The SFJAZZ Collective hits the road with fresh arrangements of classic music by a remarkable singer-songwriter, along with newly commissioned pieces by members of the group. This year, they’re joined by jazz and gospel singer Lizz Wright to reimagine the music of the incomparable Joni Mitchell. Mitchell’s emotionally bracing and musically ambitious work on albums like Blue, Court and Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, and Hejira allowed her to transcend her folk-music origins and made her an essential poet of the American experience – one recognized by Charles Mingus and Herbie Hancock, among countless others.
At the Monterey Jazz Festival last October, drummer Allison Miller and bassist Derrick Hodge paid tribute to “the first lady of jazz,” Mary Lou Williams, in a program titled “Soul on Soul.” Williams, a pianist, made her name as a songwriter and arranger for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, moved with grace through ragtime, blues, swing, gospel, and spirituals to become one of the first female instrumentalists to achieve major success in jazz – both with Ellington and Goodman, and on her own. Miller and Hodge bring “Soul on Soul” to Walt Disney Concert Hall for a night revisiting Williams’ work from the 1960s and ‘70s with imaginative re-arrangements.
Acclaimed vocalist Lizz Wright is a steward of American music bringing brilliant color and vibrancy to singular original works and compositions by some of the greatest songwriters of our time. Wright has garnered widespread attention as one of the most venerable popular singers of her generation through the release of five critically acclaimed albums. From her breakout Verve debut album Salt to her recent album GRACE on Concord Records, Wright lives life filled with beautiful possibilities centered on the power of song.
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