"The best jazz repertory band in the country..." -The New Yorker
"Culturally important...spectacular musically...Precise, intelligent and straightforward." -The New York Times
The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO), led by artistic director Charlie Young, presents another spectacular concert series delving into jazz’s greatest works and performers in small ensembles or as full orchestra.
Don’t miss a chance to hear this orchestra, founded in 1990 with an appropriation from the U.S. Congress in recognition of jazz’s importance in American cultural life. What other national treasure can claim to be as cool?
2013-2014 Season Information
Sat., Dec. 14 Suite Ellington
The orchestra continues its tradition of performing Duke Ellington and Bill Strayhorn’s adaptation of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” and other suites drawn from the Ellington song book.
Sat., Feb. 22 The Genius of Charlie Parker
Alto saxophonist Charles Christopher "Charlie" Parker (aka “Bird”) revolutionized modern jazz improvisation. He was revered for his creative use of extended harmonic structures, and he also helped to legitimize the use of strings within the jazz idiom on his 1950 Mercury recording, Bird with Strings. Hear selections from some of his recordings, which may include "Confirmation," "Blues for Alice," and “April in Paris.” An added string section is featured in this musical journey.
Sat., April 12 Forms of the Blues
W.C. Handy, widely known as the “Father of the Blues,” gave the genre its contemporary form. This concert marks 100 years since the publication of Handy's "St. Louis Blues," and features large and combo ensembles focusing on the evolution of the blues from the early 20th century to its present-day "jazz ensemble" styling.
Sat., June 28 Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds and “Empress of the Blues” Bessie Smith - RESCHEDULED FROM 10/18/13
The Smithsonian Jazz Masters Ensemble and guest vocalist Sharon Clark interpret the vocal styling of blues singers Mamie Smith and Bessie Smith who were highly touted in the 1920s for their ground-breaking work on the historic OKeh Records imprint, known for its “race” recordings.
Full Series (4 concerts; CODE: BPN3)
All concerts held in Baird Auditorium, Natural History Museum except Dec. 14 concert (Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St., N.W.)
All programs subject to change.