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Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival Presents Blazing Tongues at Lenox Lounge
(Published: April 30, 2012)

2012 Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival Presents
Blazing Tongues: The Singers & Writers of Lenox Lounge
Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch & Beareather Reddy, May 8, 7:00 pm
Gregory Generet and Chuck Cooper, May 11, 7:00 pm


Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival Runs May 7 - 13, 2012

All Tickets Just $10 or Free!

The prestige of the past. The pulse of the present.

NEW YORK, NY, April 30 2012 - The historic Lenox Lounge, a fixture in Harlem since 1939, located on Lenox Avenue between 124th and 125th streets, has been home to some of the hottest jazz in the city from Billie Holiday and Miles Davis to Frank Sinatra and John Coltrane, and it's also been a favorite hang for many African-American writers, including James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, to name a select few.

That melding of voice and music - spoken word and jazz - is the inspiration for Blazing Tongues: The Singers & Writers of Lenox Lounge, set for May 8 and 11 during the second annual Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival, produced by the Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile, Inc.

On Tuesday, May 8, at 7:00 pm at The Gatehouse, festival partner Harlem Stage presents Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch & Beareather Reddy: Music of Ella Fitzgerald and words of Paule Marshall. Cumberbatch is steeped in African-American music. She is the daughter of baritone saxophonist Harold Cumberbatch, and she's named after the Charlie Parker classic, "Donna Lee." Born in Brooklyn, she grew up singing in the church, counts Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald as influences, and has performed with Hannibal Loukumbe, Diedre Murray, Cecil Payne, and the Hank Doughty/Ray Abrams Big Band. Cumberbatch notably celebrated Ella in Diedre Murray's "Songbird" at Harlem Stage in the late nineties.

Georgia-born, New York-based vocalist Beareather Reddy has worked with Max Roach, Archie Shepp, Abdullah Ibrahim, Sheila Jordan and dance choreographer Dianna Ramos. She's also a veteran of the theater, as evidenced by her sterling work with Atlanta's 14th Street Theater, where she wrote "Dinah's Blues, " a one-woman show; and she appeared in the Audelco nominated "Nzhinga's Children, " at the National Black Theatre. She is the founder/CEO of her own company, Big Eyed Productions. Cumberbatch and Reddy will illuminate the music of Ella Fitzgerald and the words of novelist Paule Marshall, author of several acclaimed novels including Brown Girl, Brownstones and Triangular Road.

On Friday, May 11, at 7:00 pm, don't miss Gregory Generet and Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper, directed by Tamara Tunie: Music of Johnny Hartman and words of Ralph Ellison at The Gatehouse. Presented by Harlem Stage in partnership with Lenox Lounge, Columbia University's Center for Jazz Studies (CJS) and Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), this collaboration features Brooklyn-born vocalist Gregory Generet, who has worked with Mike Renzi, Laurence Hobgood, Eric Reed and Onaje Allan Gumbs, and recorded his debut CD, (re)Generet-ion in 2009, with his wife, Law & Order actress Tamara Tunie, who directs this program. Together, they blend their talents to deliver some new interpretations to the music of the velvet-toned Johnny Hartman - who recorded with John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie - and the words of the immortal novelist Ralph Ellison, author of Invisible Man, Shadow and Act, and Going to the Territory. A night of high African-American art is all but assured by this dynamic duo.

Chuck Cooper is a veteran of 10 Broadway plays and musicals and numerous television guest leads and film appearances over the span of his 30 years as a professional actor. He won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a musical for his portrayal of Memphis in The Life. His other Broadway credits include: Finian's Rainbow; Lennon; Caroline Or Change (Audelco Award, Best Featured Actor); Chicago; Passion; Someone to Watch Over Me; Rumors; Amen Corner and Getting Away With Murder.

Blazing Tongues: The Singers & Writers of Lenox Lounge is part of Harlem Stage's Harlem Stride series.

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door. For more information, visit www.harlemstage.org.

The Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile, Inc. have joined forces again to present the second annual Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival May 7-13, 2012. Continuing the mission of the inaugural festival, the three venerable cultural organizations will present a series of concerts and events to celebrate the rich legacy of jazz in the uptown community.

Other highlights of the 2012 Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival include:

• Wycliffe Gordon's Jazz à la Carte (May 12) - The Apollo's variety shows of the 1930's made a stellar comeback last year under the music direction of composer/trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and the director/choreographer Kenneth L. Roberson. The show returns when Gordon celebrates the world-renowned Apollo with host Maurice Hines, tap star Savion Glover, the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, vocalist Theresa Thomason, pianist Aaron Diehl, trumpeter Philip Dizack, trombonist/vocalist Natalie Cressman and the Apollo Dancers.

• Tribute to Club Harlem: Celebrating Cecil (May 8 - 9) - Three of today's most innovative pianists honor the uncompromising creative force of Cecil Taylor in two evenings of solo and duet performances. Vijay Iyer, Amina Claudine Myers, Craig Taborn and poet Amiri Baraka, will perform at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse.

• Small's Paradise: (Re) Created (May 7, 9, 10, 11) - Jazzmobile will take the bold leap to re-create the legendary Small's Paradise, once Harlem's premier night spot and longest-operating club. Re-created at Harlem USA on the second floor of Magic Johnson Theater, the series features the Revive Music Paradise Band, Johnny O'Neal, Sachal Vasandani, Umar Hassan, The Tap Messengers, Marika Hughes & Bottom Heavy, Will Calhoun plus education presentations including Daniel Carlton's When Small's Had It All.

• Showman's Late Night Jazz (May 8 - 12) - A week-long series produced by the Apollo Theater and Showman's at the legendary club frequented by Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Pearl Bailey, Grady Tate and countless others, continues the tradition with sessions featuring Danny Mixon, Lonnie Youngblood, Lou Volpe, Cynthia Holiday and Sarah McLawler.

• Tribute to Clark Monroe's Uptown House (May 10) at Harlem Stage Gatehouse - Featuring some of the world's finest instrumentalists and vocalists, this year's Grammy winner for Best Jazz Vocal Album The Mosaic Project gives females a place to support and celebrate each other from a musical and social perspective. Terri Lyne Carrington will be joined by Lizz Wright, Nona Hendryx, Ingrid Jensen, Tia Fuller, Helen Sung, Mimi Jones and Nir Felder to construct creative consciousness as "women with voices."

• Minton's Playhouse: Legends on the Bandstand (May 9 - 12) - Jazzmobile brings the famed club on 118th Street back to life with a celebration of some of the legends of the esteemed bandstand. Acknowledging iconic contributions are keepers of the flame, including TK Blue celebrating Charlie Parker, octogenarian Barry Harris remembering Thelonious Monk, Winard Harper with a tribute to Max Roach and an artist TBD paying homage to Dizzy Gillespie. Each set will be followed by a late night jam.

The three partners are again collaborating with Columbia University to bring humanities programming that will further highlight the cultural significance of Harlem and the Festival. The University's programming includes a May 11 special advance screening of The Savoy King, a documentary on Swing-era drummer/bandleader Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald and the renowned Savoy Ballroom as well as an exploration of the spiritual dimensions of Harlem's aesthetic legacies in jazz.

For the complete festival calendar of events and more information, log on to www.harlemjazzshrines.org.

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More Information: http://www.harlemjazzshrines.org

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