Jazz at Lincoln Center Focuses on Music’s Role in Social Justice

With in-person concerts unlikely to return this spring, Jazz at Lincoln Center on Tuesday announced a full season of video presentation...


With in-person concerts unlikely to return this spring, Jazz at Lincoln Center on Tuesday announced a full season of video presentations, all centered on jazz’s role in the fight for social justice.

The spring programming will feature four shows, each one streaming on the center’s website for $20 a ticket. (Prices are lower for members and subscribers.) Each show will remain available for streaming over a period of days.

The first concert, “Legacies of Excellence,” will premiere on Feb. 20. Featuring the vocalist Catherine Russell, it explores the contributions of jazz legends through an educational lens, and is presented as part of an initiative called Let Freedom Swing.

For the remaining three shows, guests will join the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis. On March 26, the ensemble will present “Voices of Freedom,” a celebration of four eminent 20th-century jazz singers: Betty Carter, Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone. A lineup of contemporary vocalists, including Melanie Charles and Shenel Johns, will offer renditions of these figures’ famous works.

The orchestra returns on May 21 with “Freedom, Justice, and Hope,” a program featuring new compositions by two rising musicians: the bassist Endea Owens, who will debut a suite honoring the Black journalist Ida B. Wells; and the trumpeter Josh Evans, who will present a work in response to the 1919 Elaine massacre in Arkansas. The compositions were written in collaboration with the racial-justice activist Bryan Stevenson, who will participate in the concert.

The season concludes with a show on June 10 devoted to the music of John Coltrane, including a big-band rendition of his landmark “A Love Supreme.”

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Newsrust: Jazz at Lincoln Center Focuses on Music’s Role in Social Justice
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