Tammy McCann Presents "Yes Mahalia!" at Hyde Park Jazz Festival, September 26, 1:00 pm

Chicago, IL -- No jazz singer on the scene today bridges Sacred and Secular like 2020 Chicagoan of the Year in Jazz Tammy McCann. Throughout her career, McCann has paid homage to gospel pioneer Mahalia Jackson, and on Sunday, September 26, from 1:00 – 2:00 pm, she and her 11-piece band bring her tribute, Yes Mahalia!, to the Hyde Park Jazz Festival’s West Stage, Midway Plaisance at S. Ellis Avenue.

For the complete schedule of the FREE Hyde Park Jazz Festival, click HERE.

Joining McCann at the Festival are Marques Carroll, Trumpet/Musical Director; Brent Griffin Jr., Alto Sax; Anthony Bruno, Tenor Sax; Rajiv Halim, Baritone Sax; Matt Davis and Norman Palm, Trombone; Ryan Nyther and Víctor García, Trumpet; Christian Dillingham, Bass; Sam Jewel, Drums; and Tom Vaitsas, Piano.

Mahalia Jackson's connection to Chicago is historic,  through her association with Thomas Dorsey and his creation of the modern gospel sound. Over the last 20 years, McCann has toured the world with her gospel group, Tammy McCann & The Voices of Glory, in tribute to Mahalia Jackson. In 2019, she and arranger Eyal Vilner created and premiered Yes, Mahalia! in Israel.  Yes, Mahalia! is a synergy between gospel and the sonic power of big band. It is a fresh and soulful re-imagining of the sound that Mahalia Jackson embodied, and celebrates not only her music, but her life experiences and her contribution to the world community. 

For McCann, her tribute is an evolution in progress that grew organically. “I usually did the tribute with an organ and backup singers or a choir, but a couple of years ago, right before the pandemic, I took my jazz rhythm section with me for my gospel tour to Italy and Switzerland. The music really blossomed, and it gave me the idea to see how far I can take this. How far can I push the boundaries and still feel like I'm residing in the sacred realm of Mahalia? And, that's where Yes Mahalia! came from.”

McCann’s set list will include selections made famous by Jackson, such as Duke Ellington's classic “‘Come Sunday, ’” which he wrote for Jackson.

‘We’ll also be doing the gospel standard “How I Got Over, " a wonderful arrangement by Bassist Mimi Jones, adapted for the big band by Eyal Vilner. It’s really one of my favorite songs, because it speaks to obstacles that I, and I'm sure others, have had to overcome in life.”

For McCann, Jackson’s music also connects her to her musical roots. “My affection for Mahalia Jackson stems from the influences of my grandmother and my mother, ” McCann says. “They kept me connected to God and steeped in our family church, St. Paul Church of God in Christ in Chicago. Mahalia’s music was either coming from a record player or from the mouths of my mother and my grandmother. Her music is particular … it’s sacred, and for someone like myself, who dwells in the secular realm, it is important to me that the listener recognizes that they have stepped into Mahalia’s realm; that this is a place of reverence.”

Tammy McCann’s voice is an instrument, highly polished by years of craftsmanship in the spirit of Mahalia Jackson. “To me, Mahalia is always set apart, ” McCann says. And I'm honored to continue to introduce her and her music to a new generation.”

McCann recently presented Yes Mahalia! in New York City at Jazzmobile’s Summerfest at Marcus Garvey Park (formerly Mt. Morris Park), where Mahalia Jackson performed at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, featured in the Questlove-directed documentary, Summer of Soul.

McCann's work speaks for itself. She developed her skill as a classically-trained vocalist as a student of famed Chicago music teacher Rev. Dr. Lena McLin. She credits the evolution of her Jazz development to NEA Jazz Master and mentor Von Freeman. She released several acclaimed recordings, including Love Stories, produced by Grammy-winning arranger Laurence Hobgood, and Never Let Me Go, produced by famed guitarist Henry Johnson, and has worked with a long list of all-star collaborators, including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Fareed Haque, John Clayton, Ramsey Lewis and performed as a Raelette with the legendary Ray Charles.

In addition to being named the 2020 Chicagoan of the Year in Jazz by the Chicago Tribune, she has also received the newspaper’s recognition as Best Jazz Vocal Performance on multiple occasions.

McCann’s itinerary includes Cabaret Noir on October 2 for Chicago Cabaret Professionals; Legendary Ladies of Jazz: Ella, Sarah, Dinah & Billie on October 9 at Chicago Humanities Festival; and Merry Christmas Baby at Winter’s Jazz Club on December 9.

For more information on Tammy McCann and Yes Mahalia!, log on to

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