Meshell Ndegeocello Added to Lineup of Celebrity Series of Boston's Jason Moran in Fats Waller Dance Party, 4/4
Celebrity Series of Boston will present jazz pianist Jason Moran in Fats Waller Dance Party on Friday, April 4, 2014 at 8:00pm at Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA. Tickets start at $44, and are available online at www.celebrityseries.org, by calling CelebrityCharge at (617) 482-6661 Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., or at the Berklee Performance Center Box Office, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA. Sponsored by Donna and Mike Egan.
Just added to the lineup is bassist and singer Meshell Ndegeocello. Ndegeocello is an American singer-songwriter, rapper, bassist, and vocalist whose music incorporates a wide variety of influences, including funk, soul, hip hop, reggae, R&B, rock, and jazz. She has received significant critical acclaim throughout her career and has had ten career Grammy Award nominations.
Canonized, marginalized or just scrutinized, Meshell Ndegeocello has given up trying to explain herself. After 20 years in an industry that has called her everything from avant garde to a dying breed, what unquestionably remains is the fearsome bassist, prolific songwriter, and the creativity and curiosity of an authentic musical force. With that, she has earned critical acclaim, the unfailing respect of fellow players, songwriters and composers, and the dedication of her diverse, unclassifiable fans.
Meshell Ndegeocello was born Michelle Johnson in Berlin, Germany and raised in Washington DC. By the early 90's, she had landed in New York armed with a demo recorded in her bedroom, joined the Black Rock Coalition, and was soon signed to Maverick. Each of her albums have offered lyrical ruminations on race, love, sex, betrayal, God, and power, and she has simultaneously embraced and challenged listeners with her refusal to be pigeon-holed musically or personally. Meshell has been both celebrated and berated for her politically charged lyrics, sexual boundary crossing, and for choosing the road less traveled - a winding adventure through her own musical ambitions rather than the industry formulas. Everything that once counted against her has emerged in her favor, earning her unusual artistic freedom, pride in her open identity, and longevity due to the integrity and artistic ambition of her recordings.
A bass player above all else, Meshell brings her signature warmth and groove to everything she does and has appeared alongside the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Alanis Morrisette, James Blood Ulmer, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tony Allen, John Medeski, Billy Preston, and Chaka Khan. As for her own bass-playing influences, she credits Sting, Jaco Pastorius, Family Man Barrett, and Stevie Wonder. Meshell was the first woman to be featured on the cover of Bass Player magazine and remains one of few women who write the music and lead the band.
Emerging on the music scene in the late 90s, jazz pianist Jason Moran has established himself as an innovator of new directions for jazz as a whole. Moran and his group The Bandwagon - with bassist Taurus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits - have challenged the status quo and earned the reputation as "the future of jazz." Moran is influenced by 20th-century artists, as seen on his third album Black Stars. Moran's debut recording as a leader,Soundtrack to Human Motion, was released in 1999 to great critical praise. The New York Times named it the best album of the year and the Jazz Journalists Association awarded it "Best Debut Recording." In 2007, Moran was commissioned to create IN MY MIND: Monk at Town Hall, 1959, the critically-acclaimed multi-media performance investigating Thelonious Monk's famous recording, Monk at Town Hall. IN MY MIND examines Monk's process of creating this seminal concert using audio of conversations with Monk and the arranger Hal Overton. This personal experience has been transformed into a feature documentary entitled IN MY MIND by director Gary Hawkins. The film premiered at the 13th Annual Full Frame Documentary Festival. He is on the piano faculty at Manhattan School of Music, and has been a lecturer/instructor at Yale University, Dartmouth University, University of Pennsylvania, Eastman School of Music, The Kennedy Center, The New School, New York's Museum of Modern Art, Banff Center for The Arts, Denmarks' Vallekilde Jazz Camp, Skidmore and Stanford Jazz Workshop.