Bilal to Perform One-Night-Only Concert UPTOWN NIGHTS at Harlem Stage, 2/21
Genre-defying singing sensation Bilal performs an intimate concert at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse on February 21, backed by musical powerhouse the Revive Big Band. Fans of the eclectic, Grammy-nominated artist - known for solo hits "Soul Sista" and "Fast Lane," and for collaborations with The Roots, Erykah Badu, Beyoncé and Common - will see a different side of the singer at this performance. Bilal constantly pushes the boundaries of music with a repertoire that spans soul, jazz, hip hop, rock, blues, electronic and more; this show highlights his classical musical training and deep connection to diverse music, with big-band-style arrangements of his hits alongside imaginative covers and rarely heard tunes.
Bilal's performance is part of Harlem Stage's "Uptown Nights" music series, designed to advance the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance when uptown venues were places for young and adventurous music lovers to find the "next big thing" or see established artists in intimate settings. Now in its fifth season, "Uptown Nights" includes a pre-show mixer, food and drink for purchase, and a DJ-fueled post-performance dance party -- all in a cabaret-style setting. The Harlem Stage Gatehouse is located at 150 Convent Avenue @ 135th Street. The event starts at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are available by phone at 212-281-9240 ext.19 or online at http://www.harlemstage.org/event/bilal/.
Born in Philadelphia, Bilal Oliver is a dynamic live performer with a fan base that includes fellow artists Erykah Badu, Janelle Monaé, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. He has performed with Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Diddy and Common among others. Bilal's major-label debut was 2001's First Born Second, a CD that sold over 300,000 copies and heralded him as an artist to watch. His sophomore recording Love For Sale was downloaded more than 500,000 times. Airtight's Revenge was released in 2010 and yielded the Grammy-nominated single "Little Ones." His latest album is 2013's A Love Surreal.
The Revive Big Band was formed in 2010 by Igmar Thomas as a multi-generational ensemble of like-minded musicians who celebrate and advance the big-band tradition. The group showcases original compositions alongside imaginative arrangements of jazz standards and contemporary classics. This show marks the second time Bilal and Revive have performed together; Bilal was a special guest at the 2014 Winter JazzFest's Blue Note 75th Anniversary Concert that featured the Revive Big Band.
After the performance, guests can dance to the beat of DJ Reborn, who is internationally known for her masterful, infectious blend of soul, hip-hop, reggae, house, afro-beat, nu-jazz, rock and more.
Two nights earlier, on February 19 at 7 p.m., Bilal hosts a listening session of his music at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, where he discusses his influences, discography and the evolution of his sound. Part of Harlem Stage's "Dig Deeper" series that offers insight, context and a chance to learn about an artist's creative process, the listening session will be moderated by ethnomusicologist and Visiting Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Oberlin College, Fredara M. Hadley, Ph.D.
"As an organization committed to working with visionary artists and supporting creative risk, Harlem Stage is proud to present as quintessential an artist as Bilal. He is an extraordinary vocalist who consistently pushes boundaries in the course of his career. We are thrilled he will be supported by the Revive Big Band in what is sure to be a transcendent live performance," says Harlem Stage Assistant Director of Programming Simone Eccleston. "Music lovers who want more than just a great performance can get more by attending the 'Dig Deeper' Listening Session for an intimate and up-close look from the artist himself."
Tickets are $30 for the "Uptown Nights" performance on February 21, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. and $10 for the "Dig Deeper" event February 19, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. They are available by phone at 212-281-9240 ext. 19 or ext. 20, and online at http://www.harlemstage.org/event/bilal/.
This performance is presented as part of The Composers Now Festival that celebrates living composers, the diversity of their voices, and the significance of their musical contributions to society. Composers Now is a project partner of The Fund for the City of New York. For more information, visitComposersNow.org
The next "Uptown Nights" event is May 23, when MacArthur Genius Award-winning choreographer Kyle Abraham presents "Counterculture," his first foray into music curation. The prideful celebration of diversity in today's rising street counterculture features artists Le1f, Will Sheridan and DJ Ed Um.
For more than 30 years Harlem Stage has been one of the nation's leading arts organizations, achieving this distinction through the commissioning, presenting, and now producing of challenging, relevant and topical performances by artists of color, and by bringing them to socially conscious audiences in the communities it serves. Harlem Stage has a long-standing tradition of supporting such artists from around the corner and across the globe, including legends such as Harry Belafonte, Max Roach, Sekou Sundiata, Abbey Lincoln, Sonia Sanchez, Eddie Palmieri and Tito Puente, as well as contemporary artists like Bill T. Jones, Vijay Iyer, Nona Hendryx, Mike Ladd, Tania León, Carl Hancock Rux, Nora Chipaumire and Jason Moran. Its education programs each year provide thousands of New York City children with access to a world of diverse cultures through the performing arts. In 2006, Harlem Stage opened the landmarked, award-winning Harlem Stage Gatehouse in an abandoned space that was once the source of fresh water flowing to New York City, and is now a vital source of creativity, ideas and culture. For more information, visit www.harlemstage.org.