The Appel Room

Jazz Meets Poetry

Matt Wilson & Helen Sung

Matt WilsonHelen Sung

What To Expect

  • A fusion of live jazz and poetry, featuring some of today’s best musicians.
  • A double-feature performance of Matt Wilson’s Honey & Salt, inspired by the poems of Carl Sandburg, and Helen Sung’s Sung with Words, created in collaboration with poet Dana Gioia.

“[Honey & Salt is] a free-wheeling suite with an impish humor that matches its subject. This is, quite simply, the finest work of Matt Wilson's career.” – AllAboutJazz

“One of the most interesting collaborations in recent years between a world-class jazz musician and an acclaimed poet.” – JazzTimes on Sung with Words

This double-feature in The Appel Room features two of the most acclaimed meetings between instrumental jazz and poetry.

Matt Wilson, named 2018’s Musician of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association, is a drummer and composer adored for playfully pushing the boundaries of bandmates and genres alike—while remaining remarkably accessible and fun in every context. His extraordinary album Honey and Salt, named 2018 Record of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association, pays homage to poet Carl Sandberg with an eclectic group of songs inspired by and featuring Sandberg’s poetry.

It’s a special and unusually successful integration of artistic mediums, with neither the poetry nor the music ever feeling like an intrusion on the other. And as always, Wilson's infectious and unadulterated joy, sense of humor, and tireless energy help everyone in the room feel uplifted and part of the good time.

The second half of the evening features an entirely different band led by the brilliant pianist and composer Helen Sung. Her talents as a player, bandleader, and composer are well known, but Sung with Words, her own celebrated marriage of jazz and poetry, is particularly significant in that it was created in collaboration with award-winning poet Dana Gioia, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. In contrast to the wry, spoken-word passages that accompany Matt Wilson’s pieces (with a few deeply moving melodic exceptions), most of the words featured in Sung with Words are brought to life by a group of A-list vocalists, offering audiences a different take on how to seamlessly combine these two art forms.

Both of these projects are anchored by hard-grooving bands featuring some of today’s best musicians, and anyone with an interest in either jazz or poetry will come away from this concert with a deeper appreciation of both mediums.

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Visitor Info

Box Office

Broadway and 60th Street

Ground Floor



Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm

Sun, 12pm-6pm




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