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Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

2019-20 Jazz at Lincoln Center Concert Chronology

2019-20 Jazz at Lincoln Center Season Concerts

THE SOUTH AFRICAN SONGBOOK
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF DEMOCRACY

September 12–14, 2019 | 8pm | Rose Theater

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis kicks off Opening Weekend in Rose Theater with a musical celebration of South African democracy, 25 years after Apartheid’s end. A diverse group of top South African musicians will join the Orchestra to perform essential South African music, with each song chosen by a guest performer and newly arranged for the show by the JLCO. South Africa has long been a vibrant and unique jazz hub, and most of the guests featured tonight helped shape the sound of jazz as a new South Africa was being born. A few of the musicians are actually young enough to have grown up in the post-Apartheid generation. Taken together, the music performed this evening reflects the sound of a nation defining itself anew. Special guests include three New York-based South African vocalists—Nonhlanhla Kheswa, Melanie Scholtz, and Jazz at Lincoln Center fan-favorite Vuyo Sotashe—plus five top instrumentalists joining us from South Africa: trumpeter Feya Faku, saxophonist McCoy Mrubata, pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, vocalist and pianist Thandi Ntuli, and traditional multi-instrumentalist Tlokwe Sehume on vocals, guitar, ram’s horn, and percussion.

CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT: THE OGRESSE
September 27–28, 2019 | 8pm | Rose Theater

“There’s a woman lived in the woods on the outskirts of town. Her skin was chocolate brown. Upon her head she wore a crown of bones…”
The Ogresse is a new musical journey created by vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. With its dark and romantic “fairytale-like” story, The Ogresse is a delightfully audacious addition to Salvant’s increasingly eclectic body of work. A generational talent adored by critics and all types of audiences, the young singer is already a master of musical storytelling, and she sells out every concert she plays at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Musical support comes from L’Orchestre LOgresse, a 13-piece chamber ensemble assembled for the show by composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue. Comprised of top-tier jazz musicians and the MIVOS string quartet, the versatile group brings to life a genre-defying musical landscape dreamed up by Salvant and Argue. Audience members will receive a copy of Salvant’s full handwritten libretto, including lyrics to The Ogresse, illustrations, and a few unusual cooking recipes preferred by the titular ogress.

FAMILY CONCERT: WHO IS CHICK COREA?
October 5, 2019 | 1pm & 3pm | Rose Theater
Our Family Concerts are always a good time, and this fun afternoon show will entertain and inspire your family—whether you’re already jazz lovers, or perhaps simply wondering, “Who is Chick Corea?” Pianist, composer, and living legend Chick Corea has found endless delight in uncovering new musical wonders. Through acoustic and electric jazz, inspired duets, and all sorts of bold “fusions,” this musical explorer has remained one of the most popular figures in music, earning 24 Grammy Awards (and counting) while maintaining the deepest respect of his peers. This hour-long educational program will feature live performances of Chick’s game-changing music and tell the inspiring story of a lifelong dreamer with a legacy built alongside Miles Davis, Return to Forever, Herbie Hancock, Béla Fleck, and even the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Great for audiences of all ages, this show will open new windows for you to explore the exciting musical world of Chick Corea.

JOE LOVANO UNIVERSAL JAZZ ENSEMBLE
October 18–19, 2019 | 7pm & 9:30pm | The Appel Room

On top of being one of the world’s best saxophonists, tenor titan Joe Lovano is also one of the most restlessly creative leaders in music. Nearly every single one of his projects features a surprising new lineup, bringing together never-before-heard combinations of creative powerhouses. His latest group features five artists from across the entire spectrum of jazz, each of them also a renowned composer, bandleader, and instrumentalist: pianist Kenny Werner, bassist John Patitucci, drummers Andrew Cyrille and Tyshawn Sorey, guitarist Liberty Ellman, and trumpeter Graham Haynes.

A SWINGIN’ SESAME STREET CELEBRATION: 
50 YEARS AND COUNTING
October 25, 2019 | 7pm | Rose Theater
October 26, 2019 | 2pm & 7pm | Rose Theater
Sunny Days! Sesame Street comes to Jazz at Lincoln Center for a swinging celebration of Sesame’s 50th anniversary. See some of your favorite Sesame Street Muppet characters sing classic Sesame songs alongside the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.  It’s hard to imagine Sesame Street without its music, and Sesame has always featured some seriously great tunes performed by real jazz musicians like trumpeter Kenny Rampton, a longtime member of both the JLCO and the Sesame band. All of the jazz greats have visited Sesame Street over the years. Thanks to the show, countless children were introduced to Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, and Mary Lou Williams, and our own Wynton Marsalis even visited Sesame Street a few times, playing “Take the A Train” with the Duck Ellington Orchestra and joining Hoots the Owl on “No Matter What Your Language (Our Music Can Be The Same).” Likewise, the JLCO has transformed Sesame Street favorites into big band bonanzas, and this show will feature brand-new arrangements of Sesame Street gems. No one is too young or too old to enjoy this playful, intelligent, and joyful music, so come on down to our home, the House of Swing, and help us celebrate 50 years of our wonderful neighbors from Sesame Street.
Proudly presented in collaboration with Sesame Workshop.

ECM RECORDS AT 50
WITH VIJAY IYER, BILL FRISELL, AND MORE

November 1–2, 2019 | 8pm | Rose Theater
Tonight we celebrate 50 years of the monumentally influential ECM Records, rightfully called “one of the defining sound-worlds of the past half-century of recorded music” by the New Yorker. The show includes an outstanding lineup of performers including Joe Lovano, Craig Taborn, Vijay Iyer, Avishai Cohen, Meredith Monk, Bill Frisell, Larry Grenadier, Ravi Coltrane, Anja Lechner, Ethan Iverson,andNik Bartsch. These are some of the most respected and ambitious figures in contemporary creative and improvised music, and their close association with the prestigious record label is no coincidence. An independent label founded by visionary producer Manfred Eicher, ECM selects extraordinary artists and provides them with the freedom and support to create something truly special. ECM recordings are immediately recognizable for the intimate quality of their sound; you know what you’re hearing is purposeful and real, and it reflects an authentic beauty found in the artists’ live performances. More than half of the artists performing tonight have appeared as Jazz at Lincoln Center headliners on their own merits, and tonight we have the rare opportunity to witness these artists perform on one stage. This 50-year anniversary celebration will be a proper salute to a record label that, with an unwavering commitment to quality, has contributed so uniquely and extensively to contemporary music.

CHUCHO VALDÉS
WITH SPECIAL GUEST CHICK COREA
November 15–16, 2019 | 8pm | Rose Theater
Pianists Chucho Valdés and Chick Corea are two of the all-time greats, living legends as musically virile now as ever. They have won more than 30 Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards combined, while redefining modern music in the process. Tonight, they play together for the first time.With fleet-fingered, cross-cultural brilliance in every phrase, Valdés brings unbridled passion and astonishing technique not only to his Cuban music heritage, but also to a vast lineage of American jazz piano traditions. The experience of hearing Valdés live holds up in every possible concert setting—whether he’s leading a hard-grooving Afro-Cuban group like the legendary Irekere or delivering one of his renowned solo performances, every ounce of energy is felt, and every emotional nuance rings true. The first half of this concert will be a master class in solo piano performance, with Valdés selecting and improvising pieces across a broad spectrum of Cuban, Afro-Latin, and jazz styles. For the second half of the concert, we asked Valdés, “If you could play with any artist with whom you’ve never played before, who would you pick?” His answer, “Chick Corea,” sets the stage for an unforgettable performance. These singular giants of jazz have spent their lives breaking new ground across musical traditions, and their debut collaboration will be as immensely entertaining as it is historic.

ABYSSINIAN MASS BY WYNTON MARSALIS
November 21–23, 2019 | 8pm | Rose Theater

Everyone has a place.” We live by these words at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Wynton Marsalis’ epic Abyssinian Mass embodies them. Featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with 70-piece gospel choir Chorale le Chateau, under the direction of Damian L. Sneed, Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass is a joyful celebration of togetherness and the human spirit. Bringing full-throated gospel together with a massive range of jazz styles, Abyssinian Mass is a sweeping blend of big band bravado, impassioned solos, handclaps, tambourine slaps, and some of the mightiest voices you’ll hear outside of church. Commissioned in 2008 to honor the bicentennial of Harlem’s famed Abyssinian Baptist Church, Abyssinian Mass has since become a best-selling record and performed in packed concert halls and churches around the country. The unique masterpiece now returns exclusively to its hometown for three nights in the House of Swing. Abyssinian Mass reminds us, "In this great land of ours, everyone has a place." Created and performed for audiences of all faiths and backgrounds, Abyssinian Mass is a spirited and swinging affirmation of just how good it can feel to be human.

NEW ORLEANS JAZZ ORCHESTRA
WITH RENÉ MARIE & DAVELL CRAWFORD
December 13–14, 2019 | 7pm & 9:30pm | The Appel Room

The Grammy Award–winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra takes the sonic power and stylistic versatility of a big band, adds a healthy New Orleans emphasis on groove and accessibility, and applies it to an unusually expansive repertoire of originals, jazz staples, New Orleans classics, and pop, rock, R&B, and soul hits. Under new leadership from artistic director and drummer Adonis Rose, the band is showcasing more of its range than ever before. On top of its regular shows featuring an eclectic blend of reimagined favorites, NOJO has recently dedicated entire concerts to the music of John Coltrane, Whitney Houston, Earth, Wind & Fire, and New Orleans R&B composer/producer Allen Toussaint, among others. The NOJO is a band for all types of listeners and an especially great entry-point for new fans of jazz. With a rotating cast of the city’s best musicians, NOJO highlights the depth and communal feeling that makes the music of New Orleans so famously uplifting. The band is equally fun when it gets down to basics with classic New Orleans tunes, and its genre-crossing surprises just further prove that New Orleans’ unique musical energy can reinvigorate all types of American music. To top it off, tonight's performance features vocalist and keyboardist Davell Crawford, known as the “Piano Prince of New Orleans,” and jazz vocalist extraordinaire René Marie, a modern icon well-loved by Jazz at Lincoln Center audiences. NOJO offers you a fresh take on what it means to be a jazz big band, and it exemplifies the mantra that “all jazz is modern.”

STEVE MILLER
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY & THE BLUES
 December 13–14, 2019 | 8pm | Rose Theater

 Renowned blues-rock guitarist, multi-platinum-selling singer/songwriter, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Steve Miller continues his exploration of the 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, James Cotton, and Paul Butterfield—Miller has a serious affinity for the blues. As fans of the blues well know, it’s a genre that adopts rich new flavors depending on the setting. Miller works with Jazz at Lincoln Center every season to explore and expand upon a new side of the blues, revealing distinctive characteristics found in our most vibrant traditions. This season’s program will be a spirited celebration of saxophone legend Cannonball Adderley. Miller will be joined by the Patrick Bartley Sextet, led by one of the city’s hottest young saxophonists, and soulful vocalist Brianna Thomas, who brings just the right mix of grit and grace to compliment one of modern music's most recognizable voices.

BIG BAND HOLIDAYS
December 18, 2019 | 7pm | Rose Theater
December 19–21, 2019 | 8pm | Rose Theater
December 22, 2019 | 2pm | Rose Theater
It’s the most wonderful time of year in the House of Swing! The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and music director Marcus Printup continue a beloved New York tradition with Big Band Holidays. Featuring soulful big band versions of classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Joy to the World,” and “Brazilian Sleigh Ride,” Big Band Holidays is an uplifting holiday program that plays to sold-out audiences every December. Big Band Holidays is renowned for showcasing some of the most exciting and charismatic vocalists on the scene, with recent editions including Cécile McLorin Salvant, Gregory Porter, René Marie, Vuyo Sotashe, Veronica Swift, and Catherine Russell. This year we welcome back an old favorite, the smooth-as-silk baritone vocalist Denzal Sinclaire. We’re also thrilled to present a Big Band Holidays first-timer: local teenage phenomenon Alexis Morrast, first-place winner of the nationally broadcast Showtime at the Apollo. Appealing to audiences of all ages, Big Band Holidays is a fun, one-of-a-kind holiday extravaganza. For some yuletide cheer sure to brighten up your season, spend an evening with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and host Wynton Marsalis in the festive halls of the House of Swing.

SPIRITUAL SOUNDS AND THE JAZZ AGE
January 10–11, 2020 | 8pm | Rose Theater
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis is an extraordinarily ambitious ensemble that does more than reimagine and perform classic jazz masterpieces—the band also regularly contributes new original pieces to the growing canon of great jazz works. Tonight the JLCO will revisit two of its most acclaimed originals: Victor GoinesUntamed Elegance and Chris Crenshaw’s God’s Trombones. Each of these suites highlights the ensemble’s boundless creativity, commitment to artistic vision, and the peerless musical range of its individual members. The show begins with Untamed Elegance, a thoroughly modern trip to the wild and sophisticated Jazz Age of the 1920s. You’ll hear the hot jazz of Victor Goines’ native New Orleans and the sweet sounds of 1920s dance bands like never before, as Goines introduces to them a century’s worth of musical developments. This upbeat, soulful, and characteristically swinging composition reminds us that even the earliest jazz styles are deep living traditions that continue to inspire awe and delight. God’s Trombones has been a huge hit with audiences since it premiered in 2012, with Crenshaw noting that “the emphasis is on celebration and humor.” His epic suite takes inspiration from James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, a 1927 book of poems patterned after a traditional Black American church sermon. Through seven distinctive movements, Crenshaw utilizes the full power and range of the JLCO—as well as his own amazing voice— to bring these poems to life on a stage built for music.

IN TRANSITION WITH GLENN CLOSE AND TED NASH
January 30–February 1, 2020 | 8pm | Rose Theater

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis saxophonist Ted Nash is a visionary composer at the top of his game. Nash’s most recent creation for the JLCO, The Presidential Suite, earned him Grammy Awards for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album and Best Instrumental Composition in 2017. Tonight’s concert is the world premiere of his new work, featuring the JLCO and award–winning actor and personal friend Glenn Close. In many ways, Nash’s approach to composing resembles our 2019–20 concert season as a whole: he finds musical inspiration in unexpected places—famous speeches or 20th century painters, for example—and translates those large ideas into vibrant and relatable music that feels surprisingly organic, completely true to and yet unrestricted by the heady theme from which it was born. Nash’s latest work continues this trend. This exclusive program explores the idea of what it means for a person to go through a transition of sorts, from the geographical to the physical. As inspiration for each piece, Nash has hired a collection of esteemed writers to contribute their personal musings on the topic of transitions. Glenn Close will express the writers’ sentiments to the audience, and the JLCO will perform each of Nash’s corresponding musical movements. Nash has already turned such open-ended concepts into some of finest big band music of the 21st century, and Jazz at Lincoln Center is thrilled to commission his latest suite.

DIANNE REEVES
February 14–15, 2020 | 8pm | Rose Theater
NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves sets the mood for Valentine’s Day weekend, continuing a beloved Jazz at Lincoln Center tradition (now in its ninth year!). A master vocalist and hypnotizing storyteller, Reeves has been hailed as “the most admired jazz diva since the heyday of Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday” by the New York Times. With a powerful voice, bold dramatic flair, and penchant for spontaneity, Reeves inhabits every story she sings, taking mesmerized audiences along with her for the ride. This Valentine’s Day weekend, wow the one you love (or treat yourself!) to an unforgettable musical experience in Rose Theater.

HERLIN RILEY PRESENTS CUBANOLA:
SONGS OF CUBA AND NEW ORLEANS
February 21–22, 2020 | 7pm & 9:30pm | The Appel Room

There’s just something about New Orleans drummers you don’t find anywhere else, and you’ll recognize that special feeling the moment you hear drummer extraordinaire Herlin Riley. One of the hardest-grooving, most infectiously energetic drummers alive, Riley breaks down every perceived line between art and pure entertainment. Riley says his irresistible New Orleans feel is all about the bass, and when you add his masterful tambourine playing, monster technique across the rest of kit, and an unshakeable “groove comes first” ethos, you have a true New Orleans drum master. Tonight’s concert will continue Riley’s exploration of the ways in which Latin jazz intersects with the sounds of his hometown. Featuring Cuban percussion genius Pedrito Martinez, prolific trumpeter (and fellow New Orleanian) Nicholas Payton,and young bassist extraordinaire Russell Hall, the event will showcase classic New Orleans repertoire reimagined and spiced up to include Cuban music traditions. There’s always a sense of homecoming when Riley, a longtime member of Wynton Marsalis’ small groups and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, returns to the House of Swing. Be a part of it when Cuba meets New Orleans in The Appel Room.

BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET
WITH CITIZENS OF THE BLUES
February 28–29, 2020 | 8pm | Rose Theater

The multi-Grammy Award–winning Branford Marsalis Quartet is a standard-bearer of modern instrumental jazz. The group has maintained one of the most consistent lineups in jazz history, and their chemistry and mastery of craft put them in a league of their own. In a concert season loaded with big ideas and premier collaborations, the story of tonight’s show is simply one of jazz’s longest-running bands playing extraordinary music like no one else. Marsalis wouldn’t tell it any other way; profane though it may be, the saxophone icon defined the quartet’s modus operandi with the 2013 album title Four MFs Playing Tunes. That’s what we’ll enjoy in Rose Theater, as these four “musiciens fantastiques” play music from their brand-new record, The Secrets Between the Shadow and the Soul. The repertoire includes new originals by Marsalis and members of the band, as well as a couple of upbeat selections by Keith Jarrett and Andrew Hill. Ask Marsalis what the album title means, and he’ll tell you, “There is no further explanation—it’s just a nice sound.” Enough said! That’s true of his band, too, and we don’t need to know anything more to be excited for the return of the ever-evolving, always-superb Branford Marsalis Quartet.
As a bonus, Citizens of the Blues will open the show, showcasing four of the finest young musicians on the scene: Anthony Hervey, Isaiah J. Thompson, Philip Norris, and Domo Branch. Like Marsalis’ group, these phenomenal rising stars embrace a deep lineage of jazz traditions while applying their own unique voices to create honest and exciting music.

THE ARTISTRY OF JAZZMEIA HORN:
LOVE AND LIBERATION
March 6–7, 2020 | 7pm & 9:30pm | The Appel Room

Impassioned rising star vocalist Jazzmeia Horn thinks everyone deserves to “express themselves fully, without fear or reservation”—and she’s here to lead by example. Horn has confidently taken the jazz world by storm since winning the 2015 International Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition, and Horn is truly coming into her own on the Love and Liberation tour, connecting with audiences on a whole new level. An ode to unapologetic self-love and honest expression, this is Horn’s first collection of almost-entirely original material. This Appel Room feature debut will include the same band from the album: Josh Evans on trumpet, Stacy Dillard on saxophone, Sullivan Fortner and Victor Gould on piano, Ben Williams on bass, and Jamison Ross on drums and vocals. Every musician in this young group is a prominent bandleader and first-call sideman, and Jazzmeia Horn’s vivacious leadership brings them together with an unmistakable and infectious chemistry.

FAMILY CONCERT: WHO IS DAVE BRUBECK?
March 21, 2020 | 1pm & 3pm | Rose Theater
Our Family Concerts are always a good time, and this fun afternoon show with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will entertain and inspire your family—whether you’re already jazz lovers, or perhaps simply wondering, “Who is Dave Brubeck?” This hour-long program will celebrate the tunes and tales one of music’s most influential, ambitious, and downright decent figures. Brubeck made our music and country better and, as a global jazz ambassador, he represented the best American ideals to the rest of the world. Through live performances of some of Brubeck's greatest works, you’ll hear why Brubeck’s music remains so popular and enjoyable, from the unusual rhythms that made Time Out a record-selling album, to his lively and distinctive solo pieces. Designed to entertain and inform audiences of all ages, this show honors a one-of-a-kind musician, educator, and champion of social and civil rights.

AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE
WITH JACK DEJOHNETTE AND TOM HARRELL
March 27–28, 2020 | 7pm & 9:30pm | The Appel Room

Trumpeter and composer Ambrose Akinmusire has been one of the most exciting musicians to emerge in the 21st century. As a composer and bandleader, Akinmusire brings truth to the notion that music alone can be as immersive and transportive as any form of art. Though he's one of the hottest trumpeters around, it’s the full musical worlds he creates as a composer that make each new project so eagerly anticipated. For his Jazz at Lincoln Center debut as a headliner, Akinmusire will perform his extended banyan suite, featuring his ensemble with extremely special guests. This powerful, original suite of music explores the role of mentorship in the oral and aural traditions of society and jazz. With living legends Jack DeJohnette and Tom Harrell on board, the performance exemplifies jazz as a living continuum, bringing together generations of distinctive voices through new music.

MASTERS OF FORM:
FROM MINGUS TO MONK
April 3–4, 2020 | 8pm | Rose Theater

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis invites you to experience the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, and George Russell from a new angle. With music direction by JLCO trombonist Vincent Gardner, the band will start the show by playing some of the most masterfully structured pieces in the jazz canon. The second half of the show will expand upon this unique concept with the world premiere of Usonian Structures, a new suite created by Andy Farber, one of the finest big band composers and arrangers working today. The multi-movement piece was inspired by the work of the late architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whom Farber says “redefined architecture in the new world and was a true American original—an iconoclast like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, or Lester Young, whose work parallels the development of jazz in the 20th century.” Each movement of Usonian Structures is an interpretation or impression of one of Wright’s iconic designs, and large projections of Wright’s architectural achievements will be displayed in Rose Theater while the JLCO brings them to life through music.

MARY STALLINGS AND FREDDY COLE 
WITH THE EMMET COHEN TRIO
April 17–18, 2020 | 7pm & 9:30pm | The Appel Room
Several extraordinary vocalists—each of them already a popular Jazz at Lincoln Center headliner—share The Appel Room stage in this Singers Over Manhattan season finale. Audiences will enjoy one of the most famous views in the city while Mary Stallings, Freddy Cole, and to-be-announced special guest vocalists sing their hearts out alongside pianist Emmet Cohen’s trio, featuring Russell Hall and Kyle Poole with special guest tenor saxophonist Houston Person. “Perhaps the best jazz singer singing today,” according to the New York Times, Mary Stallings has performed with the likes of Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Geri Allen, and Harry “Sweets” Edison. Every song reveals a passion and emotional depth cultivated through decades of embodying the lyrics she brings to life. Freddy Cole, too, has spent a lifetime mastering his art and is now easily one of the all-time greatest crooners. He makes it sound easy, too, with a cool, expressive delivery that sucks you in and doesn’t let go.

SHERMAN IRBY’S SUPERNOVA
FEATURING THE JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA WITH WYNTON MARSALIS
April 23–25, 2020 | 8pm | Rose Theater
JLCO saxophonist Sherman Irby leads a gravity-defying exploration of the universe with the world premiere of his new commission. After kicking off the suite with the Big Bang, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will travel through a series of distinctive movements, evoking awe-inspiring galactic phenomena from supernovas, stars, and black holes to the formation of a galaxy and life itself. A renowned scientist will work with Irby to briefly introduce each section, shedding light upon a subject before it comes to life as music. Irby’s previous commissions for the JLCO include Twilight Sounds, inspired by a Norman Lewis painting, and Inferno, a jazz ballet inspired by Dante’s Inferno, and he’s a perfect fit in this season of grand ideas transforming into live music. Even beyond the JLCO, Irby is an acclaimed composer, bandleader, educator, and one of the most formidable saxophonists around, and it’s a thrill when he dedicates his writing talents to the JLCO.

ART BLAKEY: THE LEGACY CONTINUES
May 1–2, 2020 | 7pm & 9:30pm | The Appel Room
The Art Blakey Festival continues with a reunion of elite alumni from Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, led by Ralph Peterson—the only drummer ever to play in the band alongside the drum maestro himself. A quintessential jazz band for nearly 40 years, the Jazz Messengers remained vital thanks to a constant influx of top up-and-coming talent, including every musician featured in this show. Blakey’s reputation for hiring "only the best” provided his young players with experience, exposure, and life-changing apprenticeship, and you’ll witness the fruits of that labor tonight in saxophonists Bill Pierce and Bobby Watson, trumpeter Brian Lynch, pianist Geoffrey Keezer, and bassist Essiet Essiet. Even after all of their subsequent successes, these premier musicians still share a real kinship from their formative and overlapping years in Blakey’s band. Join us in celebrating the Art Blakey centennial as this world-class ensemble honors a beloved mentor and spreads his music to a new generation of listeners.

ART BLAKEY AT 100
May 1–2, 2020 | 8pm | Rose Theater

The unique legacy of drummer and bandleader Art Blakey makes this tribute especially exciting—and even personal—for Wynton Marsalis and his handpicked group of young musicians. Art Blakey first made a name for himself in the 1940s, playing with top contemporaries like Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie. When he formed the Jazz Messengers in the 1950s, it quickly became much more than just a band. For decades, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers continued to feature the best 20-something-year-old musicians he could find. The band’s consistency was astonishing, and it became a rite of passage that would launch the careers of artists from Wayne Shorter and Lee Morgan to Terence Blanchard and Wynton Marsalis. Of course, Blakey’s keen hiring choices wouldn’t have made such a lasting impact if audiences didn’t love his music so much! Just as Blakey’s timeless music is essential to jazz, so is the tradition of mentorship and cross-generational collaboration. In honor of Art Blakey’s centennial, Marsalis and a group of young, up-and-coming jazz musicians will play the music of his iconic mentor, highlighting the songs that kept Blakey’s band vital and popular across all those years while showcasing the next generation of musicians to carry the art form forward. The next chapter is being written by Wynton Marsalis, Jeffery Miller, Zoe Obadia, Anthony Hervey, Philip Norris, and Abdias Armenteros.

JOEY DEFRANCESCO, CHRIS POTTER 
AND JEFF “TAIN” WATTS
May 15–16, 2020 | 7pm & 9:30pm | The Appel Room
Witness the world premiere of a new all-star trio assembled exclusively for this Jazz at Lincoln Center performance. The dream team comes in a classic organ trio format, with Joey DeFrancesco on the pedals and keys, tenor titan Chris Potter on saxophone, and Jeff “Tain” Watts holding it down on drums. Each musician will contribute brand-new music and revisit some old favorites for the occasion. Joey DeFrancesco is arguably the greatest jazz organist alive. With ease and obvious, infectious delight, he utilizes all four limbs to simultaneously play multiple roles, showcasing the B-3 Hammond organ’s incredible potential to be an entire band by itself. Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts is a genius of fiery rhythmic propulsion, and he has played on every Grammy Award–winning album that Wynton or Branford Marsalis has ever recorded. Chris Potter is one of the best saxophone soloists across an enormous range of styles and instrumental configurations, and fellow musicians have been studying him for years. Come check out the new tunes and tricks these virtuosos have in store for one another in the group’s anticipated debut performance.

BOBBY MCFERRIN
May 22–23, 2020 | 8pm | Rose Theater

Hailed as “one of the world’s most famous vocal chameleons” by The New York Times, Bobby McFerrin delivers one of the most transcendent experiences in live music. Truly a genre unto himself, the ten-time Grammy Award winner and multi-platinum-selling artist is a master of spontaneity, vocal ingenuity, and musical and spiritual openness. Unmatched in his welcoming and life-affirming energy, he makes everyone in attendance feel like an old friend witnessing magic. Every Bobby McFerrin concert is an improvised performance that has never before been heard––and never will be again. Watch as McFerrin explores new creative paths inspired by unexpected duets, guest instrumentalists, and participation from singers in the crowd. These improvised concerts are the stuff of legend, and McFerrin’s playful receptiveness to each twist and turn makes for an unforgettable adventure.

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN’S AMERICAN SONGBOOK
10 YEARS OF JAZZ & POPULAR SONG
June 5–6, 2020 | 8pm | Rose Theater
Singer, entertainer, and “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook” Michael Feinstein celebrates ten years of his Jazz & Popular Song series with an all-star extravaganza. Capping off a historic run in The Appel Room, Feinstein now takes the show to Rose Theater for a grand reunion of the crème-de-la-crème. As fans of the best-selling series know, each Jazz & Popular Song concert features Feinstein as host, singer, and director; the ever-swinging Tedd Firth Big Band; and some extraordinary surprise vocalists announced closer to the show. Thanks to this open format, audiences have been treated to a bevy of up-and-coming jazz stars and cabaret legends, including Marilyn Maye, Ann Hampton Calloway, Catherine Russell, Christine Ebersole, Denzal Sinclaire, Vuyo Sotashe, and Veronica Swift. We can hardly wait to find out which special guest vocalists Feinstein brings to dazzle audiences in this series climax. Feinstein could easily take on the title of “America’s Most Entertaining Encyclopedia,” with recent programs shedding glamorous new light on topics such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Broadway and Hollywood classics, great crooners, essential jazz standards, Lena Horne, the Rat Pack, Count Basie, Nat “King” Cole, and more. It’s been quite a ride, and this best-in-class cabaret spectacular is the perfect way to bring it all home.

ETIENNE CHARLES’ CARNIVAL
THE SOUND OF THE PEOPLE

June 5–6, 2020 | 7pm & 9:30pm | The Appel Room
“The sound of it, the colors of it, the energy of it—this is us as a people. One people. This is our way of celebrating freedom, celebrating life, death, family, celebrating our history, culture, food, music—it’s all in one word, and that’s ‘Carnival.’”
Trinidad & Tobago’s world-famous Carnival celebration comes to The Appel Room courtesy of trumpeter, percussionist, and composer Etienne Charles. This high-energy spectacle seamlessly blends American jazz traditions with the thrilling sights and sounds of Trinidadian Carnival. It’s hard to believe how well Charles’ beautiful jazz charts mix with the rapid percussion of an iron and steel band, the interlocking grooves of the tamboo bamboo, and the dancing and wild screams of the blue devils, who perform in full costume and character. “It’s all there,” says Charles. “That’s the real theatre—melody, rhythm, dance, image.” The music alone is outstanding, emotionally complex and impossible not to dance to, but to see the show live is the only way to get the full multisensory experience. Like any great live jazz concert, Carnival brings diverse communities together in a united celebration of individual freedom and shared history. We’re ending our 2019–20 Appel Room season in style, right in time for Caribbean Heritage Month.

ELLINGTON MASTERPIECES
June 12–13, 2020 | 8pm | Rose Theater
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis closes the concert season with an audience favorite: an all-Ellington evening of musical masterpieces. Over the course of six decades, Duke Ellington wrote well over 1,000 compositions, some of the richest and most enduring music of the past century. Across its staggering variety, Ellington’s music uplifts, enlightens, and rewards everyone from first-time listeners to lifelong fans. The possibilities are endless in a show like this. From his early days at the Cotton Club, when Duke first took the world by storm with hits like “Creole Love Call” and “Black and Tan Fantasy,” to his next wave of classics like “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Mood Indigo,” “Sophisticated Lady,” and “In a Sentimental Mood,” Duke set the standard for concise songs in which every moment makes an impact.