What’s Free, What’s Priceless
The Charlotte Jazz Festival is back in Uptown through May 4. It’s a week rich with world–renowned artists such as Wynton Marsalis and Broadway songstress Patina Miller, a slew of amazing performances at Romare Bearden Park, and free jazz concerts.
*Ticketed Events: Call 704–372–1000 to order.*
Wednesday at 7 p.m., Romare Bearden Park (300 S. Church St.); Kickoff
Camille Thurman joins forces with The Darrell Green Trio and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis to kick off the 2019 Charlotte Jazz Festival. Acclaimed by Downbeat Magazine as a rising star with “soulful inflection and remarkable, Fitzgerald–esque scat prowess,” and hailed by All About Jazz as a “first–class saxophonist that blows the proverbial roof off the place,” Thurman has been amazing audiences throughout the world. Tickets Start at $24.50.
Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Romare Bearden Park
Havana Nights with Gino Castillo & The Cuban Cowboys
It’s the ultimate Latin Jazz dance party! Gino Castillo & The Cuban Cowboys feature a mix of talented musicians from Connecticut, North Dakota, Venezuela and Cuba known for high–energy performances sure to get you on your feet. Castillo is currently in permanent residency at Prohibition in Charleston, where he presents Havana Nights. Tickets start at $10.
Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts
The Future of Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis: Ellington through the Ages
Wynton Marsalis, bassist Rodney Whitaker, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, and saxophonist Dan Block lead an all–Ellington showcase with 16 of the best young professionals on the scene. This concert explores decades of Ellington’s music, including his earliest hits, Hollywood charts, swinging blues numbers, pieces inspired by his international travels, and portions of his later suites. Tickets start at $25.00.
Friday, Romare Bearden Park: Blues Triple Header
Three talented women sing and play the blues all night long in the Jazz Tent! The Donna Hopkins Band, Deva Mahal and Maria Muldaur perform during the Blues Triple Header we like to call “Ladies Sing the Blues.” One ticket gets you in for all three amazing performances!
6 p.m., The Donna Hopkins Band
Donna Hopkins is the real deal. Born and raised on a North Alabama farm, Donna channeled life in the South into the soulful music that she creates. Her grandfather was a bluegrass musician and her mother performed rock and roll in go–go boots and mini–skirts. Following in their footsteps, Donna is a triple threat as a singer, songwriter and guitarist.
7:45 p.m., Deva Mahal
Deva Mahal is a genre–defying powerhouse vocalist and songwriter whose blues roots blossom from R&B, indie–pop, soul, rock, and gospel. “Run Deep,” her aptly–named debut album, was produced by Scott Jacoby. The New York Times calls her music “hand–clapping, piano–pounding, call–and–response buildup.” Grammy.com named her “#1 Best New Bands at SXSW 2018.”
9:30 p.m., Maria Muldaur
Maria Muldaur is an American blues singer who was part of the early 1960s music revolution. She recorded the 1973 hit song “Midnight at the Oasis,” and in the 40 years since has toured extensively and recorded 40 solo albums. Her latest release, “Don’t You Feel My Leg––The Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blue Barker,” was nominated for the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. Tickets start at 24.50.
Friday, 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m., Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Internationally renowned jazz baritone Nicolas Bearde brings his soulful stylings to Jazz at the Bechtler. Expect time–tested standards, blues and swinging improvisational jazz works. Concerts are performed at 6 and 8:15 p.m. with no intermissions. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. concert and 7:45 p.m. for the 8:15 p.m. concert. General seating is first come, first served. Enjoy light bites and a cash–only bar. Standing room only is available after all seats are claimed. Tickets start at $10 for museum members.
Friday, 7:30 p.m., Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra presents ‘Spaces,’ an all–new composition by Wynton Marsalis
Marsalis does not appear in this performance, but his composition will be the highlight of the event. “Spaces” combines modern dance with big band jazz while exploring nature. Each of its ten movements corresponds to a different animal, from “King Lion” to “Bees, Bees, Bees,” expressing the diversity, humor, and quirky majesty found in the animal kingdom. For this performance, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will be joined by Bessie Award–winning ‘jookin’ dance artist Myles Yachts and Broadway tap artist Jared Grimes. Tickets Start at $25.
Saturday, 11 a.m., Romare Bearden Park
Saturday Morning Jazz Brew
Ocie Davis takes the stage for a morning full of sweet jazz sounds with special guests Stephanie Jordan and Jamil Sharif! A Charlotte resident, Ocie Davis is a master jazz drummer, educator, and composer who has performed with influential jazz figures like Ellis Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Christian Scott, Nicolas Payton, and Donald Harrison. Joining Ocie are New Orleanians vocalist Stephanie Jordan and trumpeter/vocalist Jamil Sharif. Tickets start at $19.50.
Saturday, Romare Bearden Park: Gentlemen of Jazz
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra veterans Paul Nedzela, Kenny Rampton, and Carlos Henriquez lead three performances in the Jazz Garden Tent. One ticket covers all three performances.
Paul Nedzela Quartet – 6 p.m.
Paul Nedzela (JLCO Baritone Saxophone) has played with many renowned artists and ensembles, including Wess Anderson, George Benson, The Birdland Big Band, Bill Charlap, Chick Corea, Dianne Reeves, Frank Sinatra Jr., The Temptations, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Reginald Veal, and Max Weinberg, to name a few. He also performed in Twyla Tharp’s Broadway show, “Come Fly Away,” and in festivals around the world.
Kenny Rampton Octet presents ‘The Paradise Blue Suite’ – 7:45 p.m.
Trumpeter Kenny Rampton presents a suite of original music composed for award–winning playwright Dominique Morisseau’s “Paradise Blue.” Rampton joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2010, and leads his own sextet in addition to performing with numerous professional bands. Rampton was the featured soloist on the Miles Davis/Gil Evans classic version of “Porgy and Bess.” Some of his Broadway credits include “Finian’s Rainbow,” “The Wiz,” “Chicago: The Musical,” “In The Heights,” and “Hair.”
Carlos Henriquez presents “Dizzy Con Clave” – 9:30 p.m.
Carlos Henriquez is the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s bassist and, according to DownBeat Magazine, “an emerging master in the Latin jazz idiom.” Henriquez pays tribute to trumpet master Dizzy Gillespie with his latest album release “Dizzy Con Clave,” integrating Cuban rhythms with the hot sounds of a modern jazz orchestras. Henriquez has performed with greats like Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, and Celia Cruz since the age of 14. Ticket start at $34.50.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts
Patina Miller sings Nina Simone
Tony Award winner and star of the hit CBS drama “Madam Secretary” Patina Miller lends her vocals to pay tribute to the late, great Nina Simone. Though most famously known onstage for her role as lead in the Broadway revival of “Pippin,” Miller made her feature film debut in the “Hunger Games” series. She made her Broadway debut and earned her first Tony award nomination in the stage adaptation of “Sister Act.” Miller performed her first solo concert at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts during its 2013/14 theatrical season. Tickets start at $34.50.
The Festival includes many free events such as –
Lunch Hour Jazz
Monday through Friday, April 29––May 3rd
11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Jazz Pavilion at Levine Center for the Arts
April 29 – Calvin Edwards Trio (straight ahead jazz)
April 30 – Airstream (alternative jazz)
May 1 – Ariel Pocock Quartet (classic soul jazz)
May 2 – Shrimp and Grits (modern jazz)
May 3 – Pharez Whitted Group (straight ahead/modern jazz)
Jazz at the Pavilion – Jazz Pavilion at Levine Center for the Arts
Thursday, May 2
5:30 p.m. – Laura Reed
7:00 p.m. – Noel Friedline
Friday, May 3
5:30 p.m. – Jazz Arts Allstars Youth Ensemble
7:00 p.m. – Kobie Watkins Grouptet
8:30 p.m. – Dawn Anthony and the Synergy Jazz Ensemble
10:00 p.m. – Sharp Nine Sextet
Saturday, May 4
1:00 p.m. – Groove 8
2:30 p.m. – Tim Scott and Friends
4:00 p.m. – Jazz Band Showcase
6:00 p.m. – Karen Gordon
7:30 p.m. – Al Strong
9:00 p.m. – The Reggie Sullivan Project
Late Night Jams at Knight Underground, underneath the Knight Theater
Friday and Saturday
Loonis McGlohon Young Jazz Artist Competition
Saturday, May 4th 2 p.m. The Jazz Garden Tent at Romare Bearden Park
Charlotte legend Loonis McGlohon was a world–renowned master musician, composer and visionary. Blumenthal Performing Arts and The Leon Levine Foundation established the Loonis McGlohon Young Jazz Artist Competition, in which 10 finalists will perform. The competition will be judged by a panel of musicians from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and is open to the public, so come and cheer for your favorite young artist.