Geri Allen & Friends - Great Jazz Women at Apollo Theater
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Under the musical direction of jazz pianist and composer Geri Allen, this Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival concert production pays homage to the great women singers and instrumentalists who have graced the Apollo stage.
Staged by celebrated actress, and director/film maker, S. Epatha Merkerson and through the words and historical narrative of acclaimed author Farah Jasmin Griffin and musical backdrop by Deejay, Val Jeanty, the performance celebrates the legacy of Nina Simone, Betty Carter, Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and others.
Performances also by: Dianne Reeves, The Timeline Tap Quartet, Lizz Wright, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tia Fuller and the vocal ensemble Afro Blue.
The Harlem Jazz Shrines project is a Harlem-wide jazz festival presented in collaboration with Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile and celebrates the rich legacy of jazz in the uptown community, bringing both established and emerging artists to famed Harlem venues.
Venue Description: Apollo Amateur Night continues to demand and reward greatness, spurring performers to put every fiber of their being, every ounce of their emotion into pleasing the audiences that can make them an Apollo legend.
The world famous Apollo Theater is so much more than a historic landmark - it is a source of pride and a symbol of the brilliance of American artistic accomplishment. With its rich history and continued significance, the Apollo Theater, considered the bastion of African-American culture and achievement, is one of the most fascinating chronicles in American history.
It all started in 1914 when the theater was constructed on 125th Street, the heart of Harlem. Originally, it was named Hurtig and Seamon's New Burlesque Theatre and African-Americans were not allowed in the audience. In 1934: Ralph Cooper, Sr. decided to do a live version of his already popular radio show, Amateur Nite Hour at the Apollo, at the Apollo Theater, then owned by the Schiffman family. Ella Fitzgerald was one of the first Amateur Night winners. That same year, Cooper, Benny Carter and 16 Gorgeous Hot Steppers dazzled the crowds with the theater's first 'Colored Revue.' Then in 1935, Bessie Smith made her Apollo debut followed by an unknown vocalist by the name of Billie Holiday who graced the Apollo stage and mesmerized the audience with her undeniable style and talent. Soon thereafter, the Apollo Theater quickly became known the place 'Where Stars are Born and Legends are Made' and 'home' to thousands of major performance artists, fans, and patrons of the arts from around the world. The legendary venue has launched the careers of icons such as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, James Brown and Lauryn Hill and continues to maintain its position as the nation's most popular arena for emerging and established African-American and Latino performers.