Saturday, August 27th: The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival [Postponed – New Date TBA]

The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival featuring Toots Thielmans / James Carter / Tia Fuller / Cecile McLorin Salvant
Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan

NEA Jazz Master Jean ‘Toots’ Thielemans is the preeminent player of the jazz harmonica.

NEA Jazz Master Jean ‘Toots’ Thielemans is the preeminent player of the jazz harmonica. With a musical career that has spanned nearly 70 years on both the radio as well as the big and small screen, Thielemans has taken a simple instrument and brought it into the contemporary jazz ensemble. From his collaborations with some of the biggest names in jazz such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald and pop stars such as Paul Simon and Billy Joel, Thielemans has harnessed his ability to express both sweet and the bitter emotions with the harmonica, which has made him a favorite worldwide. In 1962, Thielemans recorded his most enduring composition, “Bluesette,” which remains a jazz staple and has been recorded by scores of artists over the years.

James Carter is a powerhouse musician and one of the most admired saxophonists of his generation, garnering applause for his role in helping to propel jazz full tilt into the future over the past twenty-five years. As a master of numerous reed instruments, Carter has mesmerized the jazz world since his debut. Since then, he has released numerous albums to critical acclaim, including Layin’ In The Cut and Chasin’ The Gypsy which led Rolling Stone to assert that “…Carter is as near as jazz gets nowadays to a Young Turk—not some ironically avant-post-rock experimentalist but a cocky scene stealer with…a knack for coming up with noticeable records.” Carter’s most recent recording will be released in Spring 2011, and is titled, Caribbean Rhapsody.

When Tia Fuller picks up her saxophone to play, the notes and reverberations of her musical elixir fill the room. Fuller’s artistic fearlessness filled by her agile, buoyant and elegant full-bodied sax lines effortlessly convey a number of moods and grooves. The dynamic saxophonist has maintained a blossoming career, with several albums including 2010’s acclaimed release, Decisive Steps (Mack Avenue Records). In between recording and being a jazz educator, Fuller was also selected as a member of the all-female band touring with R&B star, Beyoncé. She is a featured soloist on the Beyoncé Experience DVD and has also appeared on number of major television shows, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Today Show.

Hailed by The New York Times as a singer “who stamps out the lines with authority and power and a bit of outrageousness,” Cécile McLorin Salvant is a French-American jazz singer that is being recognized as one of the brightest stars in the jazz world today. Growing critical acclaim highlights her unique interpretations of jazz and blues standards and her ability to tackle compositions rarely performed among today’s jazz vocalists. Salvant enjoys popularity internationally, and has performed with renowned musicians such as Jean-François Bonnel and Dan Nimmer. During her first prize-winning performance at the prestigious 2010 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition, The New York Times states, “[she] zeroed in on notes, sang at crawling tempos more than once, made her voice into a creaking door, a fog, then a laser.”