Billie Holiday and more will be honored at jazz tribute show
Celebrate the Great Women of Blues and Jazz | photo by Takako Harkness

The title of “Celebrate the Great Women of Blues & Jazz,” the tribute show that arrives at the Annenberg Center on Saturday night, is meant to evoke the legendary names of the past. The women whose music is represented in the show include Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Bessie Smith, Memphis Minnie, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Koko Taylor – icons all, and irrefutably ground-breaking voices who helped to shape modern American music.

But judging by the line-up that will be assembled on the Annenberg’s stage this weekend, the show will not only be paying homage to the greats of the past but, true to its name, will be a celebration of the female artists helping to shake up the musical landscape today. Just take the project’s two co-directors: Toshi Reagon, a versatile singer-songwriter and second-generation “great woman” whose mother co-founded Sweet Honey in the Rock and who has shared stages with a diverse array of artists from Lenny Kravitz to Elvis Costello to Carl Hancock Rux; and Allison Miller, a gifted jazz drummer and composer who has also anchored the bands of Ani DiFranco and Natalie Merchant.

They’ll lead a large ensemble showcasing some of contemporary jazz and blues’ finest players (note the very purposeful lack of the “female” modifier) including trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, bassist Linda Oh, pianist Rachel Eckroth and trombonist Reut Regev. They’ll back a quintet of vocalists and be joined by award-winning tap dancer/choreographer Michelle Dorrance.

Tickets and information for the event can be found here; watch some videos of the performers below.

Celebrate The Great Women of Blues and Jazz EPK1 from toshi reagon on Vimeo.

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