Schomburg Center Announces 2017 Annual Women’s Jazz Festival “Ella, Ella: A Centennial Celebration of Mama Jazz!”

FEBRUARY 21, 2017 – The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture today announced its 2017 Annual

Women’s Jazz Festival honoring the centennial birthday of Ella Fitzgerald and her continued influence on the evolution of jazz.

The year’s festival, titled "Ella, Ella: A Centennial Celebration of Mama Jazz!”, will be held at the Schomburg Center over four consecutive Mondays in March, beginning on March 6 and ending on March 27. Each program will explore the multi-dimensional music, life, and legacy of the jazz legend and will feature some of the most well-known and emerging women performers in jazz today.

Guest curators for the festival include critically acclaimed harpist Brandee Younger, ethnomusicologist Aja Burrell Wood, and The Afro-Latino Festival NYC. The 2017 Women’s Jazz Festival's media partner is WBGO Jazz 88.3FM/

Tickets for each evening’s performance are available at


  • March 6: Divine Ella

    Acclaimed harpist Brandee Younger will join singer Jean Baylor, Camille Thurman (alto sax and vocals), Courtney Bryan (piano),  Dezron Douglas (bass) and Kassa Overall (drums) as they highlight Ella Fitzgerald’s influence in both sacred and secular music. The evening will draw on Fitzgerald’s record, “Brighten the Corner,” offering original compositions and new arrangements of favorite Fitzgerald masterpieces that evoke a spiritual essence.

    This program is guest curated by harpist Brandee Younger, a fearless and versatile talent, who defies genres and labels as a classically-trained musician playing in the avant-garde tradition of her sonically forward predecessors Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane.

  • March 13: Ella is Present

    Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer, composer, and producer Terri Lyne Carrington, together with special guests, will perform a tribute to the indelible legacy of Ella Fitzgerald. This retrospective will present Fitzgerald’s impact on today’s diverse and progressive voices and explore her unique influence in contemporary music.

    Guest curated by Aja Burrell Woods, ethnomusicologist and adjunct professor of African American music at The New School and Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music.

  • March 20: WJF in Conversation: There’s Something About Ella

    Join the Schomburg Center for the debut of Women’s Jazz Festival Conversations. We invite scholars, artists, and archivists to discuss the legacy of women in jazz. This evening we will reflect on the legacy of Ella Fitzgerald.

  • March 27: J’adore Ella

    The French duo, Les Nubians, sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart from Bordeaux, France are known for melding African rhythms with jazz and R&B. This final evening of the festival will provide a glimpse of Fitzgerald’s influence as an internationally acclaimed jazz artist. In 1990, Fitzgerald received the French medal of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres) for her significant contributions to jazz. Infusing traditional Fitzgerald with cultural notes from across the African diaspora, the Grammy-nominated singers offer a sophisticated ode to why the world loves Ella Fitzgerald. Guest curated by the Afro-Latino Festival NYC.

Each performance and program of the 2017 Women’s Jazz Festival is open to the media. Professional photography and video recordings are prohibited without expressed consent. To request media credentials, please contact Ayofemi Kirby at  

Press Contact: Ayofemi Kirby |

About the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, is generally recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world. For over 90 years the Center has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent. Educational and Cultural Programs at the Schomburg Center complement its research services and interpret its collections. Seminars, forums, workshops, staged readings, film screenings, performing arts programs, and special events are presented year-round. More information about Schomburg’s collections and programs can be found at

About the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at​