Upcoming Performances

Elijah Jamal Balbed Quintet: The Karma Suite

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John F. kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street, NW, WASHINGTON

Award-winning saxophonist, educator, Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead graduate, and Washington, D.C. native Elijah Jamal Balbed is best known as a performing musician around town, having played with the likes of Cyrus Chestnut, Lalah Hathaway, Eric Benet, Dr. John, and the late, great Chuck Brown. He’s also deeply rooted into D.C.'s indigenous genre—Go-Go. Join Balbed and his quintet for an evening of music from their newest album, The Karma Suite.

Jan25

Mark G. Meadows: Stevie Wonder Tribute

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Caten Castle, 20 S Caton Ave, Baltimore, MD 21229, Baltimore, MD

Acclaimed jazz composer, pianist, music director, vocalist, jazz instructor, & actor, Mark G. Meadows is a man on a mission: to create a unifying sound that breaks through social barriers. There’s something for everyone in his music, which harmonizes pop, gospel, R&B, hip hop, funk, and jazz. With his lyrics, suffused with meaning, and his velvet voice, Meadows cuts through the noise to speak to all. Debonair on the stage, he is also an entertainer of the highest caliber.

Cecily Live at City Winery

City Winery NYC, 155 Varick St, New York, New York

DC-based vocalist and songwriter Cecily is known for her agile soprano and honest lyrics. Her current album Songs of Love and Freedom was named “Best New Soul on Bandcamp” by the Bandcamp editorial team, who described the project as “stirringly timeless and modern.”

Her sound, as soothing as it is rich, is musically mature, and rooted in a deep appreciation for mid-century soul and jazz, 90’s R&B, and re-imagined folk music. Yet her fresh faced lyrics boldly portray the heart young Cecily has fought for, and the wisdom of love earned and freedom gained over a life of being misunderstood and told she was “before her time” or “mature beyond her years.” This influence gives her work a unique sensuality that informs not only her vocal approach, but also her self-reflecting lyrics, grappling with self-acceptance, vulnerability, and rebirth.

In her songs you’ll hear the influence of growing up surrounded by her parents vast record collection. Her father, a lover of Miles Davis, and her mother, a Smokey Robinson fan, filled their home with soulful sounds that captivated their daughter, and which she has channeled into her own work. Soulbounce says that Cecily creates “music that pulls from the past but looks toward the future.”

Cecily has opened for award winning jazz and soul artists Gregory Porter and Jose James, R&B stars Johnny Gill, Kenny Lattimore, and Elle Varner, folk artist Becca Stevens, and alternative soul pioneer Bilal. She has played at the legendary Blues Alley and the Apollo Music Cafe, as well as The Kennedy Center, The Hamilton, The Howard Theater, and Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. In 2017, Cecily and her band were invited by the US Embassy to perform in Colombia at the VI Annual Mompox Jazz Festival.

Cecily was selected to be part of the Strathmore Artist-in-Residence class of 2018, a program that honed her performance skills and encouraged genre-defying collaborations. Cecily was also the recipient of a 2018 Project Grant from the Montgomery County Arts and Humanities Council, which she is using to fund her next studio project about the mastery of love.

As a Washington, DC native, raised in a city synonymous with politics, it was an obvious choice to pursue a career in public service. But by the age of 21, Cecily walked out of her International Relations classroom feeling disillusioned. She told her mother that after 10 years of singing as a hobby, she wanted to dedicate her life to music. With a degree in Political Science and Black Studies, Cecily began her career as a vocalist and songwriter, with the mission to bring purpose and power to her music and people’s lives. It was music that mattered most then and now.

Liner Notes: Music of The Movement

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New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center St, Newark, New Jersey

show features inspiring songs of change. From the energizing Ray Charles’ What’d I Say to protest songs like A Change Is Gonna Come and spirituals like This Little Light of Mine, the songs that informed the struggle for universal human rights in America remain powerful and relevant.

Always striving to care for its audience, Liner Notes revisits this turbulent time in our history with authenticity, thoughtfulness and integrity, drawing connections and examining the intersections with adversity that is still prevalent today. What have we learned? What do we still need to learn from the music and the artists who used their art as activism?