Queen Esther Sings Billie Holiday: The Rare Sides Saturday, April 7th — TWO SETS 7:30pm & 9:30pm Minton’s Harlem 206 W. 118th St. 212 243 2222 Musicians: Hilliard Greene, double bass Patience Higgins, tenor sax Dan Rosengard, piano Warren Smith, drums Queen Esther pays tribute to Lady Day on her 1o3rd birthday with a suite of rare sides, reimagined performances, stories and soundbites to offer her take on what most critics consider to the greatest jazz vocalist of the 20th century. A versatile and charismatic performer with a four octave range, not to mention the Grand Prize winner of the 2008 Jazzmobile Vocal Competition, Queen Esther continues to perform internationally with her mentor harmelodic guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer in various projects, including his iconic free jazz group Odyssey, as she forges her own sonic path with her jazz collective and her Black Americana outfit The Blue Crowns. Released in 2015, her critically acclaimed album The Other Side – “…the most exciting Afro-Americana album of the year.” (Paste) – is garnering airplay worldwide. Recent performance highlights include: Under The Cherry Parade in a Day (You Sexy MF):Burnt Sugar Arkestra Freaks Prince’s Post Purple Rain Songbook at The David Rubenstein Atrium/Lincoln Center; Hot Jazz Age: From the First Jazz Recording to the Dawn of Swing at Dizzy’s/Lincoln Center; the afterparty for Jason and Alicia Hall Moran’s Forever Gershwin at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; and the 12th bi-annual Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island.
Queen Esther’s work is featured at CTH’s Playwright’s Playground! The Classical Theater of Harlem Presents: Playwright’s Playground Monday, June 6th 6:30pm – 9pm The Dwyer Cultural Center 258 St. Nicholas Ave. For more info: 347-688-6304 A scene from Queen Esther’s latest full-length play currently in utero — an as-of-yet unnamed serio-comic romp about white fragility — will be read at The Classical Theater of Harlem’s Playwrights Playground Cold Reading Series. To RSVP, click here. Selected playwrights submit 10-12 pages of a new work in the early stages of development. Actors are cast on the spot and perform a cold reading, followed by a moderated audience feedback session. In addition to serving the development of new work, these readings give audiences a sneak peek into how new plays are created.
Queen Esther sings Billie Holiday: The Rare Sides Minton’s 206 W. 118th St. February 12th at 7:30pm & 9:45pm Her Trio: Jeremy Bacon, piano Shawn Baltazor, drums Noah Jackson, double bass Queen Esther sings Billie Holiday’s rare sides at Minton’s with her trio, in an elegant intimate setting for lovers and listeners alike. Culled from her much lauded residency last spring that celebrated Lady Day’s centennial, the lost classics span Miss Holiday’s entire career. These songs will give much insight into the life of what many consider to be the greatest jazz singer of the 20th century. To celebrate Valentine’s Day in style, Harlem’s iconic jazz hotspot Minton’s will host a series of dinner events which includes a four course prix fixe meal curated by Executive Chef Joseph “JJ” Johnson. There are two seatings to choose from each night. To reserve your Valentine’s Day Weekend table, click here or call 212 243 2222.
Queen Esther & The Blue Crowns perform two sets – 9:30pm & 11pm — at Minton’s Harlem on Friday, December 4th for their inaugural Friday Soul Series. Accompanied by her versatile and dynamc collective, Queen Esther will present a pastiche of original songs, reconfigured rare jazz standards and holy blues – the Black Americana sound that held sway over diverse audiences during her most recent European tour this fall. PERSONNEL: Kelvyn Bell, guitar (Arthur Blythe, Defunkt) Mimi Jones, bass (Ravi Coltrane) Boo Reiners, lap steel (Demolition String Band) Shirazette Tinnin, drums (Tia Fuller) What the critics are saying about Queen Esther’s self-released Black Americana album The Other Side: “Our admiration for Queen Esther is almost beyond measure.” — Rootstime (Belgium) “This album is amazing. And very difficult to classify. Can you imagine a black Lucinda Williams? Not like when she plays the blues torn from her first albums, no. A black Lucinda Williams in pop, rhythm, blues and even gender roots Americana. So it sounds, if you can imagine such a hodgepodge somehow, the latest album from this brutal, original, explosive singer.” — Vanity Fair (Spain) The most exciting Afro-Americana release of the year.” – Paste “Every song is sung with passion and fire, by this underrated female singer who should be a musical giant.” — Country Music People (UK)
Queen Esther Sings Billie Holiday: The Rare Sides Gin Fizz Lounge 308 Lenox Ave at 125th St. Friday, August 7th at 10pm $10 Featuring: Jeremy Bacon, piano Hilliard Greene, double bassCharles Goold, drums Wayne Tucker, trumpet In celebration of Lady Day’s centennial year, Queen Esther and her coterie of musicians continue to explore Billie Holiday’s lesser known body of work in an intimate cabaret setting, giving the audience a fresh perspective on the greatest jazz siren of the 20th century.