Queen Esther performs in Harlem Nights, U Street Lights — May 9th and 10th
Presented by two iconic institutions — The Apollo Theater and The Kennedy Center — the historic jazz scenes of Harlem and Washington, DC’s U Street neighborhood are highlighted in an all-star contemporary exploration of the music that has linked these two cities for nearly a century.
Curated by pianist and Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran, with pianist and Music Director Marc Cary, Harlem Nights / U Street Lights brings together an all-star lineup of artists that includes seasoned veterans and up-and-comers from both communities, with contemporary performances celebrating the legacies of key artists from each city (Duke Ellington, Dr. Billy Taylor, Miles Davis) as well as seminal works and movements (swing, bop, and go-go).
Harlem resident Jason Moran, virtuoso jazz pianist and composer, is known for awing audiences with his audacity, conviction and breath-taking technique. He’s established himself as a risk-taker and innovator of new directions for jazz as a whole. This one-night-only exclusive concert celebrates Moran’s deep connections to jazz artists in Harlem and D.C., where he serves as Artistic Advisor for Jazz at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Afro Blue, Ben Williams, Bertha Hope, Bill Saxton, Brian Settles, Brianna Thomas, Donvonte McCoy, Federico Gonzalez Peña, Gerald Clayton, Jimmy Cobb, Kenny Quick, Lakecia Benjamin, Marc Cary, Mickey Freeman and Queen Esther
For artist bios, click here.
The Apollo Theater May 9th
253 W. 125th St. Harlem, New York
The Kennedy Center May 10th
2700 F St. Washington, DC
(Watch the simulcast here!)
The evening will be in two parts:
6 p.m., Millennium Stage (Grand Foyer)
FREE PERFORMANCE, No Tickets Required
With dual pianos onstage, all-star pianists Jason Moran, Marc Cary (Music Director), Bertha Hope, and Gerald Clayton connect the dots between jazz luminaries with histories in both New York and D.C., including late greats Duke Ellington and Dr. Billy Taylor. In addition, vocalists Queen Esther and Brianna Thomas perform with Howard University’s premier vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue (directed by Connaitre Miller), mining the rich, related vocal history of the New York and D.C. jazz scenes.
8 p.m., The Crossroads Club (Atrium)
The Crossroads Club pumps up the jazz club experience with a dance floor, high-top tables, expansive standing room only, and drinks available for purchase.
The evening continues with an explosive “Miles Davis Meets Go-Go” jam, inspired by Davis’s 1980s fusion exploration of the music of the late Ricky “Sugarfoot” Wellman, featuring trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Donvonte McCoy; bassist Ben Williams; NEA Jazz Master drummer Jimmy Cobb; drummer Kenny “Kwick” Gross; percussionist Go-Go Mickey Freeman; and saxophonists Lakecia Benjamin, Brian Settles, and Bill Saxton. Jason Moran, Marc Cary, Federico González Peña, Bertha Hope, Gerald Clayton, Queen Esther, Brianna Thomas, and Afro Blue also join the all-star line-up for the evening’s finale.
Performance Timing: One hour, 40 minutes, with no intermission.