Since 2001, the Jazz Foundation of America—a nonprofit with a mission of “saving jazz and blues… one musician at a time” and that offers financial support to musicians facing crisis related to natural disasters, health, or housing—has hosted its “A Great Night In Harlem” annual gala. On Friday, April 20th, the event will return to New York City’s Apollo Theater for its 16th annual celebration. For the historic evening, the organization will honor singer Roberta Flack, the Heath Brothers, and blues legend Otis Rush.
Roberta Flack, the Grammy Award-winning singer behind hits like “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly With His Song”, will receive the Clark and Gwen Terry Courage Award. The Heath Brothers, the iconic jazz act featuring Jimmy, Percy, and Albert “Tootie” Heath, will be awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award, as will the soulful blues artist, Otis Rush.
To further honor the artists, the Jazz Foundation of America has curated a standout lineup of musical performers and guest speakers to pay tribute to these important jazz and blues musicians. This year, the event has tapped performers like Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Jimmie Vaughan, Nona Hendryx, Isaiah Sharkey, Davell Crawford, Jon Faddis, Eddie Palmieri, Rufus Reid, Matthew Whitaker, and Harold Mabern to celebrate the iconic artists. Furthermore, movie and television stars like Danny Glover, Chevy Chase, and Bruce Willis—the latter two are repeat offenders who have appeared at the event in past years—will be on hand to celebrate the accomplishments of the honored artists.
The Jazz Foundation of America has a long history of offering tributes to seminal members of the music community. It has previously honored legendary musicians such as Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Maurice White, Clark Terry, and many others keystone musical artists. To celebrate its award recipients, the “Great Night In Harlem” gala has previously hosted the likes of John Mayer, Keith Richards, Chaka Khan, Bono, Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, and Dr. John to perform.
As noted by Steve Jordan, the show’s musical director and a board member of Jazz Foundation of America, “‘A Great Night In Harlem’ is one of my favorite events of the year. There’s nothing like playing music at the world famous Apollo Theatre. Every Gala is loaded with legends, and this year is no exception.”
For more information about the event or to purchase tickets to this undoubtedly special night, head over to the Jazz Foundation of America’s website here. You can also find more information and event updates on the gala’s Facebook event page here.