Unscripted Jazz Series – January 2019

Posted: January 7, 2019 in Concerts, Contemporary Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Soul
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I Got Life: The Music of Nina Simone.

An exciting and groundbreaking collaboration featuring Gerald Veasley and Jaguar Wright comes together to celebrate the music of the iconic of
Nina Simone. The legends of jazz and soul music are taking this dynamic show on the road and making it available for festivals and clubs throughout the United States.

More than a concert, I Got Life is an event that explores the powerful music and empowering messages of Nina Simone. The presentation moves through four aspects of Ms. Simone’s songbook: Quest, Passion, Fury and Hope. Vocalist Jaguar Wright and bassist Gerald Veasley lead an ensemble that re-imagines Nina Simone’s work with inventive energy.

Why “The Music of Nina Simone”?
While the world is re-discovering the brilliance of Nina Simone, Jaguar has known it all along. She has long been a student of her music and has been inspired by her life story. Veasley recognized Jaguar’s potential for channeling Nina Simone before the two even spoke. Says Veasley, “I knew Jaguar had that same intensity and fire before I heard her sing a note of of Nina Simone’s music.” Together they share a deep appreciation for Ms. Simone’s music and her desire for social justice. As a result, “I Got Life” speaks to our current turbulent times with honesty and raw beauty. Veasley and Wright understand there is no better time to present this timeless music.

Jaguar Wright

Jaguar is an artist who cannot be defined by genre. She is a Renaissance woman, as comfortable performing with rap mogul Jay Z as she is with jazz drummer extraordinaire, Terri Lynn Carrington. Jaguar was a breakout artist in Philadelphia’s Black Lily scene created by Questlove and The Roots which spawned the careers of Jill Scott and other major Neo-Soul and Hip Hop artists. She released two critically acclaimed albums and also appeared on Veasley’s “Velvet” cd, performing a rendition of the soul classic, “Let’s Do It Again”.

Gerald Veasley

Veasley is well regarded as a recording artist with several solo albums to his credit. As a bassist, he has worked extensively in the jazz, gospel and R&B genres. His resume includes collaborations with a wide range of artists: Dianne Reeves, Kirk Whalum, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Teddy Pendergrass, Zap Mama. He counts among his mentors two groundbreaking artists: Grover Washington and Joe Zawinul, from whom he developed an appreciation for the balance between innovation and tradition.

I Got Life brings together two internationally acclaimed artists who were launched out of the vibrant Philadelphia jazz and soul scenes. However, the performances by these collaborators defy category and are in the adventurous spirit of Ms. Simone. As the iconic artist said, “Jazz is not just music, it’s a way of life, it’s a way of being, a way of thinking”. Well said, Ms. Simone, well said.

Electric Mingus Project

Gerald Veasley re-imagines the music of the legendary bassist and composer Charles Mingus, who has inspired more controversy than perhaps any other in jazz. Mingus’ unique approach is ever present in his compositions and has made him a fascination to the generations of jazz musicians that followed.

One such musician is renowned bassist Gerald Veasley. A world-class player and composer himself, Veasley leads the five piece Electric Mingus Project which. The adventurous group revisits Mingus’ compositions using both modern electronic and standard instrumentation: John Swana – EVI, Chris Farr – EWI and Saxophones, Tony Miceli – Vibes and Harry “Butch” Reed” – Drums.

When asked to explain the goals of what initially appears to be a tribute project, Veasley responded, “Any musical project should reflect not just how you play, but also how you are as a person. We want this project to be a snapshot of these five musicians and who they are.”

By rejecting the idea of a tribute project in this way, the Electric Mingus Project in fact pays the ultimate tribute to the late composer. As Mingus turned back to the blues, Veasley turns back to Mingus for the same purpose: to find a vehicle for sincere personal expression. Charles Mingus wouldn’t want it any other way.

JJ Sansaverino

Guitarist JJ Sansaverino is a extraordinary performer who has a “take no prisoners” performance attitude. Over the past 25 years, he has reached millions touring the world with his “a la Santana meets Benson” musical style, a mix of Smooth Jazz, R&B, and Reggae. With the upcoming release of his third CD, “International Groove” JJ puts forward a stunning selection of original compositions. The first single “When I’m With You” topped the radio charts. Now, with his latest single “Festivo” it is on track to be a huge radio hit.

Get tickets here.

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