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(Published: July 20, 2012)

A free outdoor concert featuring the critically acclaimed "Fats Waller Dance Party" created by pianist/composer Jason Moran and singer/songwriter/bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, both of whom will perform, kicks off Harlem Stage's 30th Anniversary season on Saturday, July 28, starting at 5 p.m. at Annunciation Park/Bruce Paltrow Field adjacent to the historic Harlem Stage Gatehouse.

Commissioned by Harlem Stage, where the concert had its World Premiere last year, "Fats Waller Dance Party" was one of the stand-out events of its season, playing to four consecutive sold-out houses and significant critical acclaim. Since then the show has been seen in Chicago and will launch a national tour this fall. Subsequently, Blue Note Records will release a studio recording of the project. Moran, a Harlem resident who has worked with Harlem Stage for more than a decade, has performed numerous times at the organization's historic Gatehouse theater and advocates for the organization's work with artists of color. Moran has achieved enormous critical success over the past few years, receiving a 2011 McArthur Fellowship, Downbeat Magazine's Jazz Artist of the Year Award in 2011, and more recently being named Artistic Advisor for Jazz at the Kennedy Center.

"We are so proud to welcome Jason and Meshell back to Harlem Stage to revive this amazing performance, kick off our anniversary celebration, and bring Fats Waller's music back to the community that helped inspire it so many years ago," says Executive Director Pat Cruz. "Despite being a fast-rising superstar, Jason continues to call this neighborhood home. He will always have an artistic home with us and we look forward to a fantastic event this summer."

The "Fats Waller Dance Party" performance looks back at the legacy of Small's Paradise, where Waller regularly "set the joint jumpin'" with late-night jams and rent parties. Waller's canon of unforgettable hits was re-conceived for a modern band by Moran and N'degeocello. A master at creating intimate, enticing connections to listeners through her bass playing and singing, N'dgeocello updated Waller's words and lyrics for contemporary audiences, and married them to the updated music with the goal to get people dancing. The dance party includes guest dancers Maija Garcia/Organic Magnetics. Opening acts for the show include vocalists Kimberly Nicole and Amma Whatt, and music by the DJs of I Love Vinyl. The event includes food and craft vendors, and raffles.

Harlem Stage is one of the country's largest presenters and producers of performances by artists of color. Its 2012-2013 season continues in September and features five World and American Premieres commissioned through its WaterWorks Program as well as a full complement of other programs. The full season will be announced next month.


EVENT: The "Fats Waller Dance Party," a free community concert celebrating Harlem Stage's 30th Anniversary. Features Jason Moran and Meshell N'degeocello, with openers Kimberly Nicole, Amma Whatt, and DJ sets from I Love Vinyl.

WHEN: July 28, 2012, 5-9 PM, gates open at 4 PM

WHERE: Harlem Stage at Annunciation Park/Bruce Paltrow Field, 134th Street @ Amsterdam Avenue

TICKETS:Free, but on-site seating is limited and some restrictions apply; details available at www.harlemstage.org or by phone at 212-281-9240 x 19 or 20.

MTA:1 to 137th Street

A, B, C, D to 125th Street

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