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Songs of Freedom





First presented under the auspice of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the 1960s are explored through the work of three prolific artists: Joni Mitchell, Abbey Lincoln, and Nina Simone – all of whom have made an indelible mark in music. Each artist expressed freedom in various ways. Joni composed and sung about the freedom of love, Abbey expressed freedom of her individuality and race through her lyricism, and Nina Simone demanded freedom politically through song.  The project is under the musical direction of Grammy Award-winning drummer, Ulysses Owens Jr.

To effectively deliver this vast repertoire, the program features vocalists Theo Bleckmann , Alicia Olatuja and Joanna Majoko.

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Upcoming Appearances

Jan 06, 2017
New School Tishman Auditorium • Part of Winter JazzFest • New York, NY
Oct 22, 2017
Berlind Theatre • Princeton NJ
Dec 1, 2017
Cullen Theater • Da Camera of Houston • Houston TX
Dec 2, 2017
Jo Long Theatre • Carver Cultural Center • San Antonio TX
Apr 5, 2018
Loeb Playhouse • Purdue University • West Lafayette IN
Apr 6, 2018
Logan Center • University of Chicago • Chicago IL
Apr 7, 2018
Colwell Playhouse • Krannert Center for the Arts • Urbana IL
Apr 11, 2018
Jazz at the Bistro • St. Louis MO
Apr 12, 2018
Jazz at the Bistro • St. Louis MO
Apr 13, 2018
Jazz at the Bistro • St. Louis MO
Apr 14, 2018
Jazz at the Bistro • St. Louis MO
Apr 19, 2018
Bing Concert Hall • Stanford University • Stanford CA

"the book of longing"


the book of longing


Her voice traces a landscape of emotion that knows no boundaries.
— Entertainment Weekly

Grammy winner, Brazilian Jazz singer and composer Luciana Souza, returns to the stage with The Book of Longing, her new project on words and poetry, featuring guitarist Chico Pinheiro and bassist Scott Colley.

In many of her recordings and past projects, Luciana Souza has paid tribute to poets and poetry - setting to music poems of Elizabeth Bishop, Pablo Neruda, E.E. Cummings, Gary Snyder, and more recently, Leonard Cohen. For Word Strings, Luciana revisits some of these poets and includes new settings of poems by Leonard Cohen, Octavio Paz, and others.

"Poetry continues to spill into everything in my life," Luciana says. "It has been my constant companion and I continue to be fascinated by how powerful words strung together by the mind and eye of the poet can be. I constantly find myself transformed after encountering good poetry."

Luciana brings together two master musicians - Chico Pinheiro, on guitar, and Scott Colley, on the acoustic bass. She says:"Chico and Scott are both great composers, and play that way - they improvise beautifully and compositionally, and contribute to the music from the point of view of deeply understanding structure and color, contrast and texture - all that makes music sound personal and vital. They are also very committed to creating something new, which has always been my driving wheel, even when dealing with traditional music. I am so happy to be embarking on a project with these two musicians - we all aim to illuminate these words and sounds together..."

Chico Pinheiro hails from São Paulo, Luciana Souza’s hometown in Brazil. A self-taught guitarist, he later attended Berklee College of Music, in Boston. Chico Pinheiro is the most prominent composer and musician of his generation, able to translate in a very personal way his influences from traditional Brazilian music and contemporary jazz. Pinheiro is that rare composer that combines intellectual prowess with ideas that are very lyrical and romantic.

Scott Colley is an long-time collaborator of Luciana Souza, having been the bassist on two of her recordings (Grammy nominated North and South, and the critically acclaimed The New Bossa Nova) and numerous tours over the years. Colley manifests all that’s desired in a great musician - constant curiosity, deep intimacy with theinstrument, superb technical ability, and an uncanny rhythmic and compositional approach to the bass - making him the perfect choice for a drummer-less trio.

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Grammy®-nominated artists Alfredo Rodríguez and Pedrito Martinez first worked together on Alfredo’s 2012 release Invasion Parade. Since that initial recording session they have had the rare occasion to perform together as a duo, leaving audiences completely mesmerized by their fearless and virtuosic playing.

Each artist brings a different approach to the collaboration. A protege of Quincy Jones, who took him under his wing when he defected to the US in 2009, Alfredo was schooled in the rigorous classical conservatories of Havana. His riveting artistry is informed as much by Bach and Stravinsky as it is by his Afro Cuban and jazz roots. Pedrito’s musical training came directly from the streets of the Cayo Hueso neighborhood of Old Havana in which he was raised and he has subsequently performed with artists such as Sting, Paul Simon, and Wynton Marsalis. Together, these two master musicians take listeners on a unique and exciting journey. This package is being co-booked by Unlimited Myles and Epstein & Company, available only during the 2018-2019 presenting season.

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MAC 1113 John Beasley MONKestra PR 0069 300 cmyk.jpg


John Beasley, the one-time keyboardist for Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis, whose playing reflects a variety of generational influences, incorporating the emphatic chordal clusters of Herbie Hancock, the rhythmic quirkiness of Monk and the lush intelligence of Art Tatum into a highly refined personal voice.
— Los Angeles Times

Experience Thelonious Monk’s timeless music in a unique cinematic-concert performance featuring multi-GRAMMY© nominated John Beasley’s big band MONK’estra, film footage of Monk, and spoken word performance of Monk’s philosophy of life and music.  Co-produced and written with filmmaker Stefan Forbes and John Beasley featuring rare footage from Michael Blackwood’s films "Monk" and "Monk in Europe".

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