From the Jim Crow era-South through the turbulent 1960s, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone were among the most influential and popular singers of their times.
Both within their music and outside of the clubs and concert halls, they wielded their exceptional talents to combat racial prejudice, sexism, and poverty. Whether powerfully and playfully claiming her autonomy and sexuality (Bessie Smith), forcing America to acknowledge the racism pervasive in the American South and beyond (Billie Holiday), or giving voice to the Civil Rights movement with stirring protest anthems (Nina Simone). These trailblazing singers spoke to and for the disenfranchised as women, African Americans, and artists. All three women defied social norms, embracing self-empowerment through their art.
Produced by Grammy Award-winning Eli Wolf (Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson), and with arrangements by pianist and musical director Carmen Staff (Dee Dee Bridgewater), BESSIE, BILLIE, & NINA – Pioneering Women in Jazz features three dynamic vocalists, each a rising star in her own right: Charenée Wade (Jazz at Lincoln Center), Tahira Clayton (co-leader, Women in Jazz Organization-WIJO), and Vanisha Gould. Presented in affiliation with WIJO and backed by an all-female band, Wade, Clayton, and Gould celebrate the enduring legacies of these iconic women and artists with performances of their classic songs, including Smith’s “Downhearted Blues,” Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” and Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam.”
Phone: (717) 871-7018
42 N Prince Street
Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17603