Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice Group Presents Signature Series Concert

The concert will feature music from the institute’s book, New Standards, as well as original compositions by students.

September 20, 2022

Berklee's 2022 Signature Series will kick off with a special concert from the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. Students from the institute, under the direction of assistant professor Edmar Colón, will perform songs from the recently released book New Standards: 101 Lead Sheets by Women Composers (Hal Leonard/Berklee Press) in addition to their own original compositions. The Berklee Jazz and Gender Justice Group concert will take place on Thursday, October 6, at 7:00 p.m. at the Red Room at Cafe 939. The group consists of Veronica Leahy on saxophone, Milena Casado on flugelhorn, Nika Ko on piano, Devon Gates on bass, and Connor Sturge on drums.

The mission of the institute is to recruit, teach, mentor, and advocate for musicians seeking to study jazz, with gender justice and racial justice as guiding principles. Founded in 2018 by multiple Grammy Award–winning artist and NEA Jazz Master Terri Lyne Carrington, who also serves as the artistic director, the institute seeks to engage itself and others in making an important and long-lasting cultural shift towards equity and inclusivity in jazz and other music communities. On September 15, the institute announced the publication of the New Standards book, which consists of compositions that supplement and offer alternatives to the jazz-standards canon that has served students, teachers, and professionals for decades. In conjunction with the publication of this historic book, Candid Records released the album new STANDARDS vol. 1 on September 16.

“Following the publication of the New Standards book, this concert will celebrate the past, present, and future of jazz music,” said Carrington. “Our students have studied the jazz canon, and we welcome the opportunity for them to perform alternatives to that canon with music from the book, as well as their own compositions. The Jazz and Gender Justice Group concert will be a great showcase of the institute’s abundance of student talent.”

The music that makes up New Standards spans nearly a century, from Lil Hardin Armstrong's work composed in 1922 to songs written by recent graduates of the institute in 2021. It features 101 compositions by a host of jazz titans, young visionaries, and unsung heroes: Mary Lou Williams, Alice Coltrane, esperanza spalding B.M. ’05, Geri Allen, Maria Schneider, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Cassandra Wilson, Dorothy Ashby, Nubya Garcia, Nicole Mitchell, and many others. New Standards also celebrates the music of global jazz artists from around the world, from Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana B.M. ’09 to Japanese American pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi ’59 and other international composers.

“It is an honor to work with these tremendously talented students to present such a special concert celebrating jazz, new music, and the institute’s recent musical offerings to the world,” said Colón. “The Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice is proud to begin this fall’s Signature Series with this fantastic show, which will feature original music by the members of the band as well as some selections from the institute’s first publication—a first of its kind.”

The Red Room at Cafe 939 is located at 939 Boylston Street, Boston. Admission is $10 in advance. Tickets are available online and at the Berklee box office. This is a seated event.

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