Jazz at Lincoln Center Announces 2021 Gala Concert: Innovation + Soul

Featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, host Dee Dee Bridgewater, and special appearances by President Bill Clinton, Pedrito Martinez, Lil Buck, Veronica Swift, Michael Rodriguez, Sean Mason.

New York, NY (March 16, 2021) Jazz at Lincoln Center will celebrate the organization’s 2021 gala, Innovation + Soul, with a virtual concert that will shine the spotlight on the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the group’s innovation and soul, and its brilliant composers and arrangers.

The gala event will take place online on Thursday, April 15, at 7:30p.m. ET and will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, the heartbeat of the organization, in a new concert pre-recorded at Rose Theater in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York, New York.

Innovation + Soul performance-only passes are $30.00. Following the premiere on April 15, ticket holders will have on-demand access to the performance portion of the event through April 25. For virtual gala tickets and packages, and information on ways to contribute to Jazz at Lincoln Center in a meaningful way, please visit

Hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater, the Innovation + Soul gala will honor Jazz at Lincoln Center Board Member Charles Phillips and his wife Karen with the Ed Bradley Award for Leadership in Jazz. Pianist Jon Batiste will be honored with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Award for Artistic Excellence.

The Innovation + Soul gala will feature appearances by President Bill Clinton, conguero and vocalist Pedrito Martinez, jook dancer Lil Buck, vocalist Veronica Swift, trumpeter Michael Rodriguez, and pianist Sean Mason throughout the evening.

On this special gala concert, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will perform some of the best compositions from the band’s vast, innovative body of original work over the past decade. Selections including “Crazy,” composed by Willie Nelson, and arranged by JLCO trombonist Chris Crenshaw; “2/3’s Adventure,” composed and arranged by JLCO bassist Carlos Henriquez; “Bougie Rag,” composed by Sean Mason and arranged by JLCO saxophonist Victor Goines; and “Yes, Sir! That’s My Baby,” composed Lou Donaldson and Gus Kahn and arranged by JLCO saxophonist Sherman Irby demonstrate the orchestra composers’ and arrangers’ thematic ambitions, distinctive musical personalities, and unprecedented range.

Compositions and arrangements by members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis are some of the finest and most stylistically diverse big band music in history. Such variety and uniformly high quality is a rare achievement for any band, but no other group has ever had 11 composers and arrangers of this level in its ranks.

Like all public-facing arts, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s ecosystem has sustained devastating losses during the pandemic, but we remain dedicated to our mission of supporting the global jazz community. The hundreds of artists who perform in Rose Theater, The Appel Room, and Dizzy’s Club and our staff humbly thank you for your generosity during this trying time for us all.

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