Celebrating the Music of Lena, Billie and Sarah

A one-time-only performance by music greats Cyrille Aimée, Raul Midón, Valerie Simpson, Alice Smith, Bernie Williams and other artists, performing songs made famous by jazz divas Lena Horne, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. Hosted by six-time GRAMMY winner and bassist Christian McBride and his Big Band!

Celebrating the Music of Lena, Billie and Sarah is an all-star gathering of some of the country’s biggest names in jazz, appearing under the direction of the multi-GRAMMY winner Christian McBride, NJPAC’s Jazz Advisor. From “Stormy Weather” and “Strange Fruit” to “Summertime” and “Misty,” expect exciting and original renditions of numbers that will be forever associated with the voices of three legends known simply as Lena, Billie and Sarah.

A past winner of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competitionat NJPAC, Cyrille Aimée was a finalist in the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition. Her talents recently caught the attention of Stephen Sondheim, who cast her in a special Encores!presentation at City Center.

GRAMMY-nominated singer, songwriter and guitarist Raul Midón “plays with such freedom and joy that his hands smile,” writes the Huffington Post. His 2016 rendering of John Coltrane’s classic “Giant Steps” – which sees him fly through all 12 keys – has earned more than 1.2 million views via Facebook.

Singer Valerie Simpson is half of the songwriting/performing/producing entity formerly known as Ashford and Simpson. Their award-winning collaborations began four decades ago and she, along with her late husband Nick Ashford, have penned classic hits such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need to Get By,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and “Your Precious Love.” She fulfilled her dream of performing on Broadway recently by stepping into the role of Mama Morton in Chicago.

Alice Smith (“Fool for You,” “I Put a Spell on You”) is a passionate singer-songwriter who has an unshakable sense of self and the attitude to match. She was raised on a steady diet of gospel, pop, soul and go-go. Her sophomore album, She, is an intoxicating mixture of rock, pop and R&B.

Retired New York Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams, a four-time World Series Champion and five-time All Star, never gave up his passion for the guitar. His critically acclaimed debut album, 2003’s The Journey Within, featured fusions of jazz, rock and the tropical rhythms of his Puerto Rican heritage. He is a Latin GRAMMY nominee.