New Year’s Eve!
Queen Esther & The Hot Five at
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Grand Foyer Party
Join Queen Esther and her coterie of jazz musicians as they celebrate one of the most exciting periods in Billie Holiday’s career – her influential small band recordings from John Hammond’s “sing-swing” sessions of the 1930s.
From 1935 – 1939, as the rest of the world waltzed their way through The Great Depression or lindy hopped to big bands, Miss Holiday recorded over 120 sides with some of the best soloists of the decade, including Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, Roy Eldridge, Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Cozy Cole, Jo Jones, Artie Shaw, Benny Morton and many, many more.
It was John Hammond – record producer, civil rights activist, music critic and aristocrat – who co-organized the very first “sing-swing” session in July 1935 with Teddy Wilson as bandleader when Miss Holiday was merely 20 years old. Armed with her new recording contract for Brunswick Records, their task was to record pop tunes in the new “swing” style for the burgeoning jukebox market. With Miss Holiday as instrumentalist on equal footing with the legendary musicians that accompanied her, what they created set the template for jazz vocalists, small combos and swing music, and created an immutable body of work.
Let the timeless sounds of Lady Day’s earliest sessions keep you dancing all night long and swing you into the new year!
The Hot Five:
Jeremy Bacon, piano and MD
Patience Higgins, tenor sax
Todd Londagin, trombone and vocals
Warren Smith, drums
Ben Rubin, double bass
Admission to this event is free with your ticket to a December 31 evening paid Kennedy Center event (yasiin bey with Special Guests, Wicked, Into The Woods, or The Second City’s Twist Your Dickens) or with your receipt from a December 31 dinner at the Roof Terrace Restaurant.