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D.C.’s Kennedy Center Announces 2017-18 Jazz Series

Performers include Carla Bley, Paquito D'Rivera, Lee Konitz, Christian Sands, Harriet Tubman, Randy Weston and more

Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran
Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced its jazz programming for the 2017-18 season (Sept. 2017–June 2018). Nine NEA Jazz Masters are slated to perform including Kenny Barron, Carla Bley, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ron Carter, Paquito D’Rivera, Jimmy Heath, Lee Konitz, Jimmy Owens and Randy Weston.

Highlights of the upcoming season include all-star events to celebrate the centennial birthdays of Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie (both were born in Oct. 1917); pioneering South African artists Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela reuniting in concert; Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran with the NSO Pops performing the soundtrack to the movie Selma during a showing of the film; Carla Bley and the Liberation Music Orchestra in a performance of the music of bassist and composer Charlie Haden and continuation of the Discovery Artist and Renée Fleming VOICES series.

In a press release sent to JazzTimes, Moran, who has extended his commitment to the Kennedy Center through 2021, states, “From marking the centennial of two important architects of bebop, Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, to highlighting the next generation of musicians aiming for the same success that Monk and Gillespie conquered, the upcoming season spans the past 100 years of jazz and celebrates its indelible impact. I am excited for audiences to hear about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going.”

For more information and to purchase tickets visit

Performance Schedule

Sept. 22, 2017 (Concert Hall)
: a film and live music event with the NSO Pops, Jason Moran and others

Oct. 6, 2017 (Terrace Theater)
Jason Moran and Q-Tip

Oct. 8, 2017 (Concert Hall)
Thelonious Monk Centennial Celebration with Jason Moran, Geri Allen and Kenny Barron (full lineup TBD)

Oct. 13, 2017 (Terrace Theater)
Renée Fleming VOICES: Renée Fleming and Christian McBride

Oct. 14, 2017 (Terrace Theater)
Lee Konitz at 90

Oct. 21, 2017 (Eisenhower Theater)
Dizzy Gillespie Centennial Celebration with the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band; Paquito D’Rivera, Jimmy Heath and Jimmy Owens; Terrell Stafford, Antonio Hart, Cyrus Chestnut and Steve Davis (full lineup TBD)

Oct. 27, 2017 (Terrace Theater)
Ron Carter

Oct. 29 & 30, 2017 (Terrace Theater)
Carrie Mae Weems, Grace Notes: Reflections for Now with vocalists Alicia Hall Moran, Imani Uzuri, and Eisa Dav

Nov. 6, 2017 in the (Theater Lab)
Django Festival Allstars featuring Dorado and Amati Schmitt

Nov. 18, 2017 (KC Jazz Club)
Discovery Artist: Christian Sands

Dec. 9, 2017 (Terrace Theater)
NPR’S A Jazz Piano Christmas (lineup TBD)

Dec. 16, 2017 (KC Jazz Club)
Harriet Tubman: The Band (drummer J.T. Lewis, guitarist Brandon Ross and bassist Melvin Gibbs)

Dec. 31, 2017 (Terrace Theater)
A Jazz New Year’s Eve: Dee Dee Bridgewater’s Memphis

Jan. 19 & 20, 2018 (KC Jazz Club)
Louis Hayes, Serenade for Horace

Jan. 26, 2018 (KC Jazz Club)
Discovery Artist: Joel Ross Good Vibes

Feb. 2, 2018 (KC Jazz Club)
Ruthie Foster

Feb. 3, 2018 (KC Jazz Club)
Discovery Artist: Arcolris Sandoval

Feb. 9, 2018 (KC Jazz Club)
Eric Harland and Voyager

Feb. 10, 2018 (Terrace Theater)
Randy Weston’s African Rhythms: A Tribute to James Reese Europe

Mar. 2, 2018 (KC Jazz Club)
Jason Moran Poetry with Elizabeth Alexander and Yusef Komunyakaa

Mar. 3, 2018 (KC Jazz Club)
Mingus Big Band

Mar. 9, 2018 (Concert Hall)
Philip Glass: 20 Etudes with Jason Moran

Mar. 10, 2018 (KC Jazz Club)
Myra Melford: Snowy Egret

Mar. 24, 2018 (KC Jazz Club)
Akua Allrich

Apr. 6, 2018 (KC Jazz Club)
Discovery Artist: Afro Blue, Howard University’s Premier Vocal Ensemble

Apr. 28, 2018 (Concert Hall)
The Jazz Epistles: The Story in Concert featuring Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya and Hugh Masekela

May 5, 2018 (Terrace Theater)
Celebrate Mary Lou Williams with Eliane Elias, Amina Claudine Myers with her trio and Anat Cohen

June 1, 2018 (Terrace Theater)
Carla Bley and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra: A Salute to Charlie Haden

June 7–9, 2018 (Millennium Stage)
Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead

June 27, 2018 (Concert Hall)
NSO Pops: A Night of Jazz with Gregory Porter

Originally Published