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Jazz Appreciation Month continues with the Monterey Jazz Festival Tour (MJFT) on April 20 at Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda, Maryland.
Featured performers are 2017 NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater, vocalist Kurt Elling, saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, pianist Christian Sands, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and drummer Clarence Penn. This is the 65th year for the tour, and the D.C. area performance is the next-to-last stop for 2023.
“It’s a wonderful band,” said Dee Dee Bridgewater. “Christian Sands is one of our young stars, and I love that he could lead this whole thing. Kurt [Elling] is a dear, dear friend. And Lakecia is someone that I’ve mentored a little bit. I have a mentoring program for women called the Woodshed Network, and she was in the first edition. We’ve just stayed close ever since then, and her star is rising.”
Benjamin, who has performed with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Gregory Porter, Rashied Ali, Christian McBride and others, has received rave reviews for her latest album “Phoenix.” The album was produced by drummer/composer/producer/educator and 2021 NEA Jazz Master Terri Lyne Carrington. Benjamin will perform a selection from the album at Strathmore.
“Phoenix” honors traditions with special guests 2018 NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves, vocalist Georgia Anne Muldrow, pianist/vocalist/composer/bandleader Patrice Rushen, poet Sonia Sanchez, activist Angela Davis and saxophonist the late Wayne Shorter. Available for preview is a video for the upcoming MJFT concert. https://youtu.be/hJrn7-8lOfA