The “Ladies in Jazz” concert series begins its 2017 run at The Arts Block with a special benefit performance in honor of Women’s History Month!!!
Dubbed, “Nasty Women Take the Stage,” the sextet of Samirah Evans (vocals), Lena Bloch (saxophone), Jane Miller (guitar), Roberta Piket (piano), Mary Ann McSweeney (bass) and Claire Arenius (drums), will perform songs written by some of the most famous female composers in the jazz, blues and rock genres.
Thanks to Diana Bingham our generous underwriter, 100% of the proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Brattleboro health center – one of the providers for the Greenfield MA community.
Evans, who created “Ladies in Jazz” in 2012, says she first approached Arenius with the idea for the benefit concert. Arenius has been a frequent performer with Evans, and as a veteran of the music scene in the northeast for a longer time, would know the right group of musicians to bring to the stage.
“What was really heartening was how excited all the musicians were to be a part of the event,” said Evans,” who co-presents the series with The Arts Block through her company, Silktone Productions. “It is a testament to their respect for Claire’s musicians and their belief in the cause that everyone agreed without hesitation.”
Members of the Planned Parenthood NNE organization will be there to talk about services provided to Northern New England area from their location in Brattleboro, Vermont. In addition, Vermont state senator Becca Balint (D-Windham) will make remarks about the importance of keeping high quality health care affordable and accessible to women in the region.
Since relocating from New Orleans following hurricane Katrina,
SAMIRAH EVANS (VOCALS) has been delighting audiences across the northeastern U.S., performing or sharing stages with the likes of Charles Neville, Sheila Jordan, (Allman Brothers drummer) Jaimoe, Donald Harrison, Jr., Duke Robillard, Dr. John, Wallace Roney, John Sheldon and Evelyn Harris. Her touring band, Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils, delivers swampy, soulful takes on jazz and blues classics as well originals; while other projects, such as the George Kaye quintet “Porgy & Bess” project and her tribute to Nina Simone and Etta James in conjunction with Evelyn Harris, honor the musical and cultural roots of the music. Evans is a member of the visiting artist faculty at Williams College and a private vocal instructor, as well as the founder of the NOLABratts choir. See more atsamirahevans.com.
CLAIRE ARENIUS (DRUMS) has been performing in jazz and improvisational music for more than thirty years. A recipient of a National Endowment Music Grant, she has performed and/or recorded with many jazz greats including: Tal Farlow, Slide Hampton, Richard Davis, Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, Karrin Allyson, Charles Neville, George Mraz, Ray Copeland, Mose Allison, Barney Kessel, Yusef Lateef, Rufus Reid, Lew Soloff, Sheila Jordan and more.
LENA BLOCH (SAXOPHONE) was born in Moscow, Russia, and immigrated to Israel in 1990. She has since traveled the world, performing in various settings in Israel, Holland, Italy, Germany, Belgium, England, Canada, Russia, Slovenia and the United States. Lena holds Masters Degrees in Performance and Composition from Cologne Conservatory Germany (1999) and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (2006). She has also studied privately with Yusef Lateef, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and, most notably, Lee Konitz (2001-2014). In 2003 she became a finalist for Alberto Vilar Fellowship at NYU, representing Europe in jazz division. Since 1993 Lena has been leading her own groups, writing music and arranging. With her unique cultural background, Lena is working towards an original style, her musical influences in jazz ranging from European Classical tradition to Middle Eastern and Indian music. She is also an inventive improviser and a refreshing performer of standard jazz material.
MARY ANN MCSWEENEY (BASS) has played with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Joanne Brackeen and Lee Konitz, Gil Goldstein and Bucky Pizzarelli. She has also played for famous conductors Leonard Bernstein, Lalo Schifrin, and John Williams. McSweeney has performed with Renee Rosness, Vic Juris, Ken Peplowski, Dennis Mackrel, Lewis Nash and Larry Goldings. Additionally, she has taken the stage with the Maiden Voyage and Diva Big Bands and was privileged to perform with her quintet at the Sexial Jazz Festival in Portugal and the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center. She has arranged for and recorded with Warner Bros. Artist, Lea Delaria. She has toured Europe and performed with David Krakouer’s Klezmer Madness and five time Tony award winning vocalist Audra McDonald.
JANE MILLER (GUITAR) is a guitarist, a composer, an arranger, and the author of Introduction to Jazz Guitar (Berklee Press/Hal Leonard, 2015). She is a Contributing Editor to Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and is a former monthly columnist for Premier Guitar Magazine. Jane has presented master classes in Argentina, Chile, S. Korea, Colombia, and around the United States. She is a Professor in the Guitar Department at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she has taught since 1994. The Jane Miller Group has released three CDs. Her fourth CD, her first solo guitar recording, called “Three Sides to a Story,” was released in June of 2013.
ROBERTA PIKET (PIANO) is one of a handful of New York musicians who is respected for both her swinging and inventive straight-ahead jazz playing as well as her powerful and sensitive work in creative improvised music. Roberta has played professionally as a sidewoman with David Liebman, Rufus Reid, Michael Formanek, Lionel Hampton, Mickey Roker, Billy Mintz, Harvey Wainapel, Eliot Zigmund, Benny Golson and the BMI/ NY Jazz Orchestra, and has twice been a featured guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on National Public Radio.
ABOUT LADIES IN JAZZ
“Ladies in Jazz” is a musical series developed and operated by Samirah Evans through her company, Silktone Productions. It is co-produced with the The Arts Block in Greenfield MA. Each installment brings Evans together in concert with another female jazz vocalist or instrumentalist. The goal of the series is to introduce new women artists to audiences in western Massachusetts, and to attract more established women artists to the area. Previous guests have included Sheila Jordan, Evelyn Harris, Jill Connolly, the Valley Jazz Divas, Mary Witt, Becca Byram, Elizabeth!, Marcia Gomes, Maricel Lucero and Rebecca Holtz.
ADMISSION $18 ADV/$23 DOOR