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BRIC Announces Free Outdoor Concert, Headlined by Soul Singer Bettye LaVette, to Kick Off BRIC JazzFest

Sep 3, 2019 • 2:45 PM

BRIC ANNOUNCES FREE OUTDOOR CONCERT, HEADLINED BY SOUL SINGER BETTYE LAVETTE AND CO-PRESENTED BY DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN PARTNERSHIP, TO KICK OFF FIFTH ANNUAL BRIC JAZZFEST, OCTOBER 19-26

Acclaimed Festival Continues BRIC’s 41st Season, Bringing Together Globe-Trotting Jazz Legends and Groundbreaking Emerging Jazz Artists From Brooklyn and Beyond

2019 BRIC JazzFest Week-long Programming Includes:

  • Three-Night Marathon, with 21 Groups Performing Overlapping Sets Throughout BRIC House, featuring Ravi Coltrane; Georgia Anne Muldrow; Joe Russo, Ben Perowsky, Josh Kaufman & Stuart Bogie: BOYFRIENDS; Makaya McCraven; Kneebody; and More

  • A Jazz Film Series Highlighting the Legends of the Jazz World, Featuring Screenings of Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes and the Recently Released Aretha Franklin Live Performance Amazing Grace

  • Brooklyn Poetry Slam, Hosted by Poet, Activist, and Educator Mahogany L. Browne and with Music by DJ Jive Poetic

BRIC is pleased to announce a free concert by iconic R&B songstress Bettye LaVette on Saturday, October 19 at 3PM, co-presented by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) at The Plaza at 300 Ashland, to kick off the 2019 BRIC JazzFest. The announcement completes the programming for the fifth edition of the celebrated Brooklyn jazz festival, which continues the 41st season for the pioneering NYC arts-and-media organization and leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn. The Festival takes place over the course of a week (October 19-26) and continues to be what the New Yorker calls a “proudly eclectic gathering [that] remains unbounded by convention.” This year’s edition will feature concerts, film, poetry, and conversation, culminating in a three-day music marathon, with performances taking place simultaneously in the various spaces comprising BRIC House (647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn). 

Famed R&B songstress Bettye LaVette, who began her career in 1962 at the age of 16, is one of only a few artists who recorded and performed during the birth of soul music and who is still creating vital recordings today. Her first single “My Man – He’s a Loving Man,” was released on Atlantic Records, and over the next 50+ years, LaVette has performed around the world and recorded for numerous labels, and has been honored with several prestigious awards, including the W.C. Handy Award for Comeback Blues Album of the Year, Pioneer Award by The Rhythm & Blues Foundation, and two Blues Music Awards for Best Contemporary Female Blues Singer and Best Soul Blues Female Artist.

Nominated for five GRAMMY Awards, including for 2015’s Worthy and 2018’s Things Have Changed, an album of all Bob Dylan songs (Verve Records), LaVette brings her powerful R&B magic to kick off BRIC JazzFest 2019 with an epic free concert at the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District’s fabulous outdoor public space, The Plaza at 300 Ashland.

The three-night jazz marathon (October 24-26) is headlined by critically acclaimed GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist, bandleader, and composer Ravi Coltrane and his quartet; multi-instrumentalist and producer Georgia Anne Muldrow; and the new supergroup Boyfriends, led by drummer Joe Russo and featuring multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman, drummer/percussionist Ben Perowsky, and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Bogie. 

The marathon will also feature performances by percussionist Makaya McCraven; eclectic band Kneebody; drummer/composer Antonio Sanchez; multi-instrumentalist Louis Cole (Knower); saxophonist Tia Fuller; breakout vibraphonist Joel Ross’ Good Vibes; drummer/vibraphonist Sasha Berliner Azalea; composer and planetary scientist Salami Rose Joe Louis; drummer/producer Kassa Overall; saxophonist María Grand; vocalist/songwriter Claudia Acuña; jazz/funk/hip-hop ensemble QNA; saxophonist Roxy Coss Quintet; Cousin From Another Planet, a new project from award-winning record producer, composer/songwriter and pianist Aaron Whitby; pianist Dayramir Gonzalez; composer, percussionist and vocalist Tosin Aribisala Trio; pianist Amina Claudine Myers and her group Generations 4; and pianist, composer, bandleader and educator Myra Melford and her quintet Snowy Egret. Performances take place in the intimate jazz club-like Artist Studio, the expansive Stoop overlooking the Gallery, and the state-of-the-art Ballroom—all within BRIC House.

BRIC JazzFest has, in its five years, shown how jazz’s legacy, present, and future, can be approached through a variety of means. This year, film, poetry, and discourse also add to the Festival’s explosive musical lineup. Two films, projected onto a giant screen in the BRIC House Ballroom, will shed light on some of the most influential artists and historical moments in jazz. Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes is an evocative journey behind the scenes of the legendary label Blue Note Records. The New York Times hailed the film as “A smart, exhilarating look at an influential label … this documentary makes a point right off that Blue Note is still very much a thing of the present … This tidy, thoughtful film gets at jazz’s joy and pain.” The recently released Amazing Grace documents two performances by Aretha Franklin in January of 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, backed by the Southern California Community Choir. The audio recording of those performances became Franklin’s biggest selling album. The Washington Post calls the film “nothing short of a miracle.” 

BRIC’s Brooklyn Poetry Slam—“a packed night of stellar local poets” (TimeOut)—returns to JazzFest, hosted by the poet, activist, and educator Mahogany L. Browne, with music by DJ Jive Poetic.

With BRIC JazzFest, BRIC brings its decades of hosting the beloved summer-long BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival into its state-of-the-art home in Fort Greene, providing an experience that’s true to its mission of making cultural programming genuinely accessible. Billboard writes, “[BRIC JazzFest] prove[s] an excellent argument for standing-room jazz functions in general: lower financial barrier to entry, higher population of listeners, and a more engaged audience.”

Free events require RSVP at BRICartsmedia.org. Single-day tickets for the BRIC JazzFest Marathon are $30 advance/$35 door (per day), and there is a limited number of 3-day passes available for $75 (available now). Tickets can be purchased by visiting BRICartsmedia.org. The Box Office at BRIC House is open on performance days only, one hour prior to the event. BRIC House is located at 647 Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn and is open weekdays and Saturdays at 8am and Sundays at 10am.

The Henson | Soule Team at Compass joins BRIC JazzFest as Presenting Sponsor.

BRIC JazzFest is also generously supported by The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and TD Bank. 

WBGO returns as media partner.


Schedule, Tickets, and Event Details

OUTDOOR KICKOFF CONCERT
Bettye LaVette

Co-presented by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
Sat, Oct 19 | 3:00pm
FREE w/ RSVP
The Plaza at 300 Ashland

Five time Grammy Award-nominee Bettye LaVette is no mere singer. She is not a songwriter, nor is she a "cover" artist. She is an interpreter of the highest order. Bettye is one of very few of her contemporaries who were recording during the birth of soul music in the ‘60s and is still creating vital recordings today. To quote the late, great George Jones: "Bettye is truly a 'singer's singer.'"

POETRY
Brooklyn Poetry Slam

Mon, Oct 21 | 7:00pm
FREE w/ RSVP
BRIC House Ballroom

The Brooklyn Poetry Slam expands BRIC JazzFest to another dimension, with Brooklyn’s best slam poets for a gathering of words, wisdom and music to highlight the crisscrossing influences and beats of jazz, poetry, and hip hop. Hosted by poet, activist, and educator Mahogany L. Browne and with music by DJ Jive Poetic, this edition will feature a special performance of improvised music and poetry with bassist Max Michael Jacob and poet Cyrus Aaron, followed by the Slam and an Open Mic. 

FILM
BRIC JazzFest features two films that shed light on some of the most influential artists and historical moments in jazz.

Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes (2018) | Directed by Sophie Huber | 90mins
Tues, Oct 22 | 7:30pm
BRIC House Ballroom
FREE w/ RSVP 

Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes is an evocative journey behind the scenes of the legendary label Blue Note Records. Through the lens of sessions and conversations with current Blue Note artists, many of whom have performed at BRIC JazzFest and the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, the film goes back in time to reveal how Blue Note gave voice to some of the finest jazz artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Using rare archival recordings and images, the film chronicles the founders’ mission, landmark recordings, and their vital connections with today’s artists and music.

“A smart, exhilarating look at an influential label … this documentary makes a point right off that Blue Note is still very much a thing of the present … This tidy, thoughtful film gets at jazz’s joy and pain.” 

(Glenn Kenny, The New York Times Critics’ Pick)

Amazing Grace (2018) | Directed by Allen Elliott & Sydney Pollack | 90mins
Weds, Oct 23 | 7:30pm
BRIC House Ballroom
FREE w/ RSVP

Over two days in January of 1972, Aretha Franklin sang at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, backed by the Southern California Community Choir. A film crew was there to record, and the audio became Franklin’s biggest selling album. The film’s release has taken decades, and it is worth the wait. The film is “nothing short of a miracle.” (The Washington Post)

CONCERTS
BRIC JazzFest Marathon

$30 Adv / $35 Day-of-show (Per Day)
Limited-quantity 3-day passes $75 Adv / $80 Day-of-show
General Admission: Standing (Limited Seating is First Come, First Served) 

BRIC JazzFest culminates in a three-night, three-stage live music marathon with overlapping sets by global legends, groundbreaking artists, and exciting newcomers to jazz. Attendees can move freely among performances and catch as many artists as they like each night, as performances take place in the intimate jazz club-like Artist Studio, the expansive Stoop overlooking the Gallery, and the state-of-the-art Ballroom—all within BRIC House.

BRIC JazzFest Marathon Night 1
Thurs, Oct 24 | 7:30pm

Featuring Ravi Coltrane, Dayramir Gonzalez, Mayaka McCraven, Cousin from Another Planet (a new project from Aaron Whitby), Sasha Berliner Azalea, Roxy Coss Quintet, and Salami Rose Joe Louis.

BRIC JazzFest Marathon Night 2
Fri, Oct 25 | 7:30pm

Featuring Georgia Anne Muldrow, Amina Claudine Myers: Generations 4, Kneebody, Joel Ross’ Good Vibes, María Grand, Tosin Aribisala Trio, and QNA.

BRIC JazzFest Marathon Night 3
Sat, Oct 26 | 7:30pm

Featuring Joe Russo, Ben Perowsky, Josh Kaufman & Stuart Bogie: BOYFRIENDS; Kassa Overall; Louis Cole; Antonio Sanchez; Myra Melford’s Snowy Egret; Claudia Acuña; and Tia Fuller.


About BRIC 

BRIC is the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, and one of the largest in New York City. The organization presents and incubates work by artists and media-makers that reflects the diversity of New York. BRIC programs reach hundreds of thousands of people each year.

BRIC’s main venue, BRIC House, offers a public media center, a major contemporary art exhibition space, two performance spaces, a glass-walled TV studio and artist work spaces.

Some of BRIC’s most acclaimed programs include the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park; groundbreaking media initiatives, including BRIC TV, BRIC Radio, and Brooklyn Free Speech; and renowned contemporary art exhibitions. BRIC also offers education and community-building programs at BRIC House and throughout Brooklyn.

In addition to making cultural programming genuinely accessible, BRIC is dedicated to providing substantial support to artists and media makers in their efforts to develop work and reach new audiences. BRIC is unusual in both presenting exceptional cultural experiences and nurturing individual expression. This dual commitment enables BRIC to most effectively reflect New York City’s innate cultural richness and diversity. Learn more at BRICartsmedia.org.

About Compass

Compass is a real estate technology company with a powerful end-to-end platform that supports the entire buying and selling workflow. We deliver an incomparable experience to both agents and their clients all in service of the Compass mission: to help everyone find their place in the world. Founded in 2012 by Ori Allon and Robert Reffkin, Compass operates in cities across the United States including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, Miami, Aspen, Orange County, Westchester, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Marin, Greenwich, Naples, and The Hamptons. Learn more and find your place at hensonsouleteam@compass.com.

About Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is a not-for-profit local development corporation that serves as the primary champion for Downtown Brooklyn as a world-class business, cultural, educational, residential, and retail destination. Working together with the three Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) that it manages – the MetroTech BID, Fulton Mall Improvement Association, and Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn BID - the Partnership’s diverse activities include attracting new businesses and improving the environment for existing companies, facilitating the construction of public spaces and streetscapes that promote an active and cohesive community, supporting and promoting Downtown Brooklyn’s cultural assets, and encouraging a sense of place and an engaged civic community. For more information, visit www.downtownbrooklyn.com

About the Plaza at 300 Ashland

At the corner of Flatbush and Lafayette, The Plaza at 300 Ashland is Downtown Brooklyn’s newest public space in the heart of the Brooklyn Cultural District. Managed, programmed and maintained by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the plaza hosts events as part of the Downtown Brooklyn Presents series, a calendar of programming including film screenings, concerts, theater performances, dance & fitness classes, readings, community gatherings, and more. These events are all free and open to the public, with the goal of serving the community, the Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood, and NYC’s cultural community at large. Additional support for programming at The Plaza at 300 Ashland is provided by Two Trees Management Co. and Whole Foods Market.


Press contact: Ron Gaskill or Matt Gross at Blake Zidell & Associates: 

718.643.9052, ron@blakezidell.com or matt@blakezidell.com.