Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jazz at Lincoln Center's Swing University announces winter classes

I don't often wish I lived in NYC--okay, from time to time I do, along with wishing I had buckets of money--but I just opened an email from Jazz at Lincoln Center that made me long to be there.

The email describes JALC's winter schedule of adult education classes for jazz lovers and the curious. I love taking classes about jazz and they're in short supply in Minneapolis/St. Paul. When trumpeter Kelly Rossum was still at MacPhail (before leaving for, where else, NYC), he taught a series of classes on jazz history and appreciation and offered jazz "book clubs"--he assigned books to read, we read them and talked about them and listened to music.

Some of the people who came to Kelly's classes had seen a lot of live jazz performances and knew a little something about the music; others knew almost nothing but wanted to learn. Kelly made us all feel welcome and worthy.

Here's what JALC's Swing U is offering. I would totally sign up for Vincent Gardner and probably Lewis Nash, and Phil Schaap is a walking, talking, radio-announcing encyclopedia of jazz knowledge and history so he would be tempting, too.

MARY LOU WILLIAMS with Father Peter O'Brien
Monday Nights: 1/11; 1/25; 2/1; 2/8
Jazz at Lincoln Center continues to celebrate the centennial of Mary Lou Williams, one of the primary pianists, arrangers, and composers in jazz history. As an innovator, she marked the music of Kansas City, The Swing Era, long form composition, and sacred music in jazz while developing the primary concept still used in jazz piano today. In mid-career, Mary Lou Williams converted to Catholicism, and left the performance field to do good works. She was coaxed back into performing by Dizzy Gillespie and received a spiritual guide, Father Peter O'Brien - the very man teaching the course - who eventually became her manager.

DRUMS AND THE RHYTHM SECTION with drummer Lewis Nash
Monday Nights: 2/22; 3/1; 3/8, 3/15
Drumming giant Lewis Nash will guide you to understand the workings of the rhythm section and the musical blending that distinguishes great rhythm sections. This course will help you recognize drum stylists such as Art Blakey, Big Sid Catlett, Papa Jo Jones and Max Roach.

BEBOP with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra trombonist Vincent Gardner
Tuesday Nights: 1/19; 1/26; 2/2; 2/9; 2/16; & 2/23/2010
Virtuosity, fuller harmonies and a new rhythmic sense established this sound as a new type of jazz. Join JLCO trombonist Vincent Gardner for a close look at how Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie paved the way for other masters of this innovative sound.

JAZZ 201 with WKCR radio personality Phil Schaap
Tuesday Nights: 1/19/; 1/26; 2/2; 2/9; 2/16; 2/23/; 3/2; & 3/9/2010
These in-depth sessions will open your ears to the music of known and lesser-known masters. How did King Oliver help invent the jazz solo? What was Bill Evans' role in Miles Davis' Kind of Blue? In Jazz 201 you'll learn to hear the details.

JAZZ 101 with WKCR radio personality Phil Schaap
Wednesday Nights: 1/20; 1/27; 2/3; 2/10; 2/17; 2/24; 3/3; & 3/10/2010
Discover the A to Z of jazz. Learn about the Crescent City pioneers who taught musicians everywhere how to swing and the Big Band Era heartthrobs who brought jazz into prime time. Relive the bebop revolution and follow its descendents - cool, hard bop, modal and free jazz - into the modern era.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two events this week for Nancy Harms' 'In the Indigo' release

Originally published at, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009

You think you know a song, then someone makes it new again. Like “Bye Bye Blackbird.” Talk about a chestnut. It’s been around since 1926. Countless versions have been recorded; there are hundreds on iTunes. But I’d never heard one that gave me chills until Nancy Harms sang the arrangement she wrote with guitarist Robert Bell.

Listen. First the bass, all alone in the world. Then the voice, lush and distinctive, with a hint of purr. Traditionally, the chorus ends “Make my bed and light the light/I’ll arrive late tonight/Blackbird, bye-bye,” but here “Blackbird, bye-bye” is gone; “I’ll arrive late tonight” stretches to fill the space, overlapped by muted trumpet, soft piano chords, cymbals.

Is “I’ll arrive late tonight” a promise or a threat? Should you triple-lock the door or throw it wide?

“Blackbird” is the first track on Harms’ debut CD, “In the Indigo,” a mix of standards, covers, originals, and a John Mayer tune. Featuring Tanner Taylor on piano, Graydon Peterson on bass, Jay Epstein and Spencer McGinnis on drums, Kelly Rossum on trumpet, Robert Bell on guitar, and Chico Chavez on cajon (wood box drum), it’s a diverse and polished showcase for an exceptional new voice.

The CD release takes place over two events this week: Thursday at the Dakota and Sunday at the Jungle.

Full disclosure: Nancy and I are friends. We go to jazz shows together. We’re both Kurt Elling fans. I contributed a quote to the back of her CD, for which I was paid. So I’m going to let others praise “In the Indigo.”

Tom Surowicz: “A terrific debut CD. ... Harms’ voice is lovely, husky and lived-in, while her delivery is intimate, personal, almost conspiratorial.” Jon Bream: “Quiet confidence, an innate sense of swing and languorously seductive phrasing. ... Quite impressive.” Andrea Canter: “A voice that delivers with subtle power and insight.”

Harms grew up in Clara City, Minn., singing in school and church choirs. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, where she was involved in the classical music program and jazz bands, and taught elementary music in Milaca before moving to the Twin Cities in 2006. Wearing my MinnPost hat, I spoke with her last week.

MinnPost: You had a job. You had a life. What made you decide to become a jazz singer?

Nancy Harms: It was really about a great discontentment. I was always wondering if teaching was what I was supposed to be doing. I thought about myself in that position five years down the road, and it was painful to me. ... Friends encouraged me to move to the Cities. I wasn’t sure I would pursue jazz right away, but I was magnetically drawn to it. I thought, maybe when I’m 50, I’ll have enough knowledge to get up and sing in a club.

MP: I was just reading about jazz singer Gretchen Parlato, who came from an artistic family. That was not the case for you.

NH: My grandmother was musical, but she didn’t pursue it. My parents are not musical at all. I look like them, but they’re somewhat puzzled as to where I came from.

MP: When did you first become aware of jazz?

NH: When I was in high school, watching David Letterman. Harry Connick Jr. was swinging like crazy. That’s how it started, loving the swing stuff. ... Another epiphany was listening to Kurt Elling’s “Night Moves” CD in the car. I couldn’t stop listening.

MP: Was there a particular moment when you knew this was your path?

NH: I had my doubts at first, but I also had hope: Maybe the thing you love is the thing you get to do. ... One night in 2007 I was at the Fine Line, my first gig at a bigger place, and my good friends Siri and Mike were in the audience. They sat completely still the whole time. After, one of my roommates asked Mike, “Aren’t you into dancing?” He said, “I couldn’t move. I was shaking.” That night we all realized, I get to do what I love.

MP: How did you choose the musicians you worked with on the new CD?

NH: They are all people I have worked with a lot. The one I hadn’t worked with much was [trumpeter] Kelly [Rossum]. Miles Davis is my favorite instrumentalist, and I started thinking, wouldn’t it be fun to have something similar to that? Bittersweet, not afraid to be spacious.

MP: What will we hear at your CD release on Thursday?

NH: Lots of standards. Some new things I’ve been working on. I have plenty to choose from. The percussionist [Chico Chavez] will probably be in the house. Robert [Bell] will play on some of the tunes as well.

MP: How will Sunday’s show at the Jungle be different?

NH: It’s going to be more theatrical, with three different sets. The Twin Cities Hot Club will play, I’ll sing a couple of tunes with them, then Arne [Fogel] will come up and sing with my band. We’ll end the show with the CD. It will have a festive feel. I’ve invited people from out of town, from my previous lives.

Nancy Harms' “In the Indigo” CD Release. Thursday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m., Dakota, ($5). Saturday, Nov. 21, 2-4 p.m., Jungle Theater  ($8 at the door; no reservations).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Evan Christopher at the Dakota, 10/25/09: Concert review

On Sunday night, Oct. 25, Dakota Jazz Club owner Lowell Pickett gave us a gift, and New Orleans clarinetist Evan Christopher delivered: more than two hours of music that took us back and forth in time, filled us with rhythm, honored roots, insisted on relevance, and left us breathless and giddy.

Pickett flew Christopher to town for the Dakota’s annual members’ party. (If you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and want to know more about Dakota memberships, click here.) The first part of the evening (cocktails and apps) was private, the second (music) was open to the public but not terribly well advertised. By the time the music started, the club was full.

I’ve heard Christopher play before—with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, at the Dakota (after a NOJO show at Orchestra Hall), at Chickie Wah Wah on Canal Street in New Orleans, where he has a regular gig. More than any other artist, he has opened my ears to New Orleans music: not the kitschy, touristy stuff often associated with NOLA but the living, breathing, kicking sounds of the place where jazz was born and is still evolving. When he plays, I hear the old tunes, the old sounds, but the way they sound today, this minute.

Christopher is his own cat, but I’m reminded of Marcus Roberts when he plays. Not because they’re from the same place or doing the same things (and they don’t even play the same instrument), but because each is a scholar and a historian with deep, deep roots in the past, yet their music is very modern. Listen to Roberts play “Jitterbug Waltz” on his latest CD, New Orleans Meets Harlem, Vol. 1 (J Master, 2009) and you’ll think that tune was written today, not in 1942. [While you’re at it, if you can, listen to Roberts play the same tune on As Serenity Approaches (Novus, 1991). Another just as modern, totally different approach.] Christopher performed it at the Dakota as his encore. My dream jazz club date: Christopher and Roberts together on the same stage.

Joined by area musicians Tanner Taylor on piano, Reuben Ristrom on guitar, Gary Raynor on bass, and Joe Pulice on drums, Christopher played for two hours without a break, which nearly killed a certain member of the band who smokes. The music was full of joy and emotion and virtuosity. The crowd was rapt and attentive. The only people who left before the end were a couple with small children; this was a school night, and the parents looked back in regret as they headed for the door.

Christopher is an artist who educates from the stage, telling us what he’s playing, sharing interesting stories and anecdotes without filler or shtick. Here’s what we heard.

1. Christopher solo on (I think) “Cheek to Cheek.” He talked briefly about Creole clarinet: “A vocabulary that has different layers of meaning, based on individual musicians and neighborhoods, individual countries; Creolitude.”

2. Christopher and the band on Sidney Bechet’s “Blues in the Air.” “In the words of Jelly Roll Morton,” Christopher said, “fast is not a style.”

3. Buddy Bolden’s “Funky Butt,” later known as “Buddy Bolden’s Blues.”

4. Music by Cole Porter associated with Louis Armstrong, including selections from the musical comedy Jubilee and the film High Society (“I Love You, Samantha”). Christopher sang. This, too, is a New Orleans thing. Musicians lower their horns and sing a verse or two.

5. Billy Strayhorn’s “Lotus Blossom.”

6. A song about rum punch. Christopher mentioned that he was playing with his fellow musicians tonight for the first time (except for Reuben Ristrom; they know each other and have played together before). Fine with him. “I’m not a big fan of rehearsing,” he explained. “It creates expectations.”

7. Christopher switched from clarinet to a 1926 soprano sax with a mouthpiece from Claude Luter, who played in Bechet’s band. “I honked on it last night and decided to bring it along,” he said, then played Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?” with a Creole feel, tossing in a lengthy quote from “Caravan.” “The Creole clarinet vocabulary is a tricky thing to navigate,” he told us. “Much comes from the place and dynamics of playing in New Orleans—the heat, the economics. So much comes from individual musicians, who together as a family have created a language… There’s a fine line between performing that language and imitating that language.”

8. “Waltz for All Souls,” an original composition, which he dedicated to a friend who died recently. So tender and beautiful. It reminded me of “A Wild Irish Rose.”

9. He ended with a rousing, celebratory second-line version of Oscar Hammerstein’s “When I Grow Too Old to Dream,” playing and singing (“When I grow too old to dream/I’ll still have you to remember”).

10. Encore: an exquisite “Jitterbug Waltz.”

By now we were all stiff from sitting. If we weren’t dopey Minnesotans, we would have gotten up and danced around the club, out the door, and down Nicollet Mall, buses and taxis be damned.

Friday, November 6, 2009

In Conversation with Tim Sparks

You can approach guitarist Tim Sparks’ music from several directions. You can enter through Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, originally arranged for orchestra, rearranged by Sparks for six strings—a feat that won him the 1993 National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship. You can look for other CDs he has made for the German label Acoustic Music. You can track down recordings by the Twin Cities jazz group Rio Nido, popular during the 1970s and 80s and still sorely missed. You can enter through the bluegrass and jazz Sparks heard as a child and finally got around to recording on his new release, Sidewalk Blues (Tonewood, 2009).

Or you can walk through the door marked “Radical Jewish Culture,” a series on John Zorn’s Tzadik label. Starting in 1999 with the solo album Neshamah, Sparks has made five recordings for Tzadik. His latest, Little Princess (2009), is a collection of tunes by Naftule Brandwein, aka “Nifty,” the King of the Klezmer Clarinet. It’s an elegant, polyglot, sophisticated recording—World Music for the 21st century.

Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Tim Sparks “appropriated my dad’s guitar” as a child and started picking out tunes. When encephalitis kept him housebound for a year, he taught himself to play traditional country blues and gospel by listening to old LPs, the radio, and his grandmother, who played piano in a small church. Impressed by Tim's skill, an uncle nominated him for a scholarship at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where Sparks studied the classics with Segovia protégé Jesus Silva and began adapting compositions by Jelly Roll Martin and Fats Waller for solo guitar.

Rather than continue on to college, “I got my degree in the world of music, the world of nightclubs.” He went on the road with a funk and R&B band and ended up in Minnesota, where he worked as a session player and became part of the vocal jazz group Rio Nido. That kept him busy for several years, after which he worked in a variety of groups, traveled, and moved to a farm in northern Minnesota with his wife, Chyrll, who is part owner of the country music festival We Fest.

For a time, Sparks taught at the University of Minnesota-Morris, but gave that up because of the killer two-hour commute, which “during winter is really tough. We have heavy-duty weather out here on the plains.”

I’ve been an admirer since first hearing a track from his Nutcracker Suite on the radio several years ago, then ordering the CD and almost wearing it out. When I heard he was playing a late-night show for Little Princess at a local jazz club, I grabbed a table near the stage so I could see his fingers on the strings. We spoke on the phone not long after.  


Pamela Espeland: How did a nice Christian boy from North Carolina end up making radical Jewish music for John Zorn?

Tim Sparks: It all started with Rio Nido. That was a pretty successful Twin Cities jazz group for quite a long time. It was a period of our lives collectively when we all had families and worked constantly. We were the house band at a club; we played there two weeks a month. You can’t get those long gigs anymore.

The band folded around 1986–87. After that, I played like a lounge lizard—straight-ahead jazz, R&B—for many years. I went on a long trip to Europe with my wife. Part of it involved traveling to Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bosnia. I encountered a lot of music that was really exotic to my ears. I’d always been curious about Eastern European music. When I was a teenager, my two favorite recordings were Village Music of Bulgaria and a Charlie Parker album on Verve. In a funny sort of way, those two streams finally came together in the Tzadik recordings.

When we came back from Europe, I began digging all kinds of people. Plus I started learning a lot of things Rio Nido didn’t play—Brazilian music, world music, Edith Piaf. I took up some Middle Eastern instruments—oud, fretless lute, saz, long-string lute. I played with a belly dancer, with a group called Rubaiyat that played Persian music, with Boiled in Lead, with a Brazilian group called Mandala.

I studied Jewish music with accordionists Maury Bernstein and Mark Stillman. I played with a group called Voices of Sepharad, music of the Sephardic tradition. I had a very hands-on experience with Jewish music.

I get asked, “Why are you playing this music? You’re not Jewish.” The answer is, first of all, it’s beautiful music. Jewish music shares a quality with gypsy music of touching on a diverse array of cultural and musical boundaries, especially Middle Eastern and Eastern European, with a particular soulfulness that moves me…. There’s a mystery in it; you never get tired of it. Like the blues progression. That “Hava Nagila” scale pushes a button for me.

PLE: How did you and John Zorn first get together?

TS: Through my friend Duck Baker. Duck was kind of a mentor to me as a teenager. He lived briefly in Winston-Salem and I used to go over to his house and he’d play Sun Ra and Frank Zappa. Perverse on his part; illuminating for me.

In the 60s, guitar music was in a bunch of separate categories and players never crossed the line. Classical guitarists completely ignored jazz and so on. Then gradually, because of people like Lenny Breau, Chet Atkins in a way, and Duck Baker, we reached the point where we’re at today, with incredibly eclectic fingerstyle guitar. It’s been quite a fluorescence in the last 20 years.

PLE: Can you explain what you mean by “fluorescence”?

TS: In a cultural fluorescence, you have a certain idea that catches on and blossoms. It’s a tipping point, when many people and ideas connect. The fluorescence in fingerstyle guitar started to happen in the late 1980s and early 90s.

I visited Duck at some point in the 90s, and he had done this great record called Spinning Song: Duck Baker Plays the Music of Herbie Nichols for Zorn. [Zorn was the executive producer.] It may be Duck’s best record. He’s known for playing Irish/Celtic music.

PLE: Which is notably absent from your repertoire.

TS: Seems to me there’s enough people covering it. There’s nothing I can add. I try to do things that add to the overall value of the body of guitar work. I’ve always been drawn more to the tri-tonal, Afro-American, Middle Eastern music sounds. Though I did go to Ireland on tour and decided that when I die, I want them to pour my ashes down the toilet of O’Flaherty’s bar in Flago.

PLE: Back to Duck Baker and John Zorn…

TS: So Duck said, “Zorn is really righteous.” I sent Zorn one of my Peter Finger [Acoustic Music] CDs, a fusion of Middle Eastern and American roots music called Guitar Bazaar. I had done an arrangement of Bartok’s “Romanian Dances” as part of that record. Zorn said he really liked it and wanted me to do a record of Jewish folk music, but done in my style. I sent him some stuff I was doing with David Harris and Mick LaBriola [of Voices of Sepharad] but he kept insisting on the solo guitar thing. That’s what he really wanted. So I worked on it. Any artist is happy to work.

Another cool thing about Zorn was he said, “Be as eclectic as you want. Pick out the songs you like.” I chose things I thought were compelling or beautiful. He also encouraged me to be eclectic in the way I play the tunes. So I freely mixed country with jazz and bebop riffs and blues runs and Middle Eastern scales. That for me made Nehama [Sparks’ first CD for Tzadik] a really fulfilling project. It was a stew of guitar music that had all these diverse elements. More like a salad than a stew, because everything still has its own unique identity.

Every time I make a record, I have a few tunes left over, seeds for another record. Zorn put me together with Greg Cohen and Cyro Baptista for Tanz, a trio record. Then the next time [for At the Rebbe’s Table] he said, “I want you to add Marc Ribot and Eric Friedlander.” Then we did Masada Guitars, where he had me and Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot each pick out tunes from his Masada songbook.

Zorn never wants to repeat himself.

PLE: What about Little Princess?

TS: I worked up a lot of tunes—more Masada tunes and a bunch of other stuff. Zorn liked the Brandwein stuff best.

I may by now have recorded almost everything there is by Brandwein. He only recorded 25–28 tunes that have been released by Rounder. When I was working on Neshama, I came across that recording and used it as a resource. I like Brandwein’s tunes a lot. A hundred years ago, he was playing with a palette and a repertoire that reflected multiple influences. His music’s got a lot of different bags in it.

PLE: You must be having déjà vu. Releasing Little Princess and Sidewalk Blues in the same year is similar to what you did ten years ago—with Neshamah and One String Leads to Another, your album of mostly original compositions for Acoustic Music.

TS: That’s kind of a coincidence. I put together Sidewalk Blues, put it out, and didn’t realize that I was going to wind up recording Little Princess so soon or that Zorn would release it so quickly. We just recorded Princess in February. That’s another nice thing about working for Tzadik. It’s a small label, always righteous…that’s what Tzadik means. A Tzadik is a righteous person. I’ve been very happy to do stuff with them. Very cool catalog, cool community.

PLE: Are you still composing?

TS: On Little Princess, the core songs are ten percent of the song, then twenty percent my arranging, then a lot of composition that developed those arrangements before improvisation. I’m not right now composing songs from scratch. I’m being a blank slate for a while. That feels kind of good.

I worked up half the tunes for the new record as part of a batch of demos I sent to Zorn last year. Then he sent me an email saying, “Let’s do a record of just the Brandwein tunes.” From October on I worked up the rest of the material, thinking as a solo guitarist. I had to comp with myself and do the bass line. When I got to New York and started to play the tunes in the studio with Greg and Cyro, suddenly half the arrangements I had made, meticulously developed and practiced, turned into soloing. I don’t know where that came from. It was something I never practiced, and I’m kind of happy about that. I played a lot of jazz for years and none of it was recorded. I think there’s some nice playing on Princess.

Greg and Cyro were creating spontaneously. They had just learned the tunes. That’s how those guys work all the time. When Zorn does a project, the musicians come to the studio, then he shows up and gives them tunes they have never heard before. John Coltrane liked to do that, too. You get a very, very fresh sound.

PLE: Has there ever been anything you wanted to play but couldn’t?

TS: Sure. All kinds of stuff. If there wasn’t, there would be no reason to live. I’ve been playing “Giant Steps” a lot lately, trying to figure out how to play that tune. For years I’ve been trying to do a follow-up to Nutcracker Suite, an arrangement of Prokofiev’s Cinderella ballet, but I can never find enough time to allocate to it. I did about five of the tunes ten years ago. Prokofiev’s music is something I’d like to figure out how to do on guitar. Maybe that will be the next thing I do.

PLE: A City Pages article from 2002 mentioned your trips to Japan and your interest in Japanese music. Tzadik has a “New Japan” series. Any chance we’ll see you there?

TS: I’ve got an idea I have pitched to Zorn and felt might be cool. In Japan, there’s a type of music called Enka music. It’s Japanese, but with a Western musical influence that goes back to the 1800s, when the Meiji dynasty decided to embrace Western culture and technology. It’s soulful, sad music about broken hearts, betrayal, the usual stuff, like Hank Williams, but the Japanese version, with cool Japanese pentatonic scales mixed with Westernized arrangements. I’ve checked into and heard stuff that definitely caught my ear. Sometimes you hear things and a light goes on and you can start hearing and sensing how that would go on guitar, how cool it would be.

PLE: So you’re still passionate about this?

TS: I’m too old to quit. That’s what [bassist] Billy Peterson once told me. “We’re too old to quit, man.”


Visit Tim Sparks's website for sound clips and a video.

Recommended listening:
The Nutcracker Suite (1992; Acoustic Music)
Neshama (1999; Tzadik)
At the Rebbe’s Table (2002; Tzadik)
Masada Guitars (2003; Tzadik)
Sidewalk Blues (2009; Tonewood)
Little Princess (2009; Tzadik)

Originally published on, November 2009.

Tim Sparks interview on

I first heard the great fingerstyle guitarist Tim Sparks on the radio--a cut from his arrangement of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite." I tracked down the CD and almost wore it out. Lately Sparks has been recording for John Zorn's Tzadik label. When I heard he was coming to the Dakota earlier this year, I took a seat up front and asked for an interview. It was published today at It's on the home page now. When it's not, here's the permalink.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Free tickets for NEA Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony in January

Here's where to be at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 12, 2010: in the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC, where the 2010 NEA Jazz Masters will be honored.

The National Endowment for the Arts and JALC announced today that free tickets will be distributed to the general public at or at the JALC Box Office on Broadway at 60th Street (Monday-Saturday, 10am to 6 pm; Sundays, 12 pm to 6 pm). Limit 2 tickets per person.

It's good that this is a free event. When it was part of the now-defunct IAJE, the ceremony was too pricey for most people to attend.

This year's Jazz Masters are Muhal Richard Abrams, Kenny Barron, Bill Holman, Bobby Hutcherson, Yusef Lateef, Annie Ross, and Cedar Walton. It's expected that 26 fellow Jazz Masters will also be present including Toshiko Akiyoshi, Ornette Coleman, Paquito d'Rivera, Ramsey Lewis, and Dr. Billy Taylor.

The event will be both awards ceremony and concert, with video tributes to each of the 2010 honorees. For those who can't be there (which sadly includes yours truly), it will be broadcast live on Sirius XM Satellite Radio and WGBO radio (88.3 in NYC, online for the rest of us).

Read the full press release here.