Details of 2024/25 Symphony Center Jazz series announced

Symphony Center Presents’ 2024/25 Jazz series embraces the revered legends, new innovators and exciting upcoming voices from all of music’s brilliant corners.  

Charles Lloyd Quartet / Legacy of Wayne Shorter, Oct. 25 | The series begins with saxophonist Charles Lloyd’s quartet (all concerts start at 8:00). Lloyd captured the world’s attention with his 1966 early fusion album Forest Flower: Live at Monterey, one of the first jazz albums to sell over one million copies. Now, at the age of 86, his ideas are as expansive as they were decades ago, and his tone is just as intense. In March, he released the sprawling double album, The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow, which features 13 of his original compositions. Expressive across a wide range of saxophones and flutes, Lloyd continues to draw inspiration from around the world, but especially from gospel, blues and country harmonies. His incredible creative resurgence during the past four years includes the release of six albums composed of new material. 

Prior to Lloyd’s set, pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade will honor the legendary saxophonist, Wayne Shorter. This trio played an important part in Shorter’s life, as they accompanied him during his artistic revival that began 24 years ago and continued until his passing in 2023. Tenor saxophonist Mark Turner will play with the group as they shed new light on Shorter’s compositions from the 1960s through the 1980s, all of which continue to shape modern music. 

Jason Moran and the Harlem Hellfighters: James Reese Europe and the Absence of Ruin, Nov. 22 | One of Lloyd’s other recent collaborators — pianist Jason Moran — brings his trio to Symphony Center on Friday, November 22. In a program entitled James Reese Europe and the Absence of Ruin, this performance explores the influence of the musician who set the stage for jazz’s development as it evolved from ragtime in the early 20th century. Moran has been developing his presentation of Europe’s legacy as a multimedia event for the past seven years, including releasing From the Dancehall to the Battlefield (through his own YES Records) in 2023. Moran infuses Europe’s works through a lens of modern classical music and free jazz exploration. He also adds social commentary that illuminates how Europe’s message from more than a century ago remains essential. 

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Jan. 24 and 25 | The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis has delved deeply into jazz history for more than 30 years and will make its regular return to Symphony Center on January 24, with a bebop program honoring legends including Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Mary Lou Williams. The January 25 program features iconic works from Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Max Roach and more, the always-swinging Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and its leader Wynton Marsalis explore the enduring appeal of mid-century jazz. 

Formed in 1988 in the wake of New York’s Lincoln Center jazz series, trumpeter Marsalis has taken the ensemble around the world to honor the music’s greatest composers and to present new large-scale pieces. Two albums released last year on the orchestra’s own Blue Engine Records exemplify that range. These include Wynton Marsalis Plays Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens, a tribute to the music’s early creator, and The Jungle, which is Marsalis’ fourth symphony and combines the JLCO with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. 

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Feb. 21 | Vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant brings her incredible phrasing and insights into myriad musical idioms to Symphony Center on February 21. She has received considerable prestigious recognition and popular acclaim during the past few years, including a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, Doris Duke Award and three Grammy awards. But before those accolades, she studied classical voice and won the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Vocal Competition in 2010. Since then, she has released albums that feature her own work alongside strikingly original takes on jazz standards, blues, folk songs, show tunes and contemporary pop. A gifted storyteller, her 2023 album Mélusine uses both original pieces and pieces including 12th-century troubadour songs to create a modern folk tale, which Salvant sings in multiple languages, including French, Occitan and Haitian Kreyòl. 

Bill Charlap Trio with special guests Dee Dee Bridgewater & Nicholas Payton, Mar. 21 | Bill Charlap digs fully into the jazz piano legacy, and he brings accomplished colleagues to Symphony Center on March 21. With his longstanding trio, including bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington, Charlap infuses the Great American Songbook with new harmonic inflections while also highlighting pieces that should become standards. His 2021 album Street of Dreams epitomizes his imaginative vision. Singer Dee Dee Bridgewater and trumpeter Nicholas Payton will join Charlap’s group for this event. Bridgewater, a Tony and Grammy award winner, has excelled fronting all-star big bands, appearing on Broadway, or combining forces with some of jazz’s legendary instrumentalists. She also paid tribute to the R&B of her hometown on the 2017 album, Memphis … Yes, I’m Ready. New Orleans native Payton became widely known early in his career for how he evoked his city’s musical traditions. Since then, he has advocated for an expansive vision of what he defines as Black American Music. This includes creating multi-layered soundscapes featuring the Fender Rhodes keyboard and other electronics on his landmark 2003 album Sonic Trance.  

Hiromi's Sonicwonder / Brandee Younger Trio, Apr. 4 | Like Payton, keyboardist Hiromi employs a host of electronic sounds to creates unique jazz improvisations. She’ll bring this musical collage to Symphony Center on April 4. While Hiromi initially became known for her stirring blend of jazz and classical inflections, she started embracing modern electronic timbres a few years later. These experiments culminated with her twelfth, and funkiest, album, Sonicwonderland, in 2023, which she recorded with a new quartet. The tracks are built from short collaborations over Instagram that crafted into fascinating melodic motifs. 

Harpist Brandee Younger will also perform that night. A crucial innovator on her instrument, her jazz colleagues have included alto saxophone legend Jackie McLean and tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, the son of one of her heroes, harpist Alice Coltrane. Younger’s own albums have blended classical harmonies with jazz and a repertoire that draws from R&B, rock and folk. Her 2023 album Brand New Life flows seamlessly from ballads to hip hop. 

Eliane Elias / Edmar Castañeda: Family, May 9 | Brazilian singer and pianist Eliane Elias will present her expansive vision of Latin music with her quartet set at Symphony Center on May 9. A multiple Grammy Award winner, Elias has been recording her uncanny blend of jazz standards, samba, classical and pop for almost 40 years. Her 2023 album Quietude took her back to her roots as she arranged and performed landmark songs from the original bossa nova wave. The previous year, she combined forces with two piano giants, Chucho Valdés and the late Chick Corea for her widely acclaimed Mirror Mirror. 

Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda and his quartet will also appear that evening, offering different South American acoustic idioms to contemporary music. He has collaborated with such jazz stars as Hiromi and Wynton Marsalis and served as a consultant and performer on the Disney film Encanto. His 2023 album Viento Sur featured nine musicians representing eight countries from across the Americas and Middle East. 

Oscar Peterson's Africa Suite, Jun. 13 | The Symphony Center jazz series concludes on June 13 with a rare concert performance of Oscar Peterson’s Africa Suite. John Clayton conducts this all-star rendition of the pianist’s 1979 composition that honored Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle. This concert includes an all-star quartet consisting of pianist Benny Green, bassist Christian McBride, drummer Lewis Nash, guitarist Russell Malone,  and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra. Africa Suite was never performed in its entirety during Peterson’s lifetime and has been presented only a few times since his death in 2008. Clayton is known for presenting such large-scale works, and this is an especially personal project for the band members, particularly Green, who was one of Peterson’s proteges. 

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