Charleston Jazz Orchestra will kick off season 14 in February 2022 with singer/saxophonist Camille Thurman, a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in New York City. Thurman will also lead master classes at the Charleston Jazz Academy working with the youth combos, said CJO executive director Tatjana Beylotte.
In March will be the classic big band performance, “The ‘Suite’ Sounds of Ellington,” which will present two of the legendary pianist’s famous works, The New Orleans and Far East Suites.
In May will be the Chick Corea tribute, a collaboration including local piano players Gerald Gregory, Abdiel Iriarte, Demetrius Doctor and Arshak Sirunyan, who will perform their own arrangements of Corea’s original songs.
In September is the Cuban Carnival with local percussionist Gino Castillo, who will collaborate with Cuba-based musicians for the performance.
Later in the season in October, trumpeter Sean Jones will also follow up his Miles Davis tribute show with a CJA learning program. And of course, CJO will go all out for its Holiday Swing performance in December. All season 14 performances will be available virtually.
The 16-piece orchestra led by maestro Robert Lewis just welcomed two new players, saxophonist Lauren Meccia and trombonist John Yeager.
Beylotte considers it a milestone to have two female musicians in the orchestra, now that Meccia is joining longtime member, trumpeter Cameron Handel. “Jazz in general is male dominated.” she said. “It’s common for jazz groups to have female vocalists, but it’s unusual to see female instrumentalists.”
Throughout the many challenges brought on by the pandemic, Charleston Jazz has enforced its mission to keep jazz music alive in the city, Beylotte said. “We try to do as much as we can to support our musicians in the community.”