Sankofa Jazz Fest returns to African Heritage Cultural Arts Center
The annual Sankofa Jazz Fest, a multigenerational, family-oriented affair, will be presented Saturday, April 6, at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center in Liberty City. Showcasing highly accomplished musicians, all with local roots, this fifth edition will be headlined by charismatic, internationally touring vocalist Nicole Henry, a University of Miami grad who has received awards in both “traditional” and “new jazz” categories. Her bookings span Russia, Japan, Italy, Jamaica and the French Riviera, along with the best rooms in the United States.
Expect seniors in the audience to mouth familiar lyrics while accompanying veteran singer Carole Ann Taylor, whose career includes performances with Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington. Meanwhile, the younger contingent will likely bounce to the R&B/soul of CriStyle Renae. As a child, Renae was coaxed by older siblings to mimic the popular songs of the day. Among her influences: the Isley Brothers, Anita Baker, Donny Hathaway, Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston.
Also featured is the Miami-based Zach Bartholomew Quartet (piano, bass, drums and sax). This young ensemble balances innovative originals with fresh takes on the jazz canon. They’ve played jazz festivals around the country and toured Europe.
Since its founding in 1975, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center has consistently supported black diaspora artistic expression for all ages. Multidisciplinary classes, mentoring, exhibitions and performance programming have launched careers for scores of alumni, including “Moonlight” writer Tarell Alvin McCraney and Alvin Ailey Dance Theater artistic director Robert Battle. Marshall Davis Sr. has led the center since 1983 and initiated many of its programs.
On Saturday, barbecue and other good-time fare will be for sale. Blankets and folding chairs are welcome. Last year’s high-caliber performances kept the crowd in a smooth groove until closing time. Expect no less this year.
Sankofa Jazz Fest will take place 2-7 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 NW 22nd Ave., in Miami. General admission is free; reserved seats cost $10. Call 305-638-6771 or go to Eventbrite.com.
Photo of Nicole Henry courtesy Maurizio Martinoli.
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