2018-19 Jazz Series
Regina Carter Quartet
Friday, November 2, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
“A talented, charismatic player who is almost single-handedly reviving interest in the violin as a jazz instrument.” —The Los Angeles Times
For Grammy nominated artist Regina Carter, the violin isn't simply an improvisational vehicle; it’s a passport to unexpected realms. Her quest for beauty combined with her passion for excellence did not escape the attention of the MacArthur Foundation, which awarded Regina their prestigious MacArthur fellowship “genius grant”. San Francisco Performances also took note of Regina's exceptional work and appointed her Artist-in-Residence for five years. She also served as one of the Resident Artistic Directors for the discerning SFJAZZ during its inaugural season in its spectacular new home. Most recently, the acclaimed violinist was selected as the 2017 Showcase Artist for the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival and in 2018 was appointed as the Director of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s All-Female Jazz Residency, a unique summer immersion program for aspiring women jazz professionals.
Her albums reflect that singular quest for beauty - in 1995, Regina released her self-titled solo debut on Atlantic Records. She released three more albums in rapid succession after her debut – Something for Grace (1997), Rhythms of the Heart (1999) and Motor City Moments (2000). Traveling to Genoa, Italy and making history being the first jazz musician and African American to play the Guarneri Del Gesu violin inspired her next effort, Paganini: After a Dream in 2003. I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey (2006) became a powerful and heartfelt tribute to her late mother. The connection to family, history, and tradition continued into Reverse Thread (2010) and Southern Comfort (2014), drawing ties between her own African heritage and her family’s history. Her most recent release, Ella: Accentuate the Positive (2017), celebrates the music and spirit of her inspiration: musical legend Ella Fitzgerald.
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Saturday, November 3, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
“One of New York’s institutions ...its strengths are its colors and its soloists.”
—The New York Times
The multiple-Grammy-winning 16 piece Vanguard Jazz Orchestra features some of world’s finest musicians, most of whom lead their own bands when not performing with the orchestra. Co-founded by legendary trumpeter Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis, the ensemble still plays virtually every Monday night at the renowned Village Vanguard Jazz club, New York City’s most famous basement, where it got its start in 1966. The beautiful melodies and unique arrangements of Thad Jones enchanted audiences worldwide. The mixture of the music from diverse backgrounds created their innovative sound and the band was quickly recognized as a world-class big band. The ensemble cultivated its rich history while commissioning new music that made them the prototype of innovative big band music. 2016 marked 50 years of continued performances of Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard.
Saturday, February 2, 2019, 8 p.m.
“Few flutists can summon the variety of tones, textures, emotional realms and degrees of light from the instrument that Mitchell can.” —JazzTimes
Nicole Mitchell is an award-winning creative flutist, composer, bandleader, educator and transdisciplinary conceptualist. Mitchell believes in the transformational power of music, and she seeks to build alternative worlds that bridge the familiar with the unknown. Her mission as a flutist has been to raise respect for the instrument by developing a new improvisational language that incorporates her voice with the flute. The founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Mitchell composes for contemporary ensembles of varied instrumentation and size while incorporating improvisation and a wide aesthetic expression. She is a professor of music at University of California-Irvine.
Anat Cohen Quartet
Friday, May 10, 2019, 8 p.m.
A present day multicultural wonder… An enthralling clarinetist and a persuasive saxophonist, [Anat Cohen] displays a pan-historical, pan-cultural approach to jazz.
—The New Yorker
Clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen has taken the jazz world by storm, winning hearts and minds the world over with her expressive virtuosity and delightful stage presence. As JazzTimes says, “With the clarinet she becomes a singer, a dancer, a poet, a mad scientist, laughing—musically—with the sheer delight of reaching that new place, that new feeling, with each chorus.” An established bandleader and prolific composer, the Anat Cohen Quartet program is a unique blend of modern and traditional jazz, classical music, Brazilian choro, Argentine tango, and an expansive timeline of Afro-Cuban styles. The perennial winner of “Clarinetist of the Year” titles from DownBeat, JazzTimes, and the Jazz Journalists Association, Fresh Air’s Terry Gross credits Cohen with “bringing the clarinet to the world” and The New York Times hails her a “Master.”