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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

2016-17 Season Concert Chronology

2016-17 Jazz at Lincoln Center Season Concerts:

Handful of Keys: A Century of Jazz Piano
Sep 22-24, 2016, 8pm
Rose Theater
Our season-opening concert features the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and some of today’s top pianists, including our own Dan Nimmer. Performing definitive compositions by piano geniuses like Jelly Roll Morton, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, and Marcus Roberts, tonight’s special guests will showcase an astonishing evolution of jazz piano that now spans over 100 years. Guest musicians range in age from 13-year-old prodigy Joey Alexander (recently featured on 60 Minutes) to 89-year-old American treasure Dick Hyman, met in the middle by several extraordinary pianists including Aaron Diehl, Helen Sung, Isaiah J. Thompson, and Larry Willis. Alongside the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, their virtuosic performances will allow the living continuum of jazz to unfold before your eyes in the House of Swing.

Dee Dee Bridgewater
Sep 23-24, 2016, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Grammy and Tony Award-winning superstar Dee Dee Bridgewater takes you through 100 years of jazz song in our season-opening weekend of Singers Over Manhattan. On Friday (9/16), she will be joined by music director/trumpeter Riley Mulherkar and his ensemble; Vuyo Sotashe, finalist of the 2015 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition; and Brianna Thomas, whom the Wall Street Journal says “may well be the best young straight-ahead jazz singer of her generation.” Combining their distinct talents, the group will sing their way through four decades of music, beginning with the early blues and jazz of the 1920s and ending in the early 1950s. Iconic singers to be explored include Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughan. On Saturday (9/17), Bridgewater returns with a new group, featuring a band led by music director/drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr.; the thoughtfully eclectic Theo Bleckmann, who exemplifies the notion of “voice as instrument;” and Brooklyn’s own internationally rising star Alicia Olatuja, known for navigating jazz traditions with a taste of gospel and R&B. They will perform the socially conscious music of the 1950s through today, featuring the works of Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln, Carmen McRae, and more. Each of these two nights will be a completely unique program, and passionate fans can attend both for a century-spanning, comprehensive experience.

Ibrahim Maalouf
Sep 30-Oct 1, 2016, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Hailed by The New York Times as a “virtuoso of the quarter-tone trumpet,” Ibrahim Maalouf combines jazz improvisation and European classical influences with the sounds of his native Lebanon and home in France, a far-reaching blend of cultures. Tonight’s concert features a stellar ensemble of Frank Woeste, Scott Colley, Mark Turner, and Clarence Penn. They will pay homage to one of the greatest Arabic divas of all time–Egyptian icon Oum Kalthoum–with a sprawling, one-of-a-kind interpretation of her most beloved hit: “Alf Leila wa Leila.” Maalouf explains, “This piece is one of the all-time classics that is celebrated across the Arab world, and yet it remains virtually unknown in the rest of the world, so this is an opportunity for me to present this symphonic masterpiece.” Maalouf is an inspirational cross-cultural visionary, and Kalthoum–to be performed in its entirety–is a gripping synthesis of powerful musical traditions.

Brad Mehldau
Sep 30-Oct 1, 2016, 8pm
Rose Theater
Visionary pianist Brad Mehldau, called “a graceful powerhouse” by The New York Times, makes his long-awaited return to Rose Theater for two distinct concerts. On Friday (9/30), Mehldau will perform alongside saxophonist Joshua Redman, showcasing one of the most celebrated pairings in contemporary jazz. Mehldau and Redman are both truly unique improvisers, and they engage in an almost trancelike state as they combine two unmistakable voices into one equally distinctive and powerful whole. The intensity of this seemingly telekinetic connection will keep you transfixed across a broad selection of original pieces, jazz standards, and pop favorites. On Saturday (10/1), Mehldau will treat audiences to a solo concert, a challenging format for which he is highly renowned. An impressionistic genius, Mehldau takes a wildly diverse range of music and makes it entirely his own, isolating a potent moment or theme from each piece and expanding it into a rhapsodically lyrical exploration. His cohesive and emotionally vibrant approach to such an enormous range of influences makes for a refreshing and frequently cathartic experience.

Elio Villafranca’s Letters to Mother Africa
Oct 14-15, 2016, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Elio Villafranca’s Cinque – Music of the Caribbean was an absolute favorite amongst audiences in 2015. With Letters to Mother Africa, the visionary Cuban pianist and composer brings us another ambitious and culturally enlightening program. Leading an all-star band featuring Billy Harper, David Murray, and Lewis Nash – as well as additional percussionists and various African instruments – Villafranca will examine a wide range of jazz written with great reverence not just of Africa, but to it. In addition to original compositions by members of the ensemble, the group will perform diverse and transformative arrangements of music by Duke Ellington, Max Roach, Eric Dolphy, Randy Weston, and Art Blakey. By arranging such a vast array of music for this unique ensemble, Villafranca will explore this powerful tradition within jazz and uncover inspiring new avenues of expression.

Jazz 100: The Music of Dizzy, Ella, Mongo & Monk
Oct 14-15, 2016, 8pm
Rose Theater
With excitement and great reverence we celebrate the centennials of four visionary icons: Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Mongo Santamaría, and Thelonious Monk. This program will reveal not only their powerful unifying traits, but also the diverse ways they have influenced the evolution of jazz. Tonight’s carefully selected all-star band matches their ambition and artistry; the group includes music director Danilo Perez, Wycliffe Gordon, Chris Potter, Avishai Cohen, Ben Street, Adam Cruz, and powerhouse vocalist Ledisi, recently seen and heard in the award-winning film Selma. All of these musicians are world-class bandleaders and composers, virtuosos of their respective instruments, and some of the most recognizable descendents of tonight’s Jazz 100 honorees. Together, this diverse group of virtuosos will offer an enlightening and original reflection of history’s most important artists.

Jimmy Heath: Life of A  Legend
Oct 21-22, 2016, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Tonight we celebrate the life and 90th birthday of a true living legend, saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath. With music, stories, conversation, and images from Heath's extensive personal archive, this intimate performance in The Appel Room will be an insightful look into the colorful career of a profoundly influential artist. Heath's earliest career highlights include long-term partnerships with icons like Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis, and after 70 years he remains a major fixture and creative leader in jazz. He has released over 100 albums, and his compositions have been recorded throughout the jazz world by Clark Terry, Cannonball Adderley, Ahmad Jamal, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, and countless others. These days, Heath leads his own Big Band, works with various small groups, and co-leads the highly successful Heath Brothers. Audiences tonight will get a full taste of Heath’s brilliance as he performs original pieces for both his big band and a small group featuring internationally renowned vocalist Roberta Gambarini, trumpet virtuoso Jon Faddis, and long-time collaborator Stanley Cowell. Jazz radio icon Gary Walker will host the proceedings, engaging Heath in dialogue between musical segments.

The Jazz Age: Untamed Elegance
Oct 28-29, 2016, 8pm
Rose Theater
A grand decade when “the parties were bigger, the pace was faster, the buildings were higher, the morals looser,” jazz defined the Roaring Twenties – a time also known as the Jazz Age. 100 years after the first known jazz recording, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis transports audiences to the wild and sophisticated 1920s. Led by master saxophonist and veteran JLCO member Victor Goines, the Orchestra will showcase the hot jazz of New Orleans, the sweet sounds of 1920s dance bands, and demonstrate how the integration of the two led to the Swing Era of the 1930s. This concert will feature essential compositions by artists including Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, and Louis Armstrong and His Hot 7. Goines will also debut a brand new composition written for the Orchestra, inspired by the sounds, styles, and culture of the Prohibition years. He is an expert at these early jazz styles, and he also possesses a vast knowledge of contemporary jazz vocabulary, as demonstrated in his original work Crescent City, composed for fellow New Orleans native Branford Marsalis. The combination of Goines’ deep vocabulary with the hot and sweet sounds of the 1920s will make for an upbeat and swinging affair, bringing the untamed elegance of the Jazz Age to New York’s House of Swing.

Family Concert: Who is Count Basie?
Nov 5, 2016, 1pm & 3pm
Rose Theater
Piano player and bandleader William “Count” Basie brought America out of the Depression with the elegant and irresistible swing of Kansas City. Establishing 4/4 swing as a primary jazz style, The Count led one of the greatest big bands of all time, featuring the hard-swinging All-American Rhythm Section, iconic soloists, and a communal feeling that kept the dance floor moving all night. In this hour-long narrated concert featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, crowd participation, and engaging storytelling by Wynton Marsalis, families will learn about Basie’s exciting career and infectious music. After nearly 25 years, this beloved family-oriented series continues to be a wellspring of enlightenment for curious minds, with concerts “as illuminating as they are entertaining” (Chicago Tribune).

Battle of the Big Bands
Nov 11-12, 2016, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Tonight’s big band battle is a feel-good, dance-up-a-storm, interactive jazz experience akin to those that originated in Harlem’s Swing Era landmarks. This special event showcases two of New York’s hottest young big bands–together on one stage–in a high-energy evening with dancers and repertoire chosen in part by the audience. Drummer/bandleaders Sammy Miller and Evan Sherman will deliver a full sensory experience through fast-paced music, friendly one-upmanship, and the welcome additions of choreographed and improvised dance, audience participation, and a bit of comedy. Both bands are inter-generational all-star groups, and they have repeatedly proven their ability to rouse up a crowd at New York City hot spots. Join them in The Appel Room for an entertaining night of great music and uplifting companionship.

The Swing Era: Revolution in Rhythm
Nov 17-19, 2016, 8pm
Rose Theater
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis showcases the timelessness of swing as a genre, cultural period, and musical concept. The big bands that emerged during the Swing Era defined the sound of America – bringing people out of the Depression and ushering in a new sense of possibility. For the occasion, music director and JLCO trumpeter Marcus Printup will arrange a combination of Swing Era classics and rarely heard works, adding a modern twist to some, and demonstrating what made jazz the definitive dance music of the 1930s. Jazz also led the country in its quest for civil rights, integrating the bandstand through extraordinary effort and increasing the connection between audiences and musicians, both of whom were actively engaged with changing the status quo. Printup and the JLCO will honor that ideal, embodying the sounds, uplifting feelings, and sense of community associated with an era of great music and productive engagement.

Rosa Passos Quartet with Special Guest Kenny Barron
Dec 9-10, 2016, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Iconic Brazilian vocalist Rosa Passos makes a long-awaited return to the United States, offering a spellbinding evening of bossa nova in The Appel Room. Passos has been anointed the “female João Gilberto,” but she is a prolific and distinct artist in her own right and a true leader of the craft. Passos’ versatile, world-class band will be joined by NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron, a nine-time GRAMMY Award®-nominee and one of the most important jazz pianists alive. In their first ever performance together, the Rosa Passos Quartet and Kenny Barron will impress not only Brazilian jazz fans and lovers of the Jobim songbook, but also classic jazz fans who appreciate a swinging rhythm section, masterful solos, and effortlessly captivating vocals.

Steve Miller: T Bone Walker
A Bridge From Blues to Jazz

Dec 9-10, 2016, 8pm
Rose Theater
Renowned blues-rock guitarist, singer/songwriter, and lifelong jazz fan, Steve Miller returns to Jazz at Lincoln Center for a no-holds-barred look at T-Bone Walker and the solo electric guitar of Texas blues. Having learned his first chords at age five from his godfather Les Paul, how to play lead guitar from T-Bone Walker at age nine, and then working with the best bluesmen in Chicago – Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, and Paul Butterfield – Miller has incorporated his affinity for the blues into all of his major recordings. Backed by an all-star jazz quintet, his own iconic guitar playing and vocals, and a few unannounced surprises, Miller has chosen music that takes audiences across the bridge from blues to jazz.

Big Band Holidays
Dec 14-17, 2016, 8pm
Dec 18, 2016, 2pm
In this much-anticipated annual tradition, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis offers swinging and soulful performances of your favorite holiday music. In addition to the classic selections heard on Blue Engine Records’ Big Band Holidays album, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will perform brand new arrangements of songs both sacred and secular, from Billie Holiday’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” to favorites like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” For the occasion, saxophonist Sherman Irby will serve as music director, guaranteeing a fresh and poignant experience. Irby is an extraordinary arranger and composer whose most recent commissioned work was met with a standing ovation in Rose Theater. This year’s holiday festivities are made complete with a very special guest vocalist: Catherine Russell. The next generation in a family of jazz royalty, Russell possesses a transcendent voice and uplifting spirit that have secured her spot as an audience favorite at Jazz at Lincoln Center. She will personally choose some of her favorite holiday tunes, so good cheer is sure to be shared when she joins the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in celebration of “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Lucky Peterson: Roots of Acoustic Blues
Jan 2021, 2017, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
With deeply moving baritone vocals, jaw-dropping technique on the Hammond B-3 organ, and a dynamic, emotive presence on guitar, Lucky Peterson is perhaps the most powerful bluesman alive. Ever since the incomparable Willie Dixon produced Peterson’s first single at age five, Lucky has won fans around the world through uncompromised musical authenticity and natural showmanship. In Roots of Acoustic Blues, he will explore the early styles at the core of the blues, exemplifying the music’s honest optimism in the face of hardship. Famously versatile and also a rare master of the blues in its true original form, he is the perfect artist for such a program. In the intimacy of The Appel Room, you will truly experience the blues, reaching soul-stirring depths you may not have experienced before–but won’t soon forget.

Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling
Jan 20-21, 2017, 8pm
Rose Theater
In an unprecedented collaboration, the Branford Marsalis Quartet welcomes Grammy Award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling, a rare addition to the rock-solid lineup of Joey Calderazzo, Eric Revis, and Justin Faulkner. Both parties are known for a wealth of jazz knowledge and stylistic versatility. Elling has repeatedly proven his prowess for working with star instrumentalists and quartets, recently winning a Grammy Award for his tribute to the famed collaboration between saxophonist John Coltrane and vocalist Johnny Hartman. Marsalis, too, is a flexible and ambitious artist; best known as a prolific jazz leader and sideman to such icons as Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Dizzy Gillespie, he is also renowned for his work in classical music and for crossover collaborations with artists including Sting and The Grateful Dead. For this special occasion, every band member will contribute new tunes and arrangements that may touch on, but will undoubtedly go far beyond the Great American Songbook. This new artistic alliance will be an unforgettable showcase of both instrumental and vocal jazz expertise.

Dizzy Gillespie Festival
Celebrating Dizzy Gillespie

Jan 26-28, 2017, 8pm
Rose Theater
Dizzy Gillespie was a visionary architect of bebop, a peerless trumpet virtuoso, and a gifted educator, dancer, and raconteur. Tonight the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis digs deep into the musical world of Dizzy. As much a revolution as it was a movement, bebop ushered in the modern era of jazz and marked a decisive line between old and new. The high-speed acrobatics, harmonic sophistication, and technical authority of bebop have permeated all of jazz and continue to inform and challenge musicians of all levels. Vincent Gardner – JLCO trombonist, composer, arranger, and tonight’s music director will lead the Orchestra in new and classic arrangements of Dizzy’s music, showcasing the thrilling melodies, hard swing, and kinetic solos that define these works. Gardner also makes his highly anticipated return as a JLCO composer, debuting a new work that highlights the essential components of bebop and keeps true to its spirit by offering something fresh, distinct, and technically ambitious. On the occasion of Dizzy Gillespie’s centennial, audiences will experience the depth, energy, and creativity that this unparalleled genius and beloved figure continues to inspire.

Dizzy Gillespie Festival
The Latin Side of Dizzy with Carlos Henriquez

January 27-28, 2017, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Carlos Henriquez is the bassist of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and “an emerging master in the Latin Jazz idiom.” (DownBeat) In honor of the Dizzy Gillespie centennial, he leads a lively exploration of Dizzy’s Latin side, as heard in transformative songs like “Manteca” and “A Night in Tunisia.” By integrating the hot sounds of a modern jazz orchestra and the rhythms of Cuba, Gillespie was a leading pioneer in the cultural fusion of Latin jazz, a tradition that Henriquez now embodies. Hailing from the Bronx – a borough with a rich Latin heritage – Henriquez is a virtuoso performer and arranger in both jazz and Afro-Cuban traditions. Since the age of 14 Henriquez has performed with greats including Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, and Celia Cruz, and he handled music direction for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s 2010 residency in Cuba and Ruben Blades’ sold-out debut at the House of Swing. For the Dizzy Gillespie Festival, Henriquez will give audiences an exciting look at his own distinct style while also exploring one of the greatest artists in history.

Family Concert: Who is Louis Armstrong?
February 4, 2017, 1pm & 3pm
Rose Theater
Through stories, recordings, and live music, audiences will learn about a talented youngster from New Orleans who changed the meaning of jazz – and the way we think about art. This hour-long journey through the life of Louis Armstrong will be hosted by jazz royalty Catherine Russell. Not only is Russell a supreme vocalist and gifted storyteller, she is also the daughter of Louis Armstrong’s long-time music director, Luis Russell. The concert will also feature an all-star band and 19-year-old trumpeter Anthony Hervey, a most exciting up-and-comer who has already wowed audiences at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and was awarded “Outstanding Trumpet” in the 2014 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival and Competition. In addition to demonstrating Armstrong’s greatest musical achievements as a trumpeter and singer, we will also consider some of his inspiring lessons about improvisation, self-expression, community, and the joy of music.

Dianne Reeves
February 10-11, 2017, 8pm
Rose Theater
Dianne Reeves will assuredly set the mood for this beloved Jazz at Lincoln Center tradition as she returns for the sixth time to seduce audiences with songs and stories of love and romance. Her alluring sound, fondness for love songs, and unusually broad spectrum of sensual repertoire promises a special Valentine’s Day weekend performance. With nuanced restraint and dynamics, Reeves inhabits every story she spins into song. The fifteen-time GRAMMY® Award winner has long revered New York City, and often chooses to spend her Valentine’s Day in this shimmering city of romance. Of course, there’s no better place to experience this occasion with Reeves than her “home away from home” in the center of the Big Apple, the elegant and intimate Rose Theater.

Jazz of the ‘50s: Overflowing with Style
February 17-18, 2017, 8pm
Rose Theater
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis explores the innovative musical concepts that emerged during the 1950s – a whirlwind decade of unprecedented growth and staggering creativity. Jazz’s limitless potential was on full display during these years, as exemplified by the cool jazz of Gerry Mulligan, modal jazz of Miles Davis, hard bop of Art Blakey, third stream of Gunther Schuller, the classic elegance of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and the free jazz of Ornette Coleman. Performing new and classic arrangements, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will revel in the era that brought jazz beyond the clubs and into the regular programming of esteemed concert halls. Tonight’s music director and arranger for these tunes will be trombonist Chris Crenshaw, a young genius with perfect pitch and perfect time, known also as a composer, arranger, singer, and conductor. Crenshaw’s previous composition for the JLCO was “God’s Trombones,” a moving piece that received wide public acclaim. Tonight he will premiere a new composition that showcases the Orchestra’s wide range of talent and stylistic versatility – the most comprehensive of any band in history – and immerse listeners in the incredible depth and diversity of these transformative years.

Dave Douglas: New Sanctuary
Mar 3-4, 2017, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas is a versatile and powerful performer of improvised music. His output as a bandleader is one of the most eclectic in history, featuring dozens of unique groups. In 1997, Douglas released the one-of-a-kind album Sanctuary, a thrilling and unpredictable journey through the improvisation of a double-quartet. New Sanctuary marks a conceptual return to this bold and distinctive project. For the occasion, Douglas has enlisted some of the most unique and flexible voices in modern improvised music: trumpeter and cornet player Wadada Leo Smith; guitarist Marc Ribot; pianist Myra Melford; bassist Mark Dresser; and drummer and percussionist Susie Ibarra. All of these artists are known for their uninhibited approach to improvisation and for being highly responsive team players, two essential traits for an event like this to succeed. Under Douglas’ experienced leadership, they join forces for the first time and create music that has never been performed before this night.

Eddie Palmieri
Mar 3-4, 2017, 8pm
Rose Theater
Eddie Palmieri is an incomparable performer and bandleader of some of the most energetic concerts in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s history. This season, the NEA Jazz Master and nine-time Grammy Award-winner continues his fast-paced career in Rose Theater for an 80th birthday blowout. One of the finest pianists of the past 50 years, Palmieri is a bandleader, arranger, and composer known for skillfully blending complex jazz harmonies with the rhythms of his Puerto Rican heritage and of various Afro-Latin and Afro-Caribbean fusions. 80 years young, Palmieri remains an engaging innovator whose ideas explode from the stage with an irresistibly kinetic energy.

Free To Be: Jazz of the ‘60s & Beyond
March 17-18, 2016, 8pm
Rose Theater
The 1960s was a time of national soul-searching that brought our country closer to its true identity and expanded our beliefs in freedom. In a contemporary exploration of this pivotal decade, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will perform some of its most powerful and thought-provoking pieces, many with messages that remain relevant today. The JLCO will perform masterpieces by Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, and Charles Mingus, and music director Walter Blanding will debut a big band arrangement of Sonny Rollins’ historic “Freedom Suite.”Another centerpiece of the program will be the premiere of Blanding’s The Happiness of Being, a sprawling musical reflection on the meaning of freedom. This soulful new piece asks us, in Blanding’s words, “What comes to mind when we think about freedom? Do we think about the civil rights movement? Or slavery? Or does it bring to mind other things, such as the freedom to think, speak, and act without fear? The Happiness of Being explores all of these thoughts. Perhaps freedom is also simply the joy of being oneself.” This ambitious piece is a powerful addition to the JLCO’s collection of expertly crafted original works, and the evening as a whole will be an important reflection of jazz’s ever-present role in the pursuit of America’s most sacred right: freedom.

Joshua Redman Still Dreaming
Mar 31-Apr 1, 2017, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Joshua Redman – one of the best known saxophonists in the world – embarks on his latest musical project with the “Still Dreaming” quartet. This new group features Ron Miles, Scott Colley, and Brian Blade, three of the most imaginative voices in contemporary jazz. Together they will interpret the “Old and New Dreams” quartet of the 1970s and ‘80s, a renowned quartet of Ornette Coleman alumni that included Joshua’s father, Dewey Redman. With repertoire consisting of Ornette Coleman compositions and original works, their music was honest, uninhibited, completely engaging in its unpredictable live execution. Tonight, Joshua Redman fulfills his birthright and explores his heritage by adding a new perspective to this historic material. Redman’s all-star group is the perfect match for the occasion, and the close personal connection will make it an especially memorable evening.

Michael Feinstein: The Unforgettable Nat King Cole
Apr 5, 2017, 7pm
Apr 6, 2017, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
With hits such as “The Christmas Song,” “Unforgettable,” “Nature Boy,” and “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66,” Michael Feinstein – known as the Ambassador of the Great American Songbook – explores the artistry of quintessential crooner Nat “King” Cole. With his usual first class band and surprise special guest vocalists, Feinstein will explore the extraordinary qualities that made Cole a star on stage and on screen. Audiences will enjoy the songs, incredible stories, charismatic showmanship, and masterful piano playing that defined Cole’s career, as Feinstein launches the sixth consecutive season of the best-selling Jazz & Popular Song series.

Buddy Rich Centennial: Celebrating the Jazz Drum
Apr 7-8, 2017, 8pm
Rose Theater
Ali Jackson will invigorate the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in a virtuosic display of big band drums and rhythm. The drums are the engine of a jazz band, and this concert will showcase how expert drummers energize and uplift the audience and the entire band. To open the evening, Jackson will arrange the music of Buddy Rich, an innovative big band genius who would have turned 100 this year. Rich was a renowned musical powerhouse for most of the 20th century, influencing generations and offering a visceral excitement that few drummers could capture. Tonight, Jackson and special guest drummers will do justice to that legacy. His encyclopedic knowledge of jazz styles ranges from the earliest American drum cadences to ragtime, marching bands, West African traditions, Brazilian music, the Detroit jazz tradition, and Afro-Cuban styles. For the program’s second half, audiences will witness the world-premiere of Jackson’s Rhythm Concerto, an extended piece written in the innovative spirit of drum greats like Rich. It promises to showcase the juxtaposition of raw energy and refined technical skills that define the best big band drummers. The drum set will be featured not only as a driving, propulsive force, but also as a melodic solo voice in inventive and unexpected ways. Given Jackson’s unparalleled knowledge of his instrument, it promises to be a unique and memorable way to celebrate this very special occasion.

Ella Fitzgerald Festival
Celebrating Ella: The First Lady of Jazz

Apr 27-29, 2017, 8pm
Rose Theater
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis celebrates the centennial of Ella Fitzgerald, a vocalist whose legacy and influence define a classic era of jazz singing. Through diverse repertoire arranged by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, tonight’s guest vocalists will demonstrate why the “First Lady of Song” remains a case study in succinct phrasing and uncompromising musicality. Joining the Orchestra for this special occasion are two celebrated veteran vocalists: Kenny Washington and Roberta Gambarini. Washington – Ravi Coltrane’s favorite vocalist – carries on Ella’s legacy by finding the maximum impact in each and every song, utilizing his enormous range and improvisational skills with restraint and impeccable taste. Gambarini – a similarly tasteful yet boldly original artist – was described by NEA Jazz Master Hank Jones as “the best new jazz singer to come along in 50 years.” In Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial year, you will witness how her most identifiable traits and her complete devotion to originality and authenticity inspire the best musicians of our time.

Michael Feinstein: The Music of Mel Tormé
May 3, 2017, 7pm
May 4, 2017, 7pm & 9pm
The Appel Room
A singer, historian, and consummate entertainer, director Michael Feinstein brings irrepressible charm and encyclopedic knowledge to the Jazz & Popular Song series. The latest edition in this exciting series is a spirited dedication to Mel Tormé, an iconic songwriter called the “velvet fog” in reference to his enchantingly smooth voice. Tormé was a remarkably effective singer; with the soothing sound of a classic crooner, deep musical sophistication, and emotional intensity in his treatment of melody, he amplified the impact of already powerful songs. As his numerous countless fans have come to expect, Feinstein’s foray into the world of Tormé will be insightful, moving, and highly entertaining.

John Scofield
May 5-6, 2017, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Guitar icon John Scofield is a one-of-a-kind virtuoso known for his versatility and signature blend of jazz, funk, rock, R&B, and soul. Audiences in the House of Swing this weekend will experience a complete showcase of his artistic range. For these concerts, Scofield will add new insights to two of his most revered albums, exploring them for the first time since their original release. The first of these albums is 1986’s Blue Matter, one of his first releases after leaving Miles Davis’ group. This career-changing record displays Scofield’s sophisticated fusion of searing rock and blues riffs, harmonically advanced jazz vocabulary, and deep-in-the-pocket funk. We are fortunate to have original bassist Gary Granger and drummer Dennis Chambers enlisted for this show, reuniting one of the most aggressively funky rhythm sections ever assembled. The second album to be explored is 1996’s Quiet, featuring Scofield on classical nylon guitar in a moving departure from his electric guitar wizardry. Scofield will lead a sextet of reeds and horns alongside an all-star band of Bill Stewart, Larry Grenadier, and master saxophonist Joe Lovano to perform this delicately lyrical repertoire. From the lush and contemplative Quiet to the raging funk of Blue Matter, this experience could only be brought to you by the man known as “Sco’.”

Cécile McLorin Salvant
May 19-20, 2017, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
A breathtaking young vocalist whose musical expertise far exceeds her years, Cécile McLorin Salvant has ascended to the major leagues in the blink of an eye. With a voice, a vision, and an impeccable band at her side, the soulful 26-year-old vocalist has topped critics’ polls, earned fans around the world, and received back-to-back Grammy nominations for her past two albums. For her third headlining appearance in The Appel Room, Salvant crafts a program completely of her choosing. Through original compositions, timeless hits, and forgotten gems, you will witness Salvant’s incredible ability to assimilate a vast lineage of jazz vocalists into her own powerful and distinct expression.

Count Meets the Duke
May 19-20, 2017, 8pm
Rose Theater
Wynton Marsalis, Vincent Gardner, and Rodney Whitaker–all current or former members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra–join a group of handpicked young artists to perform the music of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Kansas City’s Count Basie Orchestra remains a standard-setting example of a hard-swinging big band, with iconic soloists, infectious tunes, and the eternally envied “All-American Rhythm Section” of Jo Jones, Freddie Green, and Walter Page. Duke Ellington, too, was an extraordinary bandleader, as well as a genius composer of incalculable influence. Throughout its incredible variety, Ellington’s music has a timeless quality and unmatched ability to uplift and enlighten, offering an ideal showcase a big band’s nuance and cohesion. The rising stars in tonight’s band are in early stages of what will surely be exciting musical careers, and each has earned a spot onstage through deep dedication. When the Count meets the Duke, it will be an inspiring multigenerational exploration of the jazz canon’s core.

Monk Festival
World of Monk

June 1-3, 2017, 8pm
Rose Theater
With its iconic melodies, insightful harmonic progressions, and complex but danceable rhythms, the music of Thelonious Monk offers limitless opportunity for improvisation and interpretation. Monk’s music is loved all over the world, and because of its fundamental simplicity, musicians of all styles and backgrounds find kinship in it. This global exploration of Monk features the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, two very special guests, and brand new Monk arrangements. The first of tonight’s featured guests is flutist Baqir Abbas, a virtuoso Pakistani musician who has performed with the JLCO on several prestigious occasions. Abbas’ solo-trading performance with Ted Nash is a highlight of Song of Lahore – the 2015 documentary chronicling the Sachal Jazz Ensemble’s historic journey to the Rose Theater stage. The JLCO’s second guest this evening is Hamilton de Holanda, a top Brazilian instrumentalist widely considered the “Jimi Hendrix of the bandolin.” A versatile master who has singlehandedly reinvented the 10-string bandolin, de Holanda synthesizes distinct musical styles from around the world. Together, these international virtuosos and our American big band will interpret Monk’s music in a way completely unique to this collaboration.

Monk Festival
Round Midnight: Monk’s Legacy
June 2-3, 2017, 7pm & 9:30pm
The Appel Room
Thelonious Monk is a singular genius in the world of jazz. Exceptionally difficult and equally gratifying to play, his masterfully constructed compositions are proving grounds for thoughtful improvisation. One such composition is the masterpiece Round Midnight, written when Monk was only 18 years old. Tonight, his music will be performed by two of the most exciting young pianists of the next generation of jazz: 13-year-old Indonesian sensation Joey Alexander, the first true child prodigy in the history of jazz; and New Orleans’ Sullivan Fortner (also known as “Church Swing”), recipient of the 2015 American Pianists Association’s prestigious Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz honor. In a notable measure of their exceptional musicality, both of these artists have received extensive praise for their own interpretations of Monk. Following Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Annual Gala in 2014, DownBeat gushed that Alexander “played his own solo variations on [Monk’s] “Round Midnight” with a breathtaking precocity and mastery of several decades of piano style.” And after winning the aforementioned Cole Porter Fellowship, the New York Times described Fortner as “calling Monk himself to mind,” with his “driving, staccato attack.” With unwavering dedication, these exceedingly talented young artists are on the path to greatness. Make sure you can say you were there when they shared the House of Swing’s most elegant stage.

Ella Fitzgerald Festival
Michael Feinstein: Ella On My Mind
June 7, 2017, 7pm
June 8, 2017, 7pm & 9pm
The Appel Room 
In Michael Feinstein’s final Jazz & Popular Song concert of the season, the multi-platinum selling interpreter of American song will perform classics made famous by Ella Fitzgerald. The “First Lady of Song” was a particularly well-rounded musician, an impeccable singer and endlessly influential improviser. Drawing broadly across the Great American Songbook, she shaped definitive versions of countless tunes written by top composers like Irving Berlin and the Gershwins. Feinstein possesses an incomparable knowledge of this musical canon and an expert ability to interpret its greatest icons. His masterful knowledge combined with Ella’s timeless repertoire will make for an exquisite evening in the unparalleled setting of The Appel Room.