The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. has just announced its 2022-2023 jazz season, which opens on October 16 with a special performance in the Concert Hall by Chucho Valdés, who presents his four-movement suite La Creación, in which he explores the story of creation according to the Afro-Cuban Santería religion. In another large-scale work, Cécile McLorin Salvant presents Ogresse, which combines her background in opera and jazz with her interests in visual arts, mythology, and theater in a 90-minute dramatic song cycle about a monster with a taste for human flesh. That show on November 12 is part of the Renée Fleming VOICES series.
This is the Kennedy Center’s 12th season of jazz to be curated by Jason Moran, who succeeded Dr. Billy Taylor as the organization’s Artistic Director for Jazz. The pianist will be performing a duo concert with Christian McBride in the Terrace Theater on December 16. Among the other concerts in that venue are Terence Blanchard’s “Absence” (music inspired by Wayne Shorter), Javon Jackson’s “The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni,” NPR’s “A Jazz Piano Christmas” (featuring Hiromi, Bob Thompson, and Jose André) and a New Year’s Eve show by Carmen Lundy. The Terrace Theater will also present the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival on May 12-13, hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater and featuring her with her big band, as well as Doreen Ketchens, Somi, and Camille Thurman with the Darrell Green Quartet.
The noted performing-arts center has created a special, more intimate space for performances—the Club at Studio K—which will feature shows by Fred Hersch & Esperanza Spalding, Logan Richardson, and Hamilton de Holanda & Nduduzo Makhathini. In addition to hosting Valdés’ show, the Concert Hall (the Center’s largest venue) will present Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya (April 30) and George Benson (May 14), who closes out the season. The complete schedule is listed below.
“Something I always aim to elevate in the programming is the idea that the Center is not just a singular entity but part of a vibrant constellation of arts and culture venues that helps shape this city and the audiences that experience the space,” Moran said in a press release received at JazzTimes. “The music is not without its relationship to society and my hope is that the music and artists presented on our stages help people reexamine how they think about the world, and even more so, how they think about themselves.”
For more information about jazz at the Kennedy Center, visit their website.
The 2022–2023 Kennedy Center Jazz Season schedule:
CHUCHO VALDÉS PRESENTS LA CREACIÓN, Concert Hall
October 16, 2022 at 8 p.m.
TERENCE BLANCHARD, Absence, Terrace Theater
Featuring the E-Collective and Turtle Island Quartet
October 21, 2022 at 7 & 9 p.m.
CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT, Ogresse, Eisenhower Theater
November 12, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Presented as part of Renée Fleming VOICES
JAVON JACKSON, The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni, Terrace Theater
With Special Guest Nnenna Freelon
November 18, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas, Terrace Theater
Featuring Hiromi, Bob Thompson, José André Montaño
December 3, 2022 at 7 & 9 p.m.
JASON MORAN & CHRISTIAN McBRIDE, Terrace Theater
December 16, 2022 at 7 & 9 p.m.
A JAZZ NEW YEAR’S EVE: Carmen Lundy and Friends, Terrace Theater
December 31, 2022 at 7 & 9 p.m.
AN EVENING WITH FRED HERSCH and Esperanza Spalding, Club at Studio K
February 1–2, 2023 at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
LOGAN RICHARDSON, BLUES PEOPLE, Club at Studio K
February 10, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
HAMILTON DE HOLANDA and NDUDUZO MAKHATHINI, Routes of Discovery,
Club at Studio K
February 23, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
ABDULLAH IBRAHIM and EKAYA, Concert Hall
April 30, 2023 at 8 p.m.
MARY LOU WILLIAMS JAZZ FESTIVAL, Terrace Theater
Hosted by NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater
Featuring Doreen Ketchens, Somi, Camille Thurman with the Darrell Green Quartet, and the Dee Dee Bridgewater Big Band
May 12–13, 2023 at 7 p.m.
GEORGE BENSON, Concert Hall
May 14, 2023 at 8 p.m.