Sugar Hill Mornings is a summer musical performance series presented by the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling in collaboration with the Jazz Foundation of America celebrating the longstanding history of musical genius inherent to Sugar Hill. The series has been devised to foster inter-generational exchange and reiterate themes present in the Museum’s exhibitions, amplifying the power of listening, memory, and the human voice as a tool for societal uplift.
This edition of Sugar Hill Mornings features neighborhood legend and a muse of exhibitions at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum, Marjorie Eliot who exemplifies “playing from the heart.” She is best known for welcoming listeners into her apartment every Sunday since 1992, in celebration of life. Marjorie’s piano performance at Sugar Hill will tell the story of jazz.
“Sweet” Lee Odom has been playing clarinet for years, along with other woodwind instruments, including flute and bass clarinet. A native of North Carolina, Lee ventured to New York City in 2011 where she quickly found her way into various musical communities. First, she studied the music industry then clarinet performance at Appalachian State University. The music by Sweet Lee and her accompanying bands has been sending lighting vibes throughout the boroughs of New York. With a fusion of Jazz, Hip-Hop, Classical, and free improvisation, “Sweet” Lee keeps the groove groovin’.
When Craig Harris exploded onto the jazz scene in 1976, he brought the entire history of the jazz trombone with him. From the growling gutbucket intensity of early New Orleans music through the refined, articulate improvisation of the modern era set forth by J.J. Johnson, into the confrontational expressionism of the ‘60s avant-garde, Craig handled the total vernacular the way a skilled orator utilizes the spoken word. He has performed with a veritable Who’s Who of progressive jazz’s most important figures and his own projects display both a unique sense of concept and a total command of the sweeping expanse of musical expression. It is those two qualities that have dominated Craig’s forty years of activity, bringing him far beyond the confines of the jazz world into the sphere of multimedia and performance art as composer, performer, conceptualist, music curator, and artistic director. Craig, who comes from a tradition of art as a cultural facilitation to help promote change, has employed his musical voice to comment on social injustice with projects including God’s Trombones, based on James Weldon Johnson’s book of sermons.
Featuring: Adam Klipple – piano, Calvin Jones – bass, Tony Lewis – drums, Jay Rodriguez – reeds, and Craig Harris – trombone
First set: 12:00 pm-12:45 pm (15 min break); Second set: 1:00 pm-1:45 pm
Jason Marshall is a highly sought after and established fixture on the global music landscape. A rare specimen even among the highly competitive New York City music scene, the Washington D.C. born saxophonist can be seen playing soul music with Aretha Franklin, Latin jazz with Arturo O’Farrill, pop with Desi Di Lauro, avant garde jazz with the Charlie Mingus Big Band, and rock music with the Young Presidents. In addition, the graduate of the New School and Aaron Copeland School of Music can also be found performing weekly with the iconic NYC hip hop band, Nickle & Dime Ops, and with his own, The Jason Marshall Organ Trio in Harlem. Also a highly sought after composer and arranger, Mr. Marshall wrote and arranged the modern day classic “Miss Garvey, Miss Garvey!!” which was nominated for a Grammy in 2009. He has also written and arranged music for the Taipei Jazz Orchestra and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. His work for large ensemble can be heard most regularly performed by his critically acclaimed orchestra, the Jason Marshall Big Band. The jazz orchestra will release its debut album Order of Magnitude this fall.
Virtuosic pianist and Chicagoan native, Michael King began playing drums in his local church band at the early age of 4. This fortuitously melodic schooling nurtured an undeniable affinity to the piano and organ, the very seat that he began to occupy, by ear, at age 14. Mr. King is an alumni of Lincoln Park High School and the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory. He was selected to attend the Thelonious Monk Institute and The Ravinia Jazz Scholars program on merit scholarships. Michael has performed with Bobby Watson, Kevin Eubanks, Dave Liebeman, Gary Bartz, Billy Hart, Joel Frahm, Rufus Reid, & Antonio Hart, among others. Currently you can catch Mr. King touring internationally with incredible talents such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Robin Eubanks, Marquis Hill, Theo Croker, Soul Understated, Melissa Aldana, & Marcus Printup.
T.K. Blue began his life in music by playing trumpet from ages 8 to 10, then switching to drums for a year. After a hiatus, at age 17 he dedicated himself to music by learning flute. While attending New York University Blue threw himself headlong into music, concentrating on the saxophone. After performing and traveling extensively with Abdullah Ibrahim, T.K. moved to Paris where he recorded Egyptian Oasis, his first record as a leader, which sparked State Department tours to some 20 countries in Africa. Back in the USA since 1990, T.K. has worked constantly, in a wide range of styles and situations. Augmenting his long-term relationships as Musical Director with pianist Randy Weston and with the Spirit of Life Ensemble, for several years he was an adjunct professor at Suffolk Community College, and Montclair State University, as well as a full-time professor and director of jazz studies at Long Island University.
Praised by the New York Times as “a singer with a strong and luscious tone and an amiably regal presence on stage”, Alicia Olatuja has been astounding audiences with her exquisite vocals,artistic versatility and captivating demeanor. She first came into the national spotlight in 2013, whilst performing as the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration. Shortly thereafter, she assembled her own jazz based ensemble and recorded her first solo album, Timeless (2014). Over the past year, Alicia’s own band has been steadily in demand, and they have performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Saratoga Jazz Festival, Jazz Standard, Vermont Jazz Center, Rockport Jazz Festival, Markham Jazz Festival, Monty Alexander Jazz Fest, and the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, to name a few. Alicia was a featured vocalist on Gregory Porter’s 2017 Grammy-winning “Take Me To The Alley”.
Now focusing on the rich contributions of a diverse selection of female composers, Alicia is set to release her sophomore album, Intuition: From the Minds of Women in 2019 on the Resilience Music Alliance label. The album celebrates the achievements of a long list of esteemed female composers, while offering a musical perspective unique to Olatuja. She is joined by Kamau Kenyatta and Ulysses Owens Jr. as producers and the material includes songs of Brenda Russell, Sade, Tracy Chapman, Kate Bush, Angela Bofill and Linda Creed.