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Songs for Dr. King: Nina Simone & Mahalia Jackson

  • New York Botanical Gardens 2900 Southern Boulevard Bronx, NY, 10458 United States (map)

Top jazz vocalist of her generation Brianna Thomas, joined by trombone legend Wycliffe Gordon, honors the life and legacy of Dr. King through the music of Mahalia Jackson and Nina Simone

“The best young straight-ahead jazz singer of her generation” (The Wall Street Journal) Brianna Thomas delivers a powerful tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through the iconic works of two musical legends. Nina Simone (“The High Priestess of Soul”) and Mahalia Jackson (“The Queen of Gospel”) individually crafted worlds of sound in jazz, pop, soul, gospel, and spirituals that were inextricably linked to the life, philosophy, and leadership of Dr. King.

Thomas laces together these uplifting narratives in dazzling new arrangements featuring guest trombone legend Wycliffe Gordon and an ensemble of powerhouse soloists, including trumpeter Bruce Harris, pianist James Hurt (piano), and guitarist Marvin Sewell, as well as alto saxophonist Patrick Bartley, Jr., keyboardist Conun Pappas, percussionist Fernando Saci, bassist Ryan Berg, and drummer Darrian Douglas. Musical selections range from the passionate and fearless “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” and “Feeling Good”—both performed by Simone—to the soulful favorite “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” which Jackson performed at several civil rights rallies.

Brianna Thomas, vocals
Special Guest : Wycliffe Gordon, trombone
Patrick Bartley Jr., alto saxophone
Bruce Harris, trumpet
Marvin Sewell, guitar
Conun Pappas, keyboards
Fernando Saci, percussion
James Hurt, piano
Ryan Berg, bass
Darrian Douglas, drums 

Evening Schedule

5 p.m. | Doors Open
7–8:30 p.m. | Concert
8:30–10:30 p.m. | Exhibition Viewing

NYBG Shop open until 9 p.m.

Ticket Information

Non-Member $48 / Member $43
Summer Concert Series pass including all three concerts: Non-Member $129 / Member $114

Advance purchase recommended. Events are rain or shine.

Generous support for the NYBG Summer Concert Series: An American Tribute provided by the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund