Partners Celebrate Legacy of Jazz in Harlem Featuring Concerts by Emerging and Established Artists, Panel Discussions, Films and More
Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival The Prestige of the Past... the Pulse of the Present
NEW YORK, NY: Renewing their partnership for the third year, the Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile, Inc., in collaboration with Columbia University, will join forces to present the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival from May 6-11, 2013. The three cultural organizations will present a series of concerts and events to celebrate the rich legacy of jazz in the uptown community while bringing both established and emerging artists to famed Harlem venues. This year, the festival will pay tribute to The Alhambra Ballroom, the Apollo Theater, The Baby Grand, Minton’s Playhouse, Clark Monroe’s Uptown House, Showman’s Jazz Club, the Sugar Cane Club and the Cotton Club. In addition to concerts at jazz shrines throughout Harlem, festival events will take place at Harlem Stage Gatehouse, Cowin Auditorium at Teacher’s College and Ginny’s Supper Club.
Designed to draw a diverse audience of neighborhood residents, New Yorkers and tourists, events are free or $10 and up. Concerts are scheduled to allow people the option of attending several events each day, continuing the tradition of non-stop jazz throughout Harlem.
Highlights of the 2013 Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival include:
Geri Allen & Friends Celebrate the Great Jazz Women of the Apollo – Under the musical direction of jazz pianist and composer Geri Allen, this concert production pays homage to the great women singers and instrumentalists who have performed at the Apollo. Staged by celebrated actress, and director/film maker, S. Epatha Merkerson and through the words and historical narrative of acclaimed author Farah Jasmin Griffin with a musical backdrop by Deejay Val Jeanty, the performance celebrates the legacy of Nina Simone, Betty Carter, Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and others. The performance will feature vocalist Dianne Reeves, Geri Allen’s The Timeline Tap Quartet, vocalist Lizz Wright, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, saxophonist Tia Fuller, comedian Karen Malina White, guitarist Marvin Sewell, tap dancer extraordinaire Dormeshia, and the vocal ensemble Afro Blue
Marc Cary’s Celebrates Abbey Lincoln with “Moseka House: The House That Abbey Built” – This two-night celebration of American jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln by Harlem Stage favorite Marc Cary, who was Lincoln’s pianist and arranger, will be unforgettable. On night one Cary interprets Lincoln’s compositions in solo and with his Focus Trio; on the second night, Cary on piano accompanies vocalists Keith Ailer, Maggie Brown, Pyeng Threadgill, and Imani Uzuri as the performers pay homage to “Moseka House, the house that Abbey built, ” they’ll also celebrate Clark Monroe’s Uptown House, which played host to such greats as Billie Holiday and Max Roach.
Minton’s Playhouse: Legends on the Bandstand – Jazzmobile pulls out all the stops to re-create the mood and legacy of the legendary Minton’s Playhouse, this year at Ginny’s Supper Club downstairs in Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Harlem. Bringing the famed club on 118th Street back to life with a three-night celebration of Legends sharing the stage with New Titans of Jazz, the concerts shed new light on an old tradition of featuring the best of established and emerging artists. Hear how jazz swings across the generations when the bandstand lights up with the groups of Jimmy Heath and Antonio Hart, Paul West and Rashaan Carter and Junior Mance and Christian Sands. The popular Minton’s Monday Night Jam Session is back as well as a Conversation with Jimmy Heath and Stanley Crouch.
Tribute to the Baby Grand – The Apollo Music Café pays tribute to the Baby Grand Café. Located at 319 West 125th Street between St. Nicholas and 8th Avenue, Bill Potter’s Baby Grand Café served up some of the hottest stars of Jazz, as well as a 6- Course Sunday dinner. Ruth Brown, Jimmy Scott, Dakota Staton, Jimmy Smith, Etta James, Horace Silver, Charlie Mingus and other greats made the Baby Grand a go-to- late-night hot spot. This tribute concert features vocalist Lezlie Harrison, known for her burnished, soulful alto and distinctive blend of jazz, classic 70’s soul and original tunes.
ERIMAJ and Fabian Almazan – In keeping with the history of the Sugar Cane Club, which was the proving ground for many artists of yesteryear, this cutting-edge double bill features two exceptional rising young stars – drummer extraordinaire Jamire Williams, who is charting new territory with his ensemble ERIMAJ, hot off their critically-praised debut release, Conflict of a Man; and Cuban musician Fabian Almazan, considered one of the most thrilling young jazz pianists on the scene, who debuts at Harlem Stage with a string project.
The Alhambra Ballroom Revived – What would a jazz festival be without a big band? Jazzmobile is putting together A Night of Swinging with the Cab Calloway Orchestra at the beautiful Alhambra Ballroom. Dancing shoes are a plus, but the evening is not just for dancers. Bring a partner or find a mate to trip the light fantastic or take a seat and enjoy the show as the audience shares the floor with professional dancers. Food will be served, making it a perfect night to get lost in the “hi-dee-hi-dee-hi- dee-ho.”
Columbia University again collaborates with the three partners to bring humanities programming that will further highlight the cultural significance of Harlem and the Jazz Shrines Festival. The University’s programming includes Harlem Jazz Shrines Dialogues Cotton Club in Black & White and Ann Petry: The Street - Harlem in the 1940’s.
“We’re thrilled to once again partner with Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile to celebrate the incredible legacy of Jazz in Harlem, by looking back at the neighborhood’s unparalleled musical heritage and showcasing the artistic vitality of Harlem today, ” says Mikki Shepard, Executive Producer for the Apollo Theater. “This year, our focus during the festival will be to celebrate the incredible iconic women of jazz who have graced the Apollo stage through the years, from Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan to Betty Carter, Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington, Nina Simone and others. Geri Allen and friends will pay tribute to these great ladies of jazz, and the Apollo’s signature shows, Amateur Night and Apollo Music Café, will be tied to the festival as well.”
Patricia Cruz, Executive Director of Harlem Stage, added, The Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival provides an essential forum for us to claim and uphold the great musical traditions that were born and nurtured in Harlem and continue to thrive through the talent of both emerging and established artists. It enables the community and visitors to celebrate this dynamic art form and the institutions that have supported this music. In keeping with what we do, providing a showcase to rising or under- known artists, we're happy to focus on the lesser known shrines, Clark Monroe's Uptown House and the Sugar Cane Club. The Harlem Stage Gatehouse is a proud partner in this festival."
“Following the mission and mentoring of our founder, the legendary Dr. Billy Taylor, Jazzmobile has presented legends and new titans of jazz throughout Harlem for 48 years. In our partnership with Harlem Stage and the Apollo, we once again enjoy the unique and special challenge of reimagining and remembering some of Harlem’s famed jazz shrines, ” said Robin Bell-Stevens, President & CEO of Jazzmobile. “Our venues are usually the fabulous City Parks and streets of Harlem, but during the festival, we take bold leaps to create the mood and memory of the jazz shrines inside the confines of four walls. Celebrating the legacy of The Alhambra Ballroom and Minton’s Playhouse will provide an exciting look at yesterday with a dynamic twist of today.”
Tickets for many of the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival events are available now. For tickets and more information on the Festival and its partners, visit the Harlem Jazz Shrines’ website at www.harlemjazzshrines.org and/or the organizations’ websites at www.apollotheater.org, www.harlemstage.org and www.jazzmobile.org.
Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival is made possible with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts; Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; the City of New York Theater Subdistrict Council; the New York City Regional Economic Development Council; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, including Council members Robert Jackson and Inez E. Dickens; and the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
About the Apollo Theater The Apollo Theater is one of Harlem’s, New York City’s, and America’s most iconic and enduring cultural institutions. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Throughout its history, the Apollo has been a champion of jazz and jazz musicians. From the historic night in 1934 when Ella Fitzgerald first won Amateur Night, to performances by Benny Carter, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Billie Holiday and Cab Calloway, the list of jazz greats who played the Apollo goes on and on. The Apollo Theater’s new vision builds on its legacy and supports both artists and curators, who are African American and culturally diverse and emerging, mid-career and established in their career. The Apollo will continue to present historically relevant work and increase our presentations of more forward looking, contemporary work.
About Harlem Stage Now in its 30th season, Harlem Stage has been one of the nation’s leading arts organizations, having achieved particular distinction through commissioning and presenting innovative works by artists of color and facilitating a productive engagement with the communities it serves through the performing arts. Harlem Stage has a long-standing tradition of supporting artists and organizations around the corner and across the globe, including legendary artists such as Harry Belafonte, Max Roach, Sekou Sundiata, Abbey Lincoln, Sonia Sanchez, Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente and contemporary artists such as Bill T. Jones, Vijay Iyer, Mike Ladd, Tania Léon, Carl Hancock Rux and Jason Moran. Its education programs each year provide 10, 000 New York City children with access to a world of diverse cultures through the performing arts. In 2006, Harlem Stage opened its new home, the landmarked, award-winning Gatehouse - once the source of fresh water flowing to New York City, now a vital source of creativity, ideas and culture.
Jazzmobile, Inc., America’s oldest not-for-profit arts organization created just for jazz, was founded in 1964 by NEA Jazz Master Dr. Billy Taylor and Daphne Arnstein. Its mission is to present, preserve, promote, and propagate Jazz – “America’s classical music.” Jazzmobile pioneered the concept of Jazz lecture-demonstrations and mobile Jazz performances presented across New York City, and continues to serve as a model for other Jazz music presentation-focused organizations around the country. Jazzmobile reaches approximately 100, 000 people in New York City each year, consisting of multi-ethnic audiences of all ages and socio-economic levels, including the disabled. In order to reach the largest possible audience, all of Jazzmobile’s programming is presented at no or low-cost cost to participants. Other outreach includes instructional workshops and panels and symposia that provide a historical framework for Jazz and its significance to American culture.
About Columbia University in the City of New York
A leading academic and research university, Columbia continually seeks to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to foster a campus community deeply engaged in understanding and addressing the complex global issues of our time. Columbia’s extensive public service initiatives, cultural collaborations, and community partnerships help define the University’s underlying values and mission to educate students to be both leading scholars and informed, engaged citizens. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia University in the City of New York is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.