Jazz at Lincoln Center and ‘Pioneering Women in Jazz’ will perform in Scottsdale this spring

The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts has already welcomed jazz greats to its stage this season, and there are still more to come this spring, including a special presentation of Jazz at Lincoln Center on Sunday, March 6.

With “Songs We Love,” Jazz at Lincoln Center presents up-and-coming musicians in an entertaining and engaging program that will lift you to the next level and inspire confidence in the future of jazz. “Riley Mulherkar,a??”Songs We Love”a??is a journey through the first 50 years of jazz song.

Three guest singers will join a group of rising New York stars. Combining their distinct talents, the group will sing across four decades of music, beginning with the early blues and jazz of the 1920s and ending in the early 1950s. Iconic singers to explore include Ma Rainey, billie holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.

“Songs We Love” performers include Music Director Mulherkar on trumpet with Vuyo Sotashevoice ; Brianna Thomas, voice ; Shenel Johns, vocals; Mariel Bildsten, trombone; Julian Lee, reeds; Mathis Picard, piano; Barry Stephenson, bass; and TJ Reddick, drums.

Then on Saturday, March 26, “Bessie, Billie, & Nina – Pioneering Women in Jazz” will feature three dynamic singers, each a rising star in their own right. Charnee Wade and Camille Thurman are both regular performers with Jazz at Lincoln Center and Tahira Clayton is co-leader of the Women in Jazz Organization.

Presented in affiliation with WIJO and supported by an all-female band, Wade, Thurman and Clayton celebrate the lasting legacy of Bessie Smith, billie holiday and Nina Simone with performances of classic songs by these iconic women and artists, including Smith’s “Downhearted Blues”, Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” and Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam”.

“The work these pioneering women did in their lifetime and the relevance it still has today to current social justice and women’s rights issues is striking,” said Abbey Messmer, Programming Director at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. “Art is a tool of communication, of discovery and, ideally, of progress. The music of the evening will take us on a journey in time but will also offer a moment of reflection on the present and towards the future.”

Produced by Grammy-winning Eli Wolf (norah jonesCassandra Wilson), and with arrangements by pianist and musical director Carmen Staff (Dee Dee Bridgewater), “Pioneering Women in Jazz” illustrates that the musical and social legacies of Smith, Holiday and Simone remain more relevant than ever.

Another show honoring legendary women in music will come to the center on April 13 as Beth Lederman and Jazz Con Alma with Holly Pyle will honor female songwriters with a performance titled “She, Hers, Ours.” Holiday and Simone are once again among the artists they will be channeling, in addition to Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Marianne McPartland, Jessica Williams, Esperanza Spalding and flower darling.

Other upcoming jazz performances at the center include the Concert Jazz Band and Traditional Jazz Band from Arizona State University in a Mardi Gras-themed performance on March 1; the Charles Lewis Quintet with Alice Tatum on March 6; Michael Feinsteinit’s Judy Garland celebration, “Get Happy!”, March 20; Jazz Noir with Dmitri Matheny on May 12; and the Vijay Iyer Trio on May 21.

Each concert will take place at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale, Arizona. Ticket prices vary by show. To visit ScottsdalePerformingArts.org/events or call the box office at 480-499-TKTS (8587) for more information.

All guests 12 years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken within 72 hours of the show date, along with photo ID, to attend shows. Alternatively, customers can provide proof of full vaccination. Masks are strongly encouraged to protect artists, staff and patrons. For complete health and safety protocols, visit ScottsdalePerformingArts.org/covid-19-response.

Ada J. Kenney