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Winter Jazzfest Modifies Program for 2021

This year's schedule will stretch from January into March; six talks and one concert have been announced so far

Lakecia Benjamin (photo: Elizabeth Leitzell)
Lakecia Benjamin (photo: Elizabeth Leitzell)

The COVID-19 pandemic goes on. Yet so must the jazz world, and New York’s Winter Jazzfest, the first major jazz event of the calendar year, has announced plans to continue its 17-year tradition. It will not, however, be presented in person in its 2021 edition.

The festival has so far announced a lineup of six talks and panel discussions, which this year will extend from January into March, in addition to one concert. Three of the talks will focus on the year’s social-justice theme of jazz and gender; the other three are installments in a series called “Fertile Grounds,” which “brings together visionary artists—jazz musicians and multidisciplinary artists—across disciplines to discuss their inspirations, and pursuits through their creative practice.” The artists engaged for the “Fertile Grounds” events include Nate Lewis, Kassa Overall, Cecily Bumbray, Tsedaye Makonnen, and Matana Roberts.

“Marching On: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.” is the first concert of the 2021 festival. Scheduled for January 15 at 7 p.m., the concert includes saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, poet and organizer Mahogany Browne, vocalist and educator C. Anthony Bryant, actress and poet Linda Labeija, actor Ty Jones, R&B singer Deva Mahal, R&B singer/songwriter Tank, and harpist Brandee Younger. The concert will be livestreamed via Summerstage Anywhere.

All events are free of charge and open to the public. More events and performances will be announced in the coming days.

Visit for more information.