Charlie Parker Jazz Festival 25th Anniversary
City Parks Foundation is proud to announce the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. The festival is New York City's annual salute to the legendary late saxophonist, featuring storied veteran players as well as young jazz musicians who continue to shape and drive the art form. This year's festival runs August 23 through August 27 at parks and venues around Manhattan and will include free concerts, artist discussions, a film screening, and for the first time in the festival's history, a dedicated evening of dance.
"We are thrilled to celebrate 25 years of the beloved Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, " said Heather Lubov, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation. "In honor of this milestone we have expanded the program to 5 days, partnered with local institutions on family jazz events and open jam sessions, and are presenting a full evening of dance on the lineup for the first time. We hope all New Yorkers, young and old, jazz aficionados and new fans alike will join us in honoring the legacy of Charlie Parker and jazz in New York City."
The festival kicks off on Wednesday, August 23 at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music with "Bird With Strings, " a tribute performance featuring an ensemble of students and veteran jazz players honoring Parker's 1950 recording, Charlie Parker With Strings.
On Thursday, August 24, the festival heads uptown to Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem for Jason Samuels Smith's Chasin' The Bird Remixed, an added evening of programming in honor of the 25th Anniversary, and the first full evening of dance in the festival's history. Emmy award-winning tap dance virtuoso, Jason Samuels Smith, and Broadway veterans, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and Derick K. Grant, bring Parker's music to life through dance in this special performance featuring live music.
The festival continues in Marcus Garvey Park on Friday, August 25 with world-renowned clarinet player & saxophonist Anat Cohen, who will lead a consortium of strings, horns, percussion, and keyboards with her jazz-folk troupe, and Camille Thurman, a multi-talented saxophonist, flutist and vocalist.
On Saturday afternoon, veteran alto-saxophonist player Lee Konitz, a contemporary of Charlie Parker when bebop came on the scene, will perform with his quartet in Marcus Garvey Park joined by drumming prodigy and pioneering female percussionist Terri Lyne Carrington, one of the most recorded jazz drummers of all time Louis Hayes (who has played with the likes of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Cannonball Adderley), and rising vocalist Charenee Wade, a brave new voice on the modern jazz frontier intent on using her gift to address social change.
On Sunday, August 27, the festival travels back downtown to the place where it all began, Tompkins Square Park, home to the inaugural Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in 1993, and located just blocks away from Charlie Parker's home in the East Village. Joshua Redman, one of the most important contemporary horn players and widely considered to be the top sax man of his generation, will make his Charlie Parker Jazz Festival debut. NEA Jazz Master Lou Donaldson, revered by many as one the greatest alto saxophonists of all time; saxophone virtuosa Tia Fuller, one of the world's best jazz multi-instrumentalists, full-time professor and one-time member of the all-female band that toured with Beyoncé; and vocalist Alicia Olatuja, who performed with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Obama's second inauguration and has been in high demand ever since, will also perform to close out the final day of the festival.
In honor of the 25th Anniversary, City Parks Foundation has also partnered with local institutions to present free and open-to-the-public jazz events around the city. Events include an all ages Family Jazz Party with Festival performer Charenee Wade and a "Harlem Speaks" interview with Lee Konitz at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, a screening at The New School of the 2016 film, I Called Him Morgan, about the life and tragic death of jazz musician Lee Morgan, live jazz in the gardens at The Harlem Rose Garden and 6BC Botanical Garden, and jam sessions at Silvana and Ginny's Supper Club.
Wednesday, August 23
Family Jazz Party with Charenee Wade
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, MN
Join Charenee Wade and her band for an afternoon of singing, dancing and music making.
Free w/ RSVP at www.jmih.org, ages 5+
Wednesday, August 23
Harlem Speaks Interview Series with Lee Konitz
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem
Join 90-year-old Lee Konitz for Harlem Speaks, the Museum's signature oral history interview program. Free w/ RSVP at www.jmih.org
Wednesday, August 23
"Bird With Strings, " in association with The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music
The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Auditorium
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Ensemble of students and veteran jazz players to perform a Charlie "Bird" Parker tribute to the 1950 recording of Charlie Parker with Strings. RSVP required at www.SummerStage.org.
Wednesday, August 23
The Shed Open Jam Charlie Parker Jazz Festival Edition
9:00 PM - 1:00 AM
A special edition of New York's "Top 5 Jam Sessions" for emerging musical talent & musicians. Free, no reservations required.
Thursday, August 24
Jazz in the Garden: Art Baron, in association with Jazz Foundation of America and Ariana's List
6BC Botanical Garden, MN
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Live neighborhood jazz performances in the East Village where Charlie Parker lived. Free, no reservations required.
Thursday, August 24
Screening: I Called Him Morgan
The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Theresa Lang Student & Community Center/Arnhold Hall
6:00 PM - 7:30PM
Acclaimed documentary on the life and untimely death of celebrated jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan. Free w/ RSVP to email@example.com.
Thursday, August 24
Jason Samuels Smith's Chasin' The Bird Remixed
Marcus Garvey Park, MN
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Jason Samuels Smith
Jason Samuels Smith is New York City's very own Emmy-winning, tap dance authority. A highly commended choreographer, performer and humanitarian, Smith has been dancing and spreading joy his whole life. He has accumulated a long list of honors and dance distinctions, including awards from Dance Magazine, American Choreography, and the highly respected Gregory Hines Humanitarian Award. He's choreographed for television and other media outlets, such as Outkast's Idlewild, and the hugely popular shows So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. Smith has razzle-dazzled Broadway audiences with his rapid-fire footwork in Bring in Da' Noise, Bring in Da' Funk, and starred in another major all-tap revue, Imagine Tap!, as well as played the leading role in Debbie Allen's breathtaking film Soul Possessed and Dean Hargrove's award-winning short Tap Heat. JSS continues to astound and amaze spectators all over the world with his solo performances, as well as those with his skilled company. A truly altruistic individual, Smith uses his tap talent and celebrity to actively support many charitable organizations, including Dancers Responding to Aids, Tied to Greatness, Career Transitions for Dancers, Tap Into A Cure, Groove with Me, Move the World and more.
Thursday, August 24
In Bird We Trust
Ginny's Supper Club
Jam session celebrating the festival's anniversary featuring Harlem Jazz musicians & guest DJs. Free - bar, standing / $15 - dinner reservation (call 212.421.3821 or visit www.ginnyssupperclub.com).
Friday, August 25
Anat Cohen Tentet / Camille Thurman, in association with Jazzmobile
Marcus Garvey Park, MN
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
There are very few connoisseurs of the clarinet in this world, and Anat Cohen surely reigns supreme amongst these select woodwindists. With a wonderful outpouring of vigorously harmonious tunes, the Tel-Aviv born Cohen leads her gifted team of ten on a jazzy voyage through multiple forms (with tinges of Brazilian, Eastern European, New York and New Orleans traditions). Her band’s blend of jazz and folk truly melds musical rituals from all over the world. Unanimously proclaimed as clarinet queen (the New York Times unequivocally states that she is a “Master”), top Jazz critics and publications rave about her sound. “With the clarinet she becomes a singer, a dancer, a poet, a mad scientist, laughing — musically — with the sheer delight of reaching that new place, that new feeling, with each chorus, ” according to JazzTimes. Time and again, she is awarded the “Clarinetist of the Year” distinction from DownBeat, JazzTimes and the Jazz Journalists Association. With six solo albums so far, and eight collaborative records, Cohen simply loves to create and play. And one more thing, she’s also an expert saxophonist.
with Musical Director Oded Lev-Ari
Anat Cohen CLARINET
Oded Lev-Ari MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Christopher Hoffman CELLO
Stuart Mack TRUMPET
Nick Finzer TROMBONE
Owen Broder BARITONE SAX & BASS CLARINET
James Shipp VIBRAPHONE & PERCUSSION
Vitor Gonçalves PIANO & ACCORDION
Idan Morim GUITAR
Joe Martin BASS
Anthony Pinciotti DRUMS
Saturday, August 26
Lee Konitz Quartet / Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science / Louis Hayes / Charenee Wade
Marcus Garvey Park, MN
3:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Lee Konitz Quartet
The Lee Konitz Quartet is comprised of four of the most skillful jazz veterans working today. Under the leadership of Lee Konitz, the group has been thrilling audiences for quite a long time. Konitz, a premiere alto saxophonist, started out in Chicago, where he put a lot of hours into learning his craft. His early work saw him playing with Claude Thornhill Orchestra (arranged by Gil Evans), Stan Kenton’s Orchestra, pianist Lennie Tristano, and the Miles Davis Capitol Orchestra. He would then break out on his own, amassing a staggering list of essential jazz credentials. Adding a touch of international flare to the group is Dan Tepfer, their Paris-born pianist/composer. An improviser at heart, this talented musician has tickled the ivories alongside jazz behemoths of all natures, and has released several hit solo albums. With a keen interest in astrophysics, Tepfer has utilized his computer-science knowledge in conjunction with improvisational techniques to formulate a revolutionary jazz-centric algorithm. The Lee Konitz Quartet’s bassist is Jeremy Stratton, a local jazz hero from New York, who has played over the decades with a multitude of famed ensembles. Rounding out this colossal crew is George Schuller on drums. Schuller is well known in the jazz milieu, with numerous side bands under his belt, including the hit big band from the ‘80s, Orange Than Blue.
Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science
For Terri Lyne Carrington, it’s not just about sounding sweet. Along with her band Social Science, the princess of percussion has been melding her uncannily sophisticated drumming and composing abilities with impactful, relevant statements on the pressing social issues of today. With a lush composition of jazz, indie rock, contemporary classical and R&B, all reconfigured under the sweeping swath of freeform improvisation, Carrington is not afraid to mix things up. A revered mainstay in the business, she has a four-decade long career and three Grammy wins to her credit, but is not even remotely content to just coast on by. An activist, educator and warrior for freedom and racial & sex equality, Carrington is nothing shy of remarkable. She began in music as an undeniable drumming prodigy, receiving accolades from People magazine, EBONY and Modern Drummer, at just ten years of age. With oodles of television performances and alliances with humongous names in music, she has wowed audiences all over the world. With eight full length albums out, Carrington perennially brings her passion to the studio as well. Her latest release is a can’t-miss collaboration with a star-studded cadre of top female artists, The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL.
Born in Motown, Louis Sedell Hayes came up virtually ensconced in authentic Detroit music stylings. At a young age he discovered the piano, but when his father presented him with a set of drums, his true passion was ignited. Coming up in 1950’s Detroit, surrounded by jazz giants Yusef Lateef, Kenny Burrell and Doug Watkins (to name a few), Hayes was mentored by the legendary Papa Joe Jones. At only eighteen years old, he moved to NYC and joined the Horace Silver Quintet, skyrocketing him into the critical public eye, with his full drumming talents on display. In the 60’s Hayes became a part of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, further cementing his name into the catalogue of storied jazz percussionists. He would later be asked to play alongside star piano man Oscar Peterson, in a group where Hayes and bassist Sam Jones would become known as the “dynamic duo” of rhythm. As Hayes’ career progressed, he would lead several incarnations of bands under his own name, playing with jazz greats Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Barron, Junior Cooke, Woody Shaw, Dexter Gordon and eventually McCoy Tyner. His shows still explode with energy, as Hayes bangs away with perfect precision.
The wonderfully outspoken Charenee Wade is a brave new voice on the modern jazz frontier, intent on using her art form to exact social change. This exquisite improvisational jazz vocalist, composer and arranger is just getting started, too. Her numerous accolades include being named the First Runner-Up in the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition and being invited to perform her original songs with Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Her debut album Offering: The Music of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson is a stirring tribute to socially-conscious musician/poet Scott-Heron, which also forecasts Wade’s own desire to rise up against the many forms of injustice still plaguing the world of today. Notable tracks include “Song of the Wind, ” a heartfelt appreciation of the peace-seeking efforts of her mentors, “A Toast to the People, ” a nuanced example of Wade’s deftness at storytelling through vocal dexterity, and “Home Is Where the Hatred Is, ” a rousingly powerful jazz number where her dynamic talents are on full display. In addition to providing the gift of her voice to the world, Charenee passes along her love of music as a professor at the Aaron Copland School of Music, City College.
Sunday, August 27
Joshua Redman Quartet / Lou Donaldson / Tia Fuller / Alicia Olatuja
Tompkins Square Park, MN
3:00 PM – 7:00 PM
“Unparalleled among horn players today, ” is the way JazzTimes (and a host of other noteworthy publications and critics, in so many words) describe longtime jazz legend Joshua Redman. Often referred to as one of the top sax men of his generation, Redman has worked with some of the most treasured jazz artists of all time, counting McCoy Tyner, Brad Mehldau, The Bad Plus, and Brooklyn Rider. While he has the ability to seamlessly blend into an ensemble and flawlessly synergize with the group, he can just as easily break out into a solo that drops the jaws of jazz fans of all ages. While his globally-successful recorded albums are a delight, many posit that his live shows are simply the stuff of legend. Aside from his stellar saxophone majesty, Redman is a stupendous composer and bandleader. With longstanding friends and collaborators at his side (Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, and Gregory Hutchinson), Redman leads The Joshua Redman Quartet to unprecedented heights of musical innovation. With stylistic motifs that date back to the ‘50s, the Joshua Redman Quartet is still a cutting-edge, thoroughly modern enterprise in jazz celebration.
When someone mentions the greatest alto saxophonists of all time, only one name truly stands out: that of “Sweet Poppa Lou” Donaldson. With origins as the bandleader of Blue Note Records in the 1950s, Donaldson had already established himself as a new voice in jazz at only 25 years of age. As he directed many albums at this time, Sweet Poppa Lou was proud to collaborate with the biggest jazz instrumentalists of the day. With numerous recordings in the bag, Donaldson broke out with 1967’s Alligator Bogaloo, a revolution in the form, as he boisterously showcased his virtuoso status. His long and storied career has garnered him too many achievements to list; but his induction into the International Jazz Hall of Fame and the his naming as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master (the absolute zenith of awards in the jazz realm) can not be left unmentioned. His bluesy, unmatched style is still on full display, as he dazzles and amazes crowds with his nimble fingers and crystal clear sound.
Tia Fuller is a saxophone virtuosa, a touring artist and full-time professor (at the Berklee School of Music). Having been featured on the cover Saxophone Today, Jazz Education Journal, and JazzTimes Magazine, she is a one of the world’s best jazz multi-instrumentalists. Tia was selected to be a member of the all-female band touring with Beyoncé, as part of the I AM..Sasha Fierce and Beyoncé Experience World Tour promoting the superstar’s CD’s, where Tia has played in various venues throughout the US, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. She is a featured soloist on the Beyoncé Experience DVD (Me, Myself and I), I AM Yours I DVD (Wynn Theatre) and also appeared on number of major television shows, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today Show, Good Morning America, BET Awards, American Music Awards and Total Request Live, and the 2010 Grammy Awards. She has also performed as the featured soloist with Beyoncé for President Obama at the White House. Tia has recorded four albums with her quartet. The first was 2005’s Pillar of Strength, followed by 2007’s Healing Space, an offering of “melodic medicine.” Her third album, 2010’s Decisive Steps, took the #1 JazzWeek rating for two weeks straight, and nominated for their Best Jazz album. In 2012, she released her 4th album, Angelic Warrior, which received praise from Wall Street Journal, New York Times and numerous jazz publications. Tia’s quartet has performed all over the world at many prestigious venues and she’s received numerous awards, winning Downbeat Critic’s Poll-‘Rising Star’ two years in a row for Soprano Sax (2014), Alto Sax and Flute (2013). Between balancing her teaching and tour life, Tia feels that she is fulfilling her purpose here on this earth, that is to “serve as a light for others.”
Ever since Alicia Olatuja took center stage at President Obama’s 2nd inauguration, as the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, this luminous songstress has been in exceedingly high demand. It wasn’t long before she put together her very own backing jazz ensemble and released 2014’s aptly named Timeless, a testimony to her ageless voice. Reared in St. Louis, with the echoes of venerated blues and jazz artists past coursing through her veins, Olatuja emigrated to New York to complete her Master’s degree in Classical Voice & Opera at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. Migrating from strictly opera and musical theater performance, she began feeling her gospel and soul roots, as she shared the stage with legends Chaka Khan, BeBe Winans and Christian McBride. Shortly thereafter, famed composer Billy Childs tapped Olatuja (praised by the New York Times for her “luscious tone”) for a nationwide tour of original works honoring Laura Nyro. Performing with her own band at virtually every jazz festival under the sun, this velvet voiced woman, with soul to spare, has only just begun to shine.
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