By David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited
Beginning on Tuesday, September 12, The Shops at Columbus Circle, New York’s premier dining and entertainment destination, in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center launches its five-week concert series “Sessions at the Circle.” Jazz at Lincoln Center celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and invites visitors to celebrate this milestone with free performances.
The popular series incorporates the talents – all acclaimed musicians and rising stars of their respective genres – of seven highly diverse musical groups, spanning jazz, pop, classical and world music, to create an experience for audiences of all ages. This season’s sessions include themes inspired by the high-energy swing spirit The Rat Pack, the silk tone sounds of Nina Simone, and jazz greats Count Basie and Duke Ellington.
The free evening concerts will take place every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. beginning September 12 and run through October 10, on the second-level mezzanine. Visit www.theshopsatcolumbuscircle.com for more information and an ever-changing list of events and happenings.
The impressive repertoire of musicians and performances include:
Tuesday, September 12, 2017 – Micah Thomas: Theme – The music of Jelly Roll Morton Micah Thomas is a jazz pianist based in New York City. Born in 1997 and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Micah started taking piano lessons when he was two years old. He has appeared as a guest artist several times with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, appearing alongside such luminaries as Tia Fuller, Lewis Nash and Gerald Clayton. Micah was a member of the 2013 Vail Jazz Workshop and the 2014 Brubeck Jazz Colony. Micah recently moved from Ohio to New York to pursue a BM in Jazz Studies at the Juilliard School, and is already performing with world-class musicians in venues across the city including Smalls Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, and Jazz at Kitano.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 – Charles Turner: Theme – Celebrating Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. A 2010 graduate of Berkley College of Music, Charles Turner III has played in New York City’s premier jazz clubs and at international festivals and competitions. His band, “The Charles Turner Quartet,” has performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center for the Generations in Jazz festival for 2 consecutive years. He has shared the stage with Marcus Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Patrice Rushen.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 – Shenel Johns and Vuyo Sotashe: Theme – The music of Miriam Makeba and Nina Simone With a voice that embodies grace and passion and a personal style that sways effortlessly from Jazz to R&B to Gospel, Shenel Johns has emerged as one of the shining stars of her generation. Her unique soulful sound descends from the greats Abbey Lincoln, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, and Whitney, but her vision and tone escapes the boundaries of any vocal stigma. Returning recently from Qatar where she served a musical residency at Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha, Shenel next honored Billie Holiday as part of JALC’s New York production of “Billie and the Boys.” South African jazz vocalist, Vuyo Sotashe, is gradually making his mark in the New York jazz scene and internationally. He has gone on to win first prize at the very first Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Vocal Competition in 2014, and performed on the festival’s main stage. Vuyo’s music is deeply influenced by South African Xhosa, gospel music and the vast jazz tradition.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 – Mariel Bildsten: Theme – The music of Count Basie and Duke Ellington Mariel Bildsten is one of the rising stars on the New York City jazz scene. Performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Smalls Jazz Club, Carnegie Hall. In addition to her performances, Mariel is a teacher at Upbeat NYC, an El Sistema based non-profit organization in South Bronx that is dedicated to uplifting young people through orchestral music.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 – Veronica Swift: Theme – The Great American Songbook At just 22 years of age, Veronica Swift is being recognized as one of the top young singers in jazz. The child of jazz vocalist Stephanie Nakasian and the late bebop pianist Hod O’Brien, Veronica’s first appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center was at age 11, when she performed at the “Women in Jazz” series at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Swift took second place at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition in 2015, and headlined at the Telluride Jazz Festival in 2016. She has appeared on stage with Esperanza Spalding Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, and Danilo Perez.
The free performances or “sessions” will be held in the cool indoors of The Shops at Columbus Circle on the second-floor mezzanine level. The Shops at Columbus Circle, located in Time Warner Center in the heart of Manhattan, is an iconic indoor and public destination that attracts millions of people a year. It’s the place to dine, shop, live, entertain, work and be entertained. The soaring 2.8 million-square-foot landmark with stunning views of Central Park has transformed Columbus Circle into a cultural portal to Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Encompassing everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to Jazz at Lincoln Center and more than 40 retail stores, boutiques and pop-up experiences, The Shops at Columbus Circle is “an only in New York experience” ideal for residents and visitors alike.