2017-18 Cabaret Season

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Icons, Legends and Rising Stars

The 2017–18 Jazz Series will be a powerhouse season

From jazz favorites to the new kids on the scene, the 2017–18 Jazz Series has a great line up. The season opens with powerhouse jazz icons: the Ramsey Lewis Trio, and Lee Ritenour with special guest Ernie Watts. Two Cuban rising stars, the Pedrito Martinez Group and the Alfredo Rodriguez Trio, join the season to infuse a rich, Latin sound to our series. Chick Corea joins the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for a blockbuster show together. And we wrap up the season with a special jazz birthday tribute to Leonard Bernstein by jazz pianist Bill Charlap.

On October 7, a jazz triumvirate will open the season in Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall with three-time Grammy® Award winner and seven-time Gold Record artist Ramsey Lewis and his trio. Lewis has amassed generations of fans with his flawless piano stylings and warm personality. Sharing the evening with Lewis will be guitarist Ritenour, who, at the age of 16, was given the nickname Captain Fingers for his dexterity. This Los Angeles native has had more than 30 jazz hits since 1976, and has experimented with different styles of music, incorporating funk, pop, rock (he worked with Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones), blues, Brazilian, and classical music blended with his contemporary jazz. Ritenour's special guest is two-time Grammy Award winner Watts, who is called "one of the greatest living tenor saxophonists, at the top of his game," by AllAboutJazz.com. He picked up a saxophone more than 50 years ago and today is one of the most versatile and prolific in music, having been featured on more than 500 albums in the course of his career.

Pedrito Martinez

Percussionist-vocalist Martinez, who brings his band to Samueli Theater on November 11, was born in Cuba and settled in New York City in 1998. Within two years he had won a Thelonius Monk Award for Afro-Latin Hand Percussion and was featured in the documentary film Calle 54, about Latin jazz. He tears it up on congas and bongos, and his Afro-Cuban music is infused with New York influences that create its own unique sound. Martinez is a popular guy—he's recorded or performed with Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Paquito D'Rivera, Bruce Springsteen and Sting, and has contributed, as a percussionist and vocalist, to more than 50 albums. His Center debut is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a multifaceted initiative taking place across Southern California this fall to showcase Latin American and Latino art and music.

Alfredo Rodriquez

Cuba is represented again on December 9 with the Alfredo Rodriquez Trio. This improvisational pianist came to the attention of music producer Quincy Jones when they were at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Jones heard one song and declared his intention to work with Rodriguez, who, three years later while on tour in Mexico, asked for political asylum at the American border. He made his way to Los Angeles with a suitcase full of music and became Jones' protégé. His freedom translates to palpable pianistic joy. Backed by bass and drums, he weaves echoes of classical and pop into his Latin beat. Rodriguez's Center debut is also part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.

Chick Corea

Chick Corea and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) will be a legendary concert on March 25. Huffington Post calls Corea "a living jazz legend in the House of Dave Brubeck and Thelonious Monk among others." This winner of 22 Grammy Awards is a jazz and fusion pianist with a wide range of talents. Corea, who will lead the orchestra, is a prodigious composer, and the JLCO will perform works by him in arrangements created by JLCO musicians, who are some of the most accomplished soloists, ensemble players and arrangers in jazz music today. Expect distinctive orchestrations, a variety of rhythms with swing leading the way, and a thrilling clarity of instrumental sound even amidst full ensemble playing.

Bill Charlap

The season ends with a jazz tribute to the 100th birthday of music legend Leonard Bernstein when Charlap, one of the world's premier jazz pianists, brings Somewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein to Samueli Theater on April 28. In 2004, Charlap recorded an album of the same name, and it's a perfect fit: Bernstein, who died in 1990, loved jazz, and it influenced some of his greatest works. Charlap's transcriptions of 12 beloved compositions were set for piano, bass and drums and include works from West Side Story, On the Town, Candide, Wonderful Town and more. "Like Bernstein, Charlap is a master of the unexpected," says JazzReview.com. "Ideas flow constantly and are executed with formidable technique." Charlap will be joined by his trio bandmates bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington.

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For inquiries about group ticket discounts, please call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.

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