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“I am delighted with the eclectic and inspiring lineup of performances and guest artists for Season 12! We’ll be celebrating South Carolina jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie with the great Jon Faddis, recreating the iconic album “Ellington at Newport,” exploring Latin rhythms with Nestor Torres, bringing back the popular Jazz on the Screen show, and of course capping the season off with Holiday Swing. I’m perhaps most excited about our collaboration with the Lowcountry Voices, directed by Nate Nelson, where we will be creating a completely new show celebrating the incredible Gullah musical traditions. I remain incredibly grateful for the community which supports such artistic ambitions; Charleston is the envy of the country for a reason!
– Music Director, Robert Lewis
FEBRUARY 15, 2020 – ELLINGTON AT NEWPORT
By the mid-1950s, Big Bands found themselves in a changed world as Bebop took center stage. Even the Duke Ellington Orchestra, who had creatively dominated the jazz scene from the late 1920s – 1940s, found itself struggling until the historic gig at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. With an electrifying performance, the crowd at Freedom Park was transformed and Ellington’s career was revitalized. Sixty-four years later, your Charleston Jazz Orchestra will recreate that notable night in jazz history, one that festival producer George Wein proclaimed as “the greatest performance of Ellington’s career” and one that “stood for everything jazz had been and could be.”
MARCH 14, 2020 – MI ALMA LATINA: Nestor Torres
Back by popular demand and as proclaimed by Jelly Roll Morton’s maxim “You’ve got to have that Spanish tinge,” Latin Night returns to Season 12! Latin Grammy award winning jazz flautist Nestor Torres will join your Charleston Jazz Orchestra for an evening comprised of the lively rhythms and spicy spirit of Latin America. With his Caribbean heritage and Classical training, Nestor Torres provides a unique rhythmic and melodic approach to Jazz, one that explores diverse national traditions and bridges musical borders, embodying the essence of MI ALMA LATINA: My Latin Soul!
APRIL 18, 2020 – JAZZ ON THE SCREEN
Whether to capture our attention with instantly recognizable theme songs, transport us to different worlds, or guide us on an emotional journey, music plays an essential part of the storytelling process in both television and film. Through the use of recurring melodic themes or even just a two-note motif, music provokes a heightened emotional response, adding life to a story and becoming engrained into our memories. From the small screen to the silver screen, your Charleston Jazz Orchestra will revisit some of the most memorable musical moments in television and film.
SEPTEMBER 12, 2020 – GROOVIN’ HIGH: A Tribute to Dizzy Gillespie feat. Jon Faddis
With a relationship that spanned 30 years – from idol to mentor to friend, few living musicians have such a deep connection to jazz legend and pioneer of Bebop, Dizzy Gillespie than Jon Faddis. When Faddis blasted onto the jazz scene, audiences were amazed at the young musician’s range, techniques and ability to successfully mirror the complex style of Dizzy Gillespie. Faddis soon developed his own trademark style and is now known as one of the most innovative and inspiring jazz trumpeters of our time. Even Dizzy described Faddis as “He’s the best ever – including me!” Living legend Jon Faddis will join your Charleston Jazz Orchestra to pay tribute and celebrate the musicianship and life of jazz great Dizzy Gillespie.
OCTOBER 17, 2020 – SOUNDS FROM THE LOWCOUNTRY: A Gullah Tradition
In the Gullah tradition of rhythmic hand-claps, foot-stomps, and voices lifted up in song, Lowcountry Voices joins your Charleston Jazz Orchestra for an evening to honor centuries of oral traditions and celebrate the spiritual thread that binds generations. Under the direction of Nathan L. Nelson, Lowcountry Voices is a multicultural and ethnically diverse choral performing arts organization with an emphasis on African-American music performed in the SC Lowcountry tradition. The art of Gullah music is extremely rich and has a deep connection with its African roots and ancestors, and genres such as jazz, blues, ragtime, gospel and ‘soul music,’ would not even exist without the influence of African and Gullah music on the world.
DECEMBER 5, 2020 – HOLIDAY SWING: A Charleston Jazz Tradition
Maestro Robert Lewis and your Charleston Jazz Orchestra will swing you into the holiday spirit with big band arrangements of winter classics and holiday favorites. Add some jazz to your holiday cheer with this Charleston Jazz tradition!