Next Jazz Legacy Announces 2024 Cohort of Women and Nonbinary Awardees

The program was created by New Music USA and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice to address gender and racial inequities in jazz.

April 29, 2024
next jazz legacy 2024

Next Jazz Legacy's 2024 cohort of awardees

Image courtesy of New Music USA

Next Jazz Legacy is excited to announce the seven emerging women and nonbinary jazz musicians who make up its 2024 cohort of awardees. The trailblazing program, created by New Music USA and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, aims to tackle gender and racial inequities by offering intergenerational apprenticeship, mentorship, and professional development opportunities to individuals who have been historically underrepresented in jazz. The program receives major funding from the Mellon Foundation and support from Joe and Nancy Walker.

With gender and racial justice as guiding principles, this group of Next Jazz Legacy awardees was chosen through an open application call followed by a meticulous, months-long review process by a distinguished and diverse panel of jazz luminaries, chaired by Terri Lyne Carrington, founder and artistic director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and Next Jazz Legacy’s artistic director. Once the awardees were selected, Carrington and the Next Jazz Legacy team worked closely with each of the musicians to match them with a master bandleader for a year-long performance apprenticeship, as well as a creative mentor, both of whom are aligned with the awardees’ unique interests. 

“I’m very excited about Next Jazz Legacy moving into its third year. We have been working with some amazing women and nonbinary musicians, as well as seasoned veterans, toward a more inclusive jazz future,” said Carrington. “I have always felt that on-stage apprenticeship was highly beneficial in my own development and am so happy that we can assist these incredible emerging musicians with an apprenticeship in their artistic journey.” 

In addition to Carrington, the selection committee for the 2024 Next Jazz Legacy cohort including Berklee faculty members Kris DavisLinda May Han OhMatthew Stevens, Mimi Jones, and Walter Smith III, along with Brian Lynch, Camille Thurman, Caroline Davis, Elena Pinderhughes, Etienne Charles, Ingrid Jensen BM ’89, and Kendrick Scott BM ’03. 

“During the first two years of Next Jazz Legacy, we have seen how vital and transformational the program’s funding, mentorship, collaborative learning, and performance opportunities are to each of the talented awardees,” said Vanessa Reed, president and CEO of New Music USA. “I am honored to be working with Terri Lyne Carrington to sustain this pivotal undertaking in its third year, and I am grateful to the many bandleaders and mentors who are facilitating cross-generational learning through our program and shaping the future of jazz.”

Cofounded by New Music USA and the Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, Next Jazz Legacy has made a remarkable impact in its first two years by providing invaluable experiences that have furthered the artistic development of the two cohorts of awardees. Awardees have performed at some of the most prestigious jazz events across the country, including New York City’s Winter Jazzfest, the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, the DC Jazz Festival, and Los Angeles’s Angel City Jazz Festival. Next Jazz Legacy awardees have also had the chance to work and perform with some of the most acclaimed names in jazz including Makaya McCraven, esperanza spalding BM ’05, Tia Fuller, Nasheet Waits, Moor Mother, Brandee Younger, Patrice Rushen, Craig Taborn, Nicole Mitchell, Marcus Miller, Regina Carter, Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton, Helen Sung, Bobby McFerrin, the late Wayne Shorter, and two recent Grammy Award winners, Meshell Ndegeocello and Miguel Zenón BM ‘98. 

Building on this success, the 2024 Next Jazz Legacy cohort will take the stage for the first time together at the upcoming Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival in Washington, DC, May 10–11 at the Kennedy Center. 

By the end of this third year of the program, Next Jazz Legacy’s impact will have grown to encompass:

  • the direct support of 21 emerging artists; 

  • the engagement of 63 bandleaders and mentors; 

  • 252 creative and business mentorship sessions; 

  • 126 apprenticeship sessions; 

  • 20 cohort learning sessions; and 

  • 12 showcase performances.

Each Next Jazz Legacy artist benefits from a comprehensive package designed to have a deep and lasting career impact. This includes a $10,000 grant, a one-year performance apprenticeship, a two-way mentorship program pairing them with artistic and business professionals, peer-learning cohorts led by Carrington, an online learning course from Berklee, various promotional opportunities, live showcases with national presenters, and more. The success of this program relies on intergenerational collaboration, involving trailblazing jazz artists of all genders who believe in Next Jazz Legacy’s founding principle: that a more inclusive jazz community will benefit everyone and strengthen the artform.

Learn more about this year’s cohort members below. 

Amyra León: Voice

Apprenticeship with Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah ’04 (formerly known as Christian Scott); creative mentorship with Lisa Fischer

A musician, author, director, and Harlem native, Amyra León has made a mark in both music and literature, captivating audiences with her soul-stirring performances and thought-provoking lyrics. With a profound dedication to social justice, she delves into themes of identity and liberation, urging listeners to critically examine the world. She has toured extensively, gracing prestigious stages including Lincoln Center, the Apollo Cafe, and more. Currently, she serves as an artist in residence at the Louis Armstrong Museum, where she has spent the last year crafting new work inspired by Armstrong’s extensive archive. 

Christie Dashiell: Voice

Apprenticeship with Terri Lyne Carrington; creative mentorship with Stefon Harris 

Christie Dashiell, a versatile vocalist and composer from Washington, DC, seamlessly merges jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, and soul. Renowned for her rich tone and improvisational skill, she hails from a musical family and holds degrees from Howard University and the Manhattan School of Music. With solo albums and collaborations with artists like Sweet Honey in the Rock under her belt, she recently released her sophomore album, Journey in Black, which explores themes of freedom and legacy. Along with her performing career, Christie shares her expertise as a faculty member at Temple University, Howard University, and the University of the District of Columbia.

Ciara Moser: Electric Bass

Apprenticeship with Nate Smith; creative mentorship with Sheila E. 

Ciara Moser MM ’21, originally from Dublin but raised in Austria, currently calls Boston her home base. As a blind bassist of Austrian-Irish descent, she showcases her versatility across various musical styles and genres, seamlessly blending into band, orchestra, film, and ensemble projects, both in live performances and studio sessions. She earned her master’s in global jazz from Berklee College of Music under the guidance of esteemed mentors such as Carrington, John PatitucciDanilo Pérez, and Victor Wooten

Eliza Salem: Drums

Apprenticeship with Ambrose Akinmusire; creative mentorship with Cindy Blackman

Eliza Salem is a versatile drummer, educator, and composer based in Brooklyn, New York. Their philosophy, which focuses on empathy, honesty, and patience, has led to collaborations with respected artists and improvisers in New York’s vibrant music scene. Salem has performed at prestigious venues like Lincoln Center and Birdland Jazz Club, and festivals such as Newport Jazz Festival. They have toured nationally and internationally with artists like Caroline Davis and Marta Sánchez’s trio. 

Kanoa Mendenhall: Acoustic Bass

Apprenticeship with Kenny Barron; creative mentorship with Genevieve Artadi

Kanoa Mendenhall is a bassist and composer living in New York City. Born in Japan and raised in California, she grew up in a community of musicians. From a young age, she learned from and performed with San Francisco jazz luminaries such as Bruce Forman and Vince Lateano. Mendenhall moved to New York in 2015 to study at Columbia University and the Juilliard School. She has recorded and toured internationally with artists such as Joel Ross and Dayna Stephens, and has performed in groups led by Aaron Parks, Johnathan Blake, Micah Thomas, and more.

Nicole McCabe: Saxophone

Apprenticeship with Gerald Clayton; creative mentorship with Caroline Davis 

Nicole McCabe is a saxophonist, composer, and educator who works and lives in Los Angeles. She recently released Mosaic, her fourth album as a bandleader, on Ghost Note Records. Her electro-jazz duo Dolphin Hyperspace’s third album, What Is My Porpoise?, is forthcoming on Dox Records. A versatile performer and writer, McCabe has collaborated with Jeff Parker, Justin Brown, Louis Cole, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ari Hoenig, Dan Weiss, and Sasha Berliner. 

Yvonne Rogers: Piano

Apprenticeship with Sara Serpa; creative mentorship with Tomeka Reid 

Yvonne Rogers, a pianist, composer, and improviser based in Brooklyn, New York, was chosen for the internationally assembled Focusyear Basel residency in 2021, where she performed with jazz masters including Kris Davis, Sullivan Fortner, and Linda May Han Oh. Her performances span the globe, including renowned venues like the Jazz Gallery and festivals like the Rochester International Jazz Festival. Beyond her music, she shares her expertise as an educator at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, drawing inspiration from her surroundings and daily life for her creative pursuits.

To accompany the third cohort of seven awardees, the program has also revealed 17 semifinalists who were put forward to the final stage of the selection process by the Next Jazz Legacy panelists. They will receive a cohort gathering and promotion through Next Jazz Legacy channels. The semifinalists are Akenya Seymour, Ángela Varo Moreno MM ’23, Aubrey Situmorang BM ’21, Darynn Dean, DoYeon Kim MM ’22, Francesca Remigi MM ’22, Ingrid Schyborger, Janelle Finton, Jillian Grace, Lihi Haruvi-Means, Maya Keren, Minnie Jordan BM ’19, MM ’20, Naomi Nakanishi MM ’21, Sheila del Bosque Fuentes BM ’22, MM ’23, Tammy Huynh, Tonina Saputo BM ’17, and Zoe Obadia.

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