Harlem Stage Announces Spring 2012 Season, Kicks Off 2/10

Harlem Stage Announces Spring 2012 Season, Kicks Off 2/10

Harlem Stage has announced its Spring 2012 schedule, which includes tributes to jazz giant Cecil Taylor and modern legends A Tribe Called Quest, as well as barrier-busting works in music, dance and film. The season’s lineup glorifies Harlem’s cultural heritage while celebrating its future and highlighting issues of interest from the Black and Latin Diaspora.

Among this season’s featured musicians: veteran jazz/funk drummer Terri Lyne Carrington with an impressive all-star female lineup that includes funk/soul icon Nona Hendryx and gospel/jazz singer Lizz Wright (whose Fellowship album was named DownBeat magazine’s 2011 “Beyond Album of the Year”); and José James, Downbeat’s 2011 “Rising Star Male Vocalist” who has been called “a jazz singer for the hip-hop generation.” Also, Afro-punk queen Tamar-kali and powerhouse pianist Vijay Iyer (Downbeat’s 2011 “Rising Star Jazz Group” winner) return to the Harlem Stage Gatehouse following recent acclaimed and sold-out shows there.

In dance, evolving choreographers Souleymane Badolo and Sheetal Ghandi anchor the annual E-Moves festival of new and rising dancemakers. In film, award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt previews a sure-to-be-controversial documentary film about the tradition of soul food.

With more than 25 events this spring, Harlem Stage continues a tradition of presenting art that challenges audiences to expand their worldviews and create change – including the acclaimed nightlife series Uptown Nights at Harlem Stage that reimagines the time when Harlem was the destination for music audiences seeking the next big thing, the Harlem Stride series that pushes forward the discipline of jazz, and Harlem Stage on Screen, a season-long film series partnership with Black Documentary Collective (BDC) and Media that Matters/Arts Engine, Inc. (MTM)

Season highlights include (more details below):

· Honey-soaked baritone José James, fresh from a series of sold-out concerts across the city, presents the first live performance of all-new material from his upcoming album No Beginning, No End (Feb.10-11)
· Parties, performances and panels that celebrate the impact, importance and influence of legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest (March 1-3);
· Award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt’s new Soul Food Junkies, which explores the tradition, and the health effects, of time-honored soul food, presented with BDC (April 11);
· Emerging and evolving dance artists sharing the stage in the 13th season of the acclaimed annual E-Moves dance festival (April 20-28);
· Harlem Stage’s 2012 Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival contribution spotlights jazz visionary Cecil Taylor, including a performance by the legend himself (May 8, 9 and 17);
· Terri Lyne Carrington’s “The Mosaic Project,” nominated for a 2012 “Best Jazz Vocal Album” Grammy Award, is an all-star celebration of women in jazz (May 10); and
· The dynamic range of punk, funk, and soul singer (also composer/arranger) Tamar-Kali is on display for a three-night run with one-of-a-kind sets and guest performers (June 7-9)

Harlem Stage also presents Uptown Open, a monthly open-mic series for and by teens that features young poets, emcees, scholars, and activists sharing their voices, art, and opinions in an after-school safe space. Open to all, the series hits the Gatehouse stage every third Thursday from 5-7pm

“Our new season inspires in so many ways,” says Harlem Stage Executive Director Patricia Cruz. “As our 30th anniversary approaches, I’m thrilled about the caliber of talent we continue to support, and the range of nationalities and cultures they represent - from around the corner to across the globe.”

The full Harlem Stage Spring 2012 season is listed below – organized by date under each discipline. More information is available at www.HarlemStage.org


Fri & Sat, Feb 10 - 11
José James
7:30p & 9:30p (two sets) at Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Avenue (@ W. 135th St)
Tickets: $25
Blending soul, jazz, hip-hop, and experimental music, James combines historical jazz and today’s modern urban sound. Voted Downbeat’s 2011 “Rising Star Male Vocalist and touted as “a jazz singer for the hip-hop generation,” James returns to Harlem Stage for part of Harlem Stage’s Uptown Nights series.

Thu, March 1 – Sat, March 3
A Tribe Called Quest: Innovation and Legacies – A Movement in Four Parts (details below)
As one of hip-hop’s most legendary, beloved and revered groups, A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ) transformed the sound of hip-hop. With its signature jazz-infused, bass-heavy soundscapes, eclectic sampling and Afrocentric lyrics, ATCQ paved the way for future generations to be unapologetic about creative expression. Harlem Stage pays tribute with a series of live performances, and humanities and dance events that celebrate their music and influence.

Thu, March 1
Movement 1 – Footprints: A Discussion on the Innovation and Impact of A Tribe Called Quest
7:30p at Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Avenue (@ W. 135th St)
Tickets: Free
Artists, scholars, and journalists discuss ATCQ’s musical and cultural legacy.

Fri, March 2
Movement 2 – Excursions: A Tribe Called Quest Tribute, featuring The Revive Da Live Big Band with special guests
7:30p at Aaron Davis Hall, 138 Convent Avenue (opposite the Gatehouse);
Tickets: $25 (package price with SPIT after-party at Harlem Stage Gatehouse – details below)
Igmar Thomas leads the Revive Da Live Big Band as they highlight works from ATCQ’s influential discography: People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm; The Low End Theory; Midnight Marauders; Beats, Rhymes and Life; and The Love Movement. Part of Harlem Stage’s Uptown Nights series, presented in collaboration with Revive Music.

Fri, March 2
Movement 3 – SPIT (SPEAKIN' IN TONGUES): Music of (and inspired by) The Native Tongues
9:30p at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Avenue (@ W. 135th St)
Tickets: $10/ $5 with Excursions ticket
DJ Cosi headlines the tribute after-party SPIT (Speakin’ In Tongues), celebrating the music created by the legendary Native Tongues collective (which comprised the groups De La Soul, The Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Leaders of the New School, Black Sheep, individual artists Monie Love and Queen Latifah, and more) which revolutionized hip-hop and defined its golden age. Part of Harlem Stage’s Uptown Nights series.

Sat, March 3
Movement 4 – Beats, Rhymes and Beyond: The J. Dilla Ensemble
7:30p at Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Avenue (@ W. 135th St)
Tickets: $15
As it revolutionized hip-hop production, A Tribe Called Quest also paved the way for the next generation of producers, one of whom was James Dewitt Yancey, better known as J. Dilla, Dilla’s studio technique put him among most influential hip-hop producers of all time. His credits include tracks on ATCQ’s Beats, Rhymes and Life and The Love Movement, as well as compositions for Q-Tip, Erykah Badu, Common, the Pharcyde, De La Soul, his own group Slum Village, and countless others. Even though Dilla passed away in 2006, he created groundbreaking music that drew inspiration from jazz, rock, soul and everything between. Berklee College of Music’s highly acclaimed The J. Dilla Ensemble pays tribute to his life and musical legacy. Part of Harlem Stage’s Uptown Nights series; Presented in collaboration with Revive Music.

Thu, March 29
Eva Ayllon
7:30p at Aaron Davis Hall, 138 Convent Avenue (opposite the Gatehouse);
Tickets: Free
Eva Ayllon has been committed to expanding musical boundaries and broadening awareness of Afro-Peruvian culture for decades. Dubbed “The Tina Turner of Peru” by the Los Angeles Times, Ayllon has performed to sold-out houses across the globe, produced more than 20 records, and was a three-time Latin Grammy Award nominee. Her latest release, Eva Ayllon Celebra 40 Años Cantandole Al Peru, is a compilation of greatest hits that revisits the musical styles she mastered over four decades. Part of the Harlem Stride series; a Neighborhood Concert presented with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.

Tue & Wed, May 8-9;
Celebrating Cecil: A Tribute to Club Harlem
8p at Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Avenue (@ W. 135th St)
Tickets: $10
A trio of today’s most celebrated pianists honor the uncompromising creative force of Cecil Taylor and the club he played in, Club Harlem, in two evenings of solo and duet work that is part of the 2012 Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival. Vijay Iyer, Amina Claudine Myers and Craig Taborn join creative forces for a mix of solo piano and duets that will inspire and surprise. The Gatehouse adopts a cabaret vibe just for this event, with tables surrounding a center platform with two pianos. Part of Harlem Stage’s Harlem Stride series; presented in partnership with Issue Project Room.

Tue, May 8 and Fri, May 11
Blazing Tongues: The Singers & Writers of Lenox Lounge
7p at Lenox Lounge (288 Malcolm X Boulevard)
Tickets: $10 plus two-drink minimum
The historic Lenox Lounge has been a Harlem mainstay since 1939, serving as the backdrop for jazz legends Billie Holiday, MiLes Davis, and John Coltrane. Also known as the Zebra Room and said to be a hangout for Malcolm X, the club also was frequented by Harlem Renaissance writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Following two sold-out nights at last year’s Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival, Harlem Stage retakes the Lounge, producing two programs in tribute to the vocal and literary greats of the day. Tuesday night’s program celebrates Ella Fitzgerald and writer Paule Marshall, with Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch and others to be announced. Friday night focuses on Johnny Hartman’s cool baritone as interpreted by Harlem’s own Gregory Generet, as well as writer Ralph Ellison’s Living with Music featuring artists to be announced later. Part of the 2012 Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival.