The inaugural year of the festival was highlighted by an array of 26 artists including Grammy winner Terri Lyne Carrington, four-time Grammy nominee Patrice Rushen, Suede and Carmen Lundy. We also screened Girls in the Band, Judy Chaikin’s documentary that award-winning film that amply demonstrates the deep involvement of women in all aspects of American Great musical genre.
Rushen is a multi-Grammy nominated artist. She was the first woman to serve as Musical Director for the 46th, 47th & 48th Annual Grammy Awards, the first woman Head Composer/Musical Director for the Emmy Awards and the first woman Musical Director of the NAACP Image Awards. She served as the Musical Director for Janet Jackson’s World Tour, “janet.”
Imagine a cross between Adele, Diana Krall and Bette Midler and you’ll be approaching some idea of Suede’s powerful presence, musical talents, and well-honed skills. She has an immense joy in entertaining. Pop/Jazz/Blues phenom Suede plays piano, guitar and trumpet, but voice is her first instrument and entertaining is clearly her first love.
Carmen Lundy was honored with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Award by Black Women In Jazz and The Arts, based in Atlanta, GA. As a composer, Ms. Lundy’s catalog numbers over 100 published songs. Her songs have been recorded by such artists as Kenny Barron (“Quiet Times”), Ernie Watts (“At The End Of My Rope”), and Straight Ahead (“Never Gonna Let You Go”).
Mimi Jones’ sound is a delicate fusion of traditional and contemporary jazz, eclectic soul, funk, and rock.
The multi-talented bassist, vocalist, educator, composer, and Jazz Ambassador travels worldwide as a sideman and a soloist artist with extraordinary artists such as Kenny Barron, Lizz Wright, Terri Lyne Carringtons Grammy-winning Mosaic Project and the Tia Fuller Quartet to name a few.
Saturday kicked off with Jazz + Blues = Soul featuring vocalist Yve Evans who brought a mix of jazz, gospel and blues, followed by the Texas Song Bird Sherry Pruitt and the Queens of Blues bringing down the house with down down home blues! The Queens of Blues included bassist Anna Stadlman, pianist and vocalist Matilda Haywood, guitarist Suzanne Thomas, drummer Andrea Byrd, and bassist Elizabeth Hangan.
A smoldering vocalist and ace percussionist, the Oakland, CA born Mexican-American has recorded more than sixty albums. From stints with Prince to Coke Escovedo to the Brothers Johnson, Estaire has proven herself a stylistic chameleon capable of wearing dozens of musical hats. She has also toured with George Benson to effortlessly combine conga beats with a fusion of jazz, pop and Brazillian/Afro-Cuban.
Jenaire took the music world by storm with her CD, Fruition, featuring her remake of the Mamas and the Papas smash, California Dreamin’. “If only all 21st Century soul music as like this,” says Ann Archer of Radio and Records. Her debut on the dance club scene produced a smash remix of “You Know How to Love Me,” achieving Bullet status on Billboard Top 20 Dance Charts and Grammy consideration.
Saputo celebrates the life and music of Peggy Lee with fresh arrangements of her legendary music. Gina as forged a sophisticated musical reputation evolving into a multi-faceted performer for crowds in LA and worldwide. Jazz Station Magazine called her “one of our favorite vocalists on the contemporary jazz scene, scatting and phrasing in a very creative way. Not to be missed.”
Born in Chicago, IL, Rose began singing in the elementary school chorus and continued with musicial theater, movies and music venues across the US. “For the festival, I’ll sing songs by Sarah Vaughn. I’ve always loved the creative vocal paint brush she articulated so beautifully; the sweeping highs and lows and the unexpected, delightful twists and turns. Whether Jazz or Broadway tunes the style was distinctively Sarah!”
“They call me the Song Bird of Texas. I was born to sing. I have utilized my gift all over the world. Music lives deep in my soul and making people feel what I feel has always been my goal. Music give me the pleasure to share what the universe has given us all, Joy & Pain! It truly is a form of love making and I love to make love,” says Pruitt.