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Flushing Town Hall to celebrate 15th anniversary of NEA Jazz Masters concerts in November

Five distinguished NEA Jazz Masters—Jimmy Owens, Kenny Barron, Sheila Jordan, Billy Hart, and Donald Harrison—will be joined by American bassist Kenny Davis. (Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall)

Flushing Town Hall’s annual NEA Jazz Masters concert is returning live on Friday, Nov. 12, to play music from two of the greatest pianists in the history of Jazz: Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver. 

The concert celebrates the 15th anniversary of NEA Jazz Masters, a title bestowed on the world’s greatest jazz musicians. 

Five distinguished NEA Jazz Masters—Jimmy Owens, Kenny Barron, Sheila Jordan, Billy Hart, and Donald Harrison—will be joined by American bassist Kenny Davis and a special, surprise guest artist to perform live, all together on one stage for the first time.

“We are elated to present this historic concert with such an incredible lineup of America’s most honored jazz musicians. It is sure to be a one-of-a-kind night to remember,” says Ellen Kodadek, executive and artistic director at Flushing Town Hall.

The very first NEA Jazz Masters concert at Flushing Town Hall took place on Nov. 17, 2006 and featured three NEA Jazz Masters: Jimmy Heath (saxophone), Clark Terry (trumpet), and Dr. Billy Taylor (piano)— as well as the talented jazz veterans Earl May, Benny Powell, and Albert “Tootie” Heath, who was later awarded the NEA Jazz Masters title in 2021. 

Sadly, all have since passed on, except for Heath. 

Flushing Town Hall’s most recent gathering of NEA Jazz Masters took place in November 2019 for a sold-out house, before the pandemic arrived, shuttering performing arts venues for over a year. The show included performances from Candido Camero (congas), Paquito D’Rivera (saxophone, clarinet), Barry Harris (piano), Jimmy Owens (trumpet), Jimmy Cobb (drums), and Reggie Workman (bass).

This year, Owens has curated the program and an outstanding lineup for the evening together with Flushing Town Hall’s Jazz Producer in Residence, Clyde Bullard. 

“The late NEA Jazz Master Phil Schaap often talked about “spreading the gospel of jazz”—and that’s exactly what Jimmy Owens and Flushing Town Hall are doing with this upcoming concert! We are keeping the gospel of jazz alive,” Bullard said. 

Owens has over 45 years of experience as a jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, lecturer, and music education consultant. His experience covers a wide range of international musical achievement, which includes extensive work as a studio musician, soloist, bandleader, and composer of orchestral compositions, movie scores, and ballets. 

Owens is one of the few trumpeters of his generation who played as a sideman with such extraordinary jazz leaders as Lionel Hampton, Hank Crawford, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Duke Ellington, Billy Taylor, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band, among others.

“I feel honored to be working with these incredibly talented and passionate NEA Jazz Masters to create unforgettable musical moments in honor of Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver,” Owens said. “I am delighted to finally return to Flushing Town Hall’s welcoming stage and to deliver that feel-good jazz that will make audiences want to dance in their seats.”

The concert will feature iconic jazz tunes such as “Round Midnight,” “Straight No Chaser,” “In Walked Bud,” “Blue Monk” from the Monk catalogue and “Song For My Father,” “Soulville,” and “The Preacher” from the Horace Silver Catalog and much more.

In-person tickets are $45/$35 for members and $20 for students. Those unable to attend in person can still join the livestream and tune in virtually. Virtual tickets are $15/$10 for members. 

For tickets and more information, visit www.FlushingTownHall.org or call (718) 463-7700 x222.

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