keep the spirit of Mary Lou Williams alive!
Past Festival Concerts on the Millennium Stage
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