Kennedy Center Announces 2009-10 Jazz Series

Dianne Reeves image 0

Dianne Reeves

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. has announced its 2009-2010 jazz season. Details about the various series are as follows.

Platinum Series

The Platinum Series features the jazz world’s preeminent superstars and their signature sounds, artists whose names alone have come to symbolize the essence of their craft.

• Christmas Time Is Here, featuring vocalist Dianne Reeves (Terrace Theater, Dec. 18, 2009)

• Hot Swing featuring the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephen Grappelli with violinist Mark O’Connor and guitarist Dorado Schmitt (Terrace Theater, Jan. 16, 2010)

• Ella! featuring vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Janis Siegel (Concert Hall, Jan. 24, 2010)

• Guitarist and vocalist George Benson (Concert Hall, April 11, 2010)

Beyond Category Series

D.C.’s native son Duke Ellington once observed that some of the greatest artists are the ones whose work transcends genre and definition, whose art is “beyond category.” These concerts celebrate musicians who exhibit the kind of exceptional world-class artistry that Ellington had in mind.

• Monterey Quartet featuring bassist Dave Holland, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, saxophonist Chris Potter, and drummer Eric Harland (Terrace Theater, Oct. 10, 2009)

• Guitarist Bill Frisell (Terrace Theater, Oct. 16, 2009)

• Saxophonist Lee Konitz (Terrace Theater, Nov. 21, 2009)

Louis Armstrong Legacy Singers Series

Known the world over as “Satchmo,” Louis Armstrong was jazz’s greatest ambassador. He used his voice the same way he used his trumpet-as a means of personal expression. These concerts celebrate the master vocalist’s enduring legacy, with extraordinary performances by some of today’s best jazz singers.

• Mavis Staples (Terrace Theater, April 23, 2010, part of Gospel Across America)

• Diane Schuur (Terrace Theater, June 8, 2010, part of VSA arts Festival)

The Art Tatum Piano Panorama

With his elaborate fill-ins, sweeping runs, shifting tempos, and swinging rhythms, Art Tatum was, as his protégé Dr. Billy Taylor once said, a “whole band, complete in himself.” These concerts, presented in memory of the gifted virtuoso, feature a flourish of great pianists.

• Kenny Barron (Terrace Theater, Oct. 2, 2009)

• McCoy Tyner with the Howard University Jazz Ensemble (Terrace Theater, Nov. 6, 2009)

KC Jazz Club

Dubbed “the future of the jazz nightclub” by JazzTimes, the KC Jazz Club hosts hot new talents and seasoned jazz veterans in an intimate setting.

• Vocalist Melissa Walker Quartet featuring bassist Christian McBride (Sept. 25, 2009)

• Vocalist Giacomo Gates (Oct. 23, 2009)

• Pianist Michael Wolff with special guest saxophonist Steve Wilson (Oct. 24, 2009)

• Trumpeter Christian Scott (Nov. 13, 2009)

• Vibraphonist Stefon Harris and Blackout (Nov. 14, 2009)

• Drummer Carl Allen and bassist Rodney Whitaker (Feb. 27, 2010)

• Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis (March 12, 2010)

• Banjoist Alison Brown (March 13, 2010)

• Pianist Shelly Berg (March 20, 2010)

Discovery Series in the KC Jazz Club

As part of its mission to showcase new jazz talent, the Kennedy Center presents hot up-and-comers who are generating buzz and accolades everywhere they go. Curated by Dr. Billy Taylor, these concerts treat audiences to some of tomorrow’s biggest stars for only $15.

• Jon Irabagon, Winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition (Oct. 30, 2009)

• Pianist Jonathan Batiste (Feb. 26, 2010)

• Trumpeter Maurice Brown (March 19, 2010)

Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead

Now in its 13th year at the Kennedy Center, Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead-the Center’s national jazz residency program for emerging artists-includes two weeks of intense training in performance, composing, and arranging with established jazz artists, led by residency director saxophonist Nathan Davis. The 2010 graduates will perform three free concerts on the Millennium Stage March 25-27, 2010.

Betty Carter founded Jazz Ahead as a vehicle to bring new life into jazz and teach the most promising fledgling artists what she knew. She originally developed the program in 1993 at 651, an arts center in Brooklyn. In 1997, the Kennedy Center and Dr. Billy Taylor invited Carter to bring Jazz Ahead to Washington, D.C. On April 15, 1998, a delighted audience in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall heard the results of Carter’s intense week of work with a group of 20 young jazz artists. Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead had a new home. After Carter’s death in September 1998, Dr. Billy Taylor and the Kennedy Center decided to continue her legacy by making the Jazz Ahead program, with the principles Carter laid down as the foundation, an annual event. Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead alumni include Cyrus Chestnut, Jason Moran, Jacky Terrasson, Aaron Parks, Lage Lund, Andre Hayward, Marco Panascia, Ameen Saleem, Miri Ben-Ari, Daniela Schaechter, and others.

Fifteenth Annual Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival

As one of the first ladies of jazz, Mary Lou Williams began as Pittsburgh’s “little piano girl” and proceeded to become a musical inspiration to the world. With the inaugural Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival in 1996, Dr. Billy Taylor created the first comprehensive festival of this kind to be presented by a national arts organization. The Kennedy Center, under the leadership of Artistic Director for Jazz Dr. Billy Taylor, continues to bring women jazz artists into the spotlight with the Fifteenth Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, May 20-22, 2010. In addition to the ticketed events featuring headlining artists and their respective ensembles in the Terrace Theater, the Center also presents free performances on the Millennium Stage, including the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Competition.

In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Mary Lou Williams, the 15th Anniversary of the Festival will feature the compositions and arrangements of Mary Lou Williams.

Special Concerts

• NPR’s Jazz Piano Christmas (Terrace Theater, Dec. 11, 2009)

• A Jazz New Year’s Eve featuring John Pizzarelli in Dear Mr. Sinatra (Terrace Theater,

Dec. 31, 2009)

For more information about the Kennedy Center visit Kennedy Center.