Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Masquerade Gala honors U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson and musical legend Stevie Wonder
NEW ORLEANS – Internationally acclaimed New Orleans’ jazz vocalist Stephanie Jordan will be accompanied by pianist Ellis Marsalis in a special rendition of one of Stevie Wonder’s tunes as the National Urban League pays tribute to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson; and music legend Stevie Wonder during the 2012 National Urban League Conference’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Masquerade Gala with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
“Stevie Wonder is an artist and humanitarian. I remember learning how to hand dance to My Cherie Amour”. On Saturday, I will be Dancing to the Rhythm” of Stevie's tremendous spirit. I am living another dream to sing for a man whose talent and generosity is an example for all artists to emulate” said Stephanie Jordan.
While Jordan has performed on stages such as the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the NBA All-Star Game, Chicago’s Harris Theater, the Marians Jazzroom in Bern, Switzerland and even the “Big Screen,” Jordan adds “singing to Stevie Wonder will be a special honor. A few years back Stevie Wonder and I appeared on the front page of our local newspaper on the same day, but now this is beyond belief.”
Hosted by FOX New Anchor Arthel Neville, the Gala takes place on Saturday, July 28 from 7:00 – 10:00 PM at the Morial Convention Center and is the culminating activity for a week of events.
Jordan and Marsalis performed together this past April 30 at the first annual International Jazz Day from New Orleans' Congo Square at Louis Armstrong Park. Celebrated by millions worldwide, the all-star sunrise concert led by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock was broadcast live on CBS Morning News, and video streamed live at Jazz Day and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Jordan served as a replacement for Grammy Award-winner Dianne Reeves.
Marsalis is regarded by many as the premier modern jazz pianist in New Orleans. In 2011, Marsalis and his family; sons Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis were awarded the highest honor in Jazz, NEA Jazz Masters, the first group award ever distributed by the National Endowment for the Arts. Marsalis continues to be active as a performing pianist leading, and occasionally touring, his own quartet. He has several recordings on the CBS-SONY label and currently releases recordings on his own recording label, ELM RECORDS, developed with his wife Dolores and son Jason.
Jordan, whom critics have placed in the company of Nancy Wilson and Diana Krall, began to receive noted prominence following the national televised Jazz at Lincoln Center concert for victims of Hurricane Katrina. She recently released a self-produced debut CD on her Vige Music label; the “Stephanie Jordan Sings a Tribute to the Fabulous Lena Horne; Yesterday When I Was Young” album honors the legendary Grammy Award winner who starred in many films and whose one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music (1981), was hailed as her masterpiece.
No stranger to being requested to perform special dedications, Jordan was invited to sing at the private celebration ‘Oprah Winfrey and Friends of Susan Taylor’ in honor of Susan Taylor's 37 years of service to Essence magazine. Jordan sang Susan’s favorite jazz tune; Here’s to Life by Shirley Horn.
Jordan’s capacity-filled concert with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble at the Harris Theater where she served as a late minute replacement for Grammy Award-winning singer Ledisi led Chicago Tribune’s leading art critic Howard Reich to proclaim, “The woman can sing and indisputably knows how to reach out across the footlights . . . Jordan showed ample voice, bringing heft to music of the Gershwins and Cole Porter without pushing volume levels. Clearly she values plush sound and knows how to produce it.”
Jordan is the fifth performer to emerge from a family of New Orleans bred musicians. As the daughter of saxophonist Sir Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Stephanie's musical roots run deep. Her siblings include flutist Kent, trumpeter Marlon, and classical violinist Rachel Jordan.
For three and a half days the Urban League presented “Occupy the Vote: Employment & Education Empower the Nation,” the clarion call for all conference participants to be informed and deeply engaged in various elements of economic empowerment. The conference presented unique opportunities for attendees to experience the invaluable perspectives of business, political, and community leaders working towards the achievement of true and lasting prosperity.