African American jazz musician playing the saxophone

The Gantt Center dropped some sweet news last week, announcing the launch of a live jazz series featuring young musicians from New York.

Jazz @ The Gantt will be a monthly series that runs from September 2022 through February 2023. Each month will feature two shows, starting Sept. 23 and 24.

Image: Harvey B. Gantt Center.

What’s so special?

A Gantt Center official said the series will be unique in two ways:

  • Nearly all of the New York musicians who travel here will be under age 30.
  • And each.performance will be a “multimedia experience” held in a Gantt Center space transformed to resemble a New York jazz club, with special lighting and cafe tables

“The music is going to be important, but because it will be at the Gantt Center, visual arts will be incorporated,” Bonita Buford, the center’s chief operating officer, told QCity Metro.

The inaugural performance will showcase the Anthony Wonsey Quintet, featuring trumpeter Wallace Roney Jr.

According to the Gantt Center website, Wonsey is a renowned jazz pianist, and Roney hails from a long line of jazz greats, including his father, Grammy-Award-winning  trumpeter Wallace Roney,

Buford said a performance in January will feature Endea Owens, a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist of 2019 and bassist in the house band for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

More jazz in the QCity

With the launch of its new series, The Gantt joins its neighbor, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, in hosting a monthly jazz show.

Jazz at The Bechtler is held the first Friday of each month and features the Ziad Jazz Quartet, a local band that plays tributes to some of the all-time jazz greats, led by Ziad Rabie an acclaimed saxophonist and the group’s artistic director.

Jazz Arts Charlotte and Middle C Jazz also offer ongoing jazz shows.

Buford said the Gantt Center’s series will be produced by Ocie Davis, who, along with his wife Lonnie Davis, co-founded Jazz Arts Charlotte. The series will be subtitled “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” a phrase coined by the iconic playwright Lorraine Hansberry that also speaks to the up-and-coming N.Y. artists The Gantt will showcase.

“These rising stars represent invaluable contributions Black people continue to make to the cultural fabric of America and worldwide,” the Gantt Center said in a statement.

The price tag

Tickets are $65 a person, and attendees must be age 21 or older. (Jazz at The Bechtler has a $20 ticket for nonmembers.)

Buford acknowledged The Gantt’s steeper cost but said the experience will be “well worth the ticket price.”

Gantt Center officials have not committed to hosting the series beyond the current season, she said.

Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.

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