For 16 years now, the “Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival” has showcased the constantly mounting wealth of female talent jazz has to offer. Hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater, this year’s festival includes three nights of concerts in both the Terrace Theater and Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. Here’s a brief rundown of who’s performing and when:
Thursday at 7 p.m., Terrace Theater
The festival opens with Japanese pianist Chihiro Yamanake, a graduate of the Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program, whose performance coincides with the release of her newest album, “Reminiscence.” Yamanake is followed by Canadian sax player Jane Bunnett, Cuban pianist Hilario Duran and Cuban percussionist Candido. To conclude the evening, veteran vocalist Carmen Lundy sings a set with her quartet, including tracks from “Changes,” her new CD.
Friday at 7 p.m., Terrace Theater
Australian composer and bassist Linda Oh kicks things off with her quartet. Then, New York-based percussionist Allison Miller — known for her work in both jazz and pop music — plays with her BOOM TIC BOOM project. Finally, singer Carla Cook brings a combination of jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel and pop music to the festival.
Saturday at 7 p.m., Terrace Theater
The final evening includes violinist Diane Monroe, a classically trained musician who is also adept at playing jazz. Then, Terri Lyne Carrington and members from her Grammy-winning, all-female album “The Mosaic Project” play selections from the album and other repertoire. Carrington’s band for the evening will comprise Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, Tia Fuller on saxophone, Helen Sung on piano and Mimi Jones on bass. The show also promises performances from three surprise guest vocalists.
Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m., Millennium Stage
The festival also takes over Millennium Stage, with two free concerts by up-and-coming, locally-grown female jazz talents. Friday night features Amy K. Bormet’s Striking Quartet, a group fronted by local pianist, vocalist and composer Bormet. Saturday night, the Christie Dashiell Quartet takes the stage. Dashiell, a Howard University grad now studying at the Manhattan School of Music, was recently on the third season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” along with the members of Howard’s vocal ensemble, Afro Blue.
— Jess Righthand