One hundred Boston-based musicians, in twenty-five jazz ensembles, will perform a single Boston-inspired setlist in their own style.
Experience the concert however you choose: linger with one band to hear their interpretation of each tune, or make your way along a waterfront loop to sample the diversity of our city’s jazz scene. The 1.5 mile series of connected locations form a loop from Community Boating along the Dudley Bike Path to Esplanade paths around the Storrow Lagoon and Charles River.
The ensembles, comprised of 100 musicians, will interpret a Boston-inspired set list of music composed (or popularized) by women, co-curated by composers and artists Ken Field and Zahili Zamora. With songs such as Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” Esperanza Spalding’s “I Know You Know,” Nnenna Freelon’s “Circle Song,” and “Last Dance” popularized by Donna Summer, this uplifting afternoon showcases the vibrancy of Boston’s jazz scene. While each band is unique and will interpret the songs in their own individual styles, together they will create one collective event that celebrates the improvisational and expressive essence of jazz and the thriving jazz community in Greater Boston today.
Grammy award-winning drummer, producer, and educator Terri Lyne Carrington has been commissioned by Celebrity Series to write a new work for Jazz Along the Charles. Her piece, “Bay Warriors” opens the event. The piece recognizes the warrior spirit of the region, from the Indigenous peoples who fought for their homelands to the ongoing resiliency the city and state have displayed in troubling times.
Don't miss this dynamic and evolving jazz experience.
This public event is free and open to all!
Zahili Zamora and Ken Fields, the co-curators of this year's Jazz Along the Charles, shared the following about their vision for the event. They showcase songs by or made famous by women, and all songwriters or original performers share a connection to the Boston area. From Amy Beach to Aimee Mann, from the standard "Willow Weep for Me" to Terri Lyne Carrington's world-premiere tune "Bay Warriors," enjoy these Boston-inspired songs by Boston-connected women!
This year, Jazz Along the Charles is a celebration of the unique artistry and profound impact of women in music. By sharing their contributions to jazz and other styles, we honor their legacies and provide a stage for their work to be heard and appreciated. This event not only entertains and engages the audience, but also showcases the diverse talent of musicians in the Boston area, and fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation for the immense talent and creative genius of legendary women composers and entertainers.
Our goal as co-curators was to select music that was related in some way to Boston, whether based on the title, composer, subject matter, or artist. We also thought it powerful to focus on works composed or popularized by Boston-connected women. We further wanted to be sure that the material would lend itself to the improvisational and expressive essence of jazz, such that it could be interpreted by each performing ensemble in their own way.
It was a goal to include a diverse collection of material from diverse artists and composers, addressing style, period, etc.. Another goal was to include a mix of well-known and lesser-known pieces.
We look forward to being surprised and delighted by a wide range of interpretations and treatments of this collection of music by some wonderful and incredibly creative improvisational jazz musicians! And we are super excited that the ensembles will kick off the afternoon with world premiere performances of Terri Lyne Carrington’s composition “Bay Warriors”, commissioned by Celebrity Series specifically for this event!
Through the power of music, Jazz Along the Charles aims to inspire and uplift both musicians and audiences. By highlighting the rich diversity and depth of women’s contributions to the music industry, we hope to inspire a new generation of musicians to explore, embrace, and carry forward this vital musical heritage.
- Zahili & Ken
Twenty-five bands will play the same curated list of songs in the same order and at the same time. From Amy Beach to Aimee Mann, from the standard “Willow Weep for Me” to Terri Lyne Carrington’s world-premiere tune “Bay Warriors,” enjoy these Boston-inspired songs by Boston-connected women!
1. Bay Warriors (Terri Lyne Carrington)
Commissioned by Celebrity Series specifically for Jazz Along the Charles 2023 — World Premiere performance. The piece recognizes the warrior spirit of the region-from the Indigenous peoples who battled the first settlers, to the ongoing resiliency the city and state have displayed in troubling times.
2. Boston Beans (Peggy Lee)
From the 1962 Peggy Lee release Blues Cross Country, this song was composed by Peggy Lee with Bob Schluger and Milton Raskin. Born Norma Deloris Egstrom in 1920, Peggy Lee was a prolific songwriter, and composed lyrics and/or music for more than 150 songs. Known as Miss Peggy Lee, she was the inspiration for the Muppets’ Miss Piggy.
3. Two Hearts (Lawns) (Carla Bley, lyrics & performed by Terri Lyne Carrington)
The instrumental composition titled “Lawns”, by innovative and influential American composer Carla Bley, was augmented with lyrics by Boston-based drummer, composer, and educator Terri Lyne Carrington, and renamed “Two Hearts (Lawns)”.
4. Continental Cliff (Patricia Zarate)
Patricia (Perez) Zarate has worked for over 20 years as an advocate for music therapy in Latin America and the world. She currently serves as executive director of the Panama Jazz Festival, while also being a professor at Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute, in Boston, MA.
5. Fast Car (Tracy Chapman)
Four-time Grammy winner Chapman attended Tufts University, and her career began in the Boston area. Originally released in 1988, “Fast Car” is about yearning for a better life. It was recently covered by country singer Luke Combs.
6. Cosecha (Mili Bermejo)
Mili Bermejo was a much-beloved Berklee voice teacher who sadly passed away in 2017. Bermejo was born in Argentina and raised in Mexico. She lived much of her life in Cambridge. The title is Spanish for “harvest”.
7. On Boylston and Mass Ave (Camila Cortina)
Camila Cortina Bello is a pianist, educator, musicologist and composer. She relocated to Boston in 2018 as a recipient of the Berklee World Tour Full Tuition Scholarship. Four years later, she accomplished a dual major in Jazz Composition and performance, and a Master’s in Contemporary Global Performance. She has also performed actively as part of the Berklee Jazz Gender Justice Institute with artists like Terri Lyne Carrington, Dianne Reeves, and Linda May Oh.
8. Willow Weep for Me (Ann Ronell, popularized by Nancy Wilson and many others)
Ronell was an undergraduate student at Radcliffe College of Harvard University. The willow trees of Cambridge were said to be her inspiration for the piece. This jazz standard was written in 1932, and has been recorded hundreds of times, including influential versions by Cab Calloway, Cozy Cole, Stan Kenton, Mary Lou Williams, Cannonball Adderly, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and many others.
9. Set List Part I Encore
Bands’ Choice of their own pieces to close out the first half of the show.
Part II: 3pm-4pm
10. Within Thy Heart (Amy Beach), from 4 Songs, Op. 29: №1, Within Thy Heart
Amy Beach (1867–1944) was an American female composer and pianist. She was the first successful American female composer of large-scale art music. She made her concert hall debut at age 16 in Boston’s Music Hall. She was one of the best during her lifetime for her voice, piano, and chamber works. "Within Thy Heart" was published in 1895.
11. Sympodial Sunflower (Kris Davis)
Davis is a Boston-based Grammy-winning pianist/composer. She is the Associate Program Director of Creative Development for the Institute Jazz and Gender Justice at Berklee College of Music. “Sympodial Sunflower” is a track on her 2019 release “Diatom Ribbons”.
12. Friends (Zahili Gonzalez Zamora)
Zahili Gonzalez Zamora is a Cuban pianist, composer, bandleader, arranger, and educator. She moved to Boston in 2013, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in performance and jazz composition, as well as a master’s degree in Contemporary Global Performance from Berklee College of Music. Currently, she is a professor at the piano department at Berklee, and an active musician in the Boston area.
13. Just Like That (Bonnie Raitt)
Raitt studied at Radcliffe College of Harvard University and lived on Oxford St in Cambridge. The song, about a woman who is visited by the recipient of her deceased son’s heart, was named Song of the Year at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards in 2023.
14. Save Me (Aimee Mann)
Mann was lead singer of the internationally popular Boston-based band 'Til Tuesday and has since established herself as an award-winning solo artist. “Save Me” was nominated for an Academy Award as part of the soundtrack for the Paul Thomas Anderson movie Magnolia.
15. Circle Song (Nnenna Freelon)
Grammy nominated jazz vocalist, composer, actress and playwright Nnenna Freelon was born and raised in Cambridge, MA. Educating young people, both musicians and non-musicians, and students of all ages has propelled her advocacy. She toured with Ray Charles, as well as many other great jazz artists including Ellis Marsalis, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Earl Klugh, Take 6, and others.
16. I Know You Know (Esperanza Spalding)
Spalding’s accolades include five Grammy Awards, a Boston Music Award, a Soul Train Music Award, and two honorary doctorates: in 2018 from her alma mater Berklee College of Music and in 2022 (along with Charles Lloyd and Wayne Shorter) from Cal Arts.
17. Last Dance (Paul Jabara, popularized by Donna Summer)
Donna Summer was born and raised in Dorchester. This was one of her huge hits, and a great way to end the event! “Last Dance”, performed by Summer & composed by Paul Jabara for the soundtrack to the 1978 movie Thank God It’s Friday, was a commercial and critical success, winning the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, the Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and it peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100, all in 1978.
18. Set List Part II Encore
Bands’ Choice of their own pieces to bring the event to a close.
Learn about the artists selected for this year's concert.
With influences from across the Americas, from Argentina to the Appalachians, Acoustic Nomads is a progressive acoustic string band that will bring daring improvisation, driving grooves, and lush jazz harmonies.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, three childhood friends from Lexington, MA, gathered in each other’s backyards to play music. Three years later, they’re a working band, a contemporary jazz piano trio, that has played in clubs across the area and the region.
Pianist/Organist Ana Petrova, originally from Kazakhstan but now based in Boston with academic appointments at Berklee and Longy, has performed at festivals around the world and collaborated with local and national standouts.
Armadi Tsayn, a quartet featuring an Oud or Duduk and a Western rhythm section, takes inspiration from the traditional styles of the Middle East, North Africa, Armenia, and Anatolia with contemporary melodies and progressions.
Latvian-born American flute player Ilona Kudina fronts this four-piece ensemble, created in 2017, that brings together Latvian and American musicians.
Saxophonist Brett Walberg and his quintet create honest and unique music that invokes the jazz masters of previous generations while engaging with today’s essential social issues.
Saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase has been playing jazz locally with Either/Orchestra, the Makanda Project, the Central Artery Project, and more for over 40 years. His Explorers Quintet is generally avant-garde, but covers a wide range of material.
Bassist Ciara Moser, born in Dublin and educated at Berklee, brings together friends from around the world for this ensemble. Performing jazz, funk, and fusion, the band’s tunes are written by Moser and often consider ideas about music and blindness.
Called “engagingly unique” by The Boston Herald, this trio describes themselves as “an intergalactic surf-jazz trio” that blends Balkan beats with the American songbook, film scores, and more.
Formed in Boston in 2021 at New England Conservatory and now based in New York, ETM has an unconventional lineup: vocals, drums, bass, and two trumpeters. This unique instrumentation allows for committed improvisation and memorable melodies.
Pianist, composer, and educator Ellie Pruneau takes inspiration from classical, funk, video game, and indie music. She leads this four-piece ensemble and composes tunes that encourage dialogue around big topics: gender, politics, and mental health in the jazz community.
Trumpeter, composer, and arranger Greg Hopkins has performed alongside all-time greats and has been a professor in Berklee’s Jazz Composition department for the last 49 years. He leads Berklee’s Concert Jazz Orchestra and will assemble an accomplished quintet for Jazz Along the Charles.
Inspired by sources as diverse as Latin American folk music, Kurt Vonnegut, Thelonious Monk, and the socio-political issues of our time, pianist Jason Yeager has assembled a group of Berklee- and NEC-connected players, including vocalist Farayi Malek.
Keyboardist Dr. John Paul McGee blends gospel, jazz, and classical music into a fusion that he calls “Gospejazzical” that will change how you hear all three individual styles. His debut album, Gospejazzical, Vol. 1, impressed the great Stevie Wonder, who invited McGee to perform at his annual benefit concert.
The J.P. Heston trio played at Jazz Along the Charles in 2018 under their former name, Big Time Company. Bassist Heston, pianist Warren Pettey, and drummer Rafael Barata perform four nights a week across Boston.
Drummer Lee Fish appeared in a Summer 2023 Mission Hill Arts Festival event, co-presented with Celebrity Series’ Neighborhood Arts Program. Recent projects include “Sounds of a Starr,” a program that pays tribute to his late mother, pianist and composer Lori Starr.
The Lexington High School Jazz Combo is an honors-level ensemble that focuses on improvisation, creativity, and collaboration. Current members perform in the Beantown Swing Orchestra, the NEC Prep Jazz Orchestra, and more.
A quartet fronted by Nigerian alto saxophonist Olayemi Ogundola, JAHE blends jazz, liturgical, and Nigerian music into an exciting, meditative, and captivating package.
Global Jazz Womxn is an all-female quintet led by Patricia Zarate Perez, Assistant Professor of Global Jazz and Social Activism at Berklee College of Music’s Global Jazz Institute. The ensemble presents original music and arrangements of female musicians from all over the world that meet and collaborate on and off the stage.
Pianist Rebecca Cline, bassist Keala Kaumeheiwa, and drummer Gen Yoshimura played together on Jazz Along the Charles in 2018. As the Rebecca Cline trio, they explore Cuban and other Latin jazz styles.
An award-winning virtuoso violinist, classically-trained but known for his jazz pyrotechnics and irresistible grooves, and a versatile vocalist, Rob Flax fronts this violin/guitar/bass trio. As a composer, Flax has collaborated with choreographers and filmmakers, including work on a project for Anthony Bourdain.
Acclaimed Turkish pianist, composer, and arranger Utar Artun leads this trio of Berklee-affiliated musicians.
The Women in World Jazz project is a group that sheds light on women’s artistic heritage in the United States and around the world. This year’s theme is “Women for Peace and Social Justice.” Led by upright bassist and vocalist Tal Shalom-Kobi, the group features multi-reedist Ririka Tokushige, vocalist Jireh Calo, guitarist Laurie Goldsmith, and drummer Diane Gately.
Grammy-nominated, Brooklyn-based pianist and composer Yotam Ishay leads this five-piece interdisciplinary ensemble.
Trumpeter, composer, and educator Zoe Murphy fronts this group of emerging musicians, all New England Conservatory graduates, based in the Boston area. Passionate about preserving the traditions of jazz while paving the way for the future, they perform works exploring and highlighting multiracial identities, among other topics, at clubs across the area.
Boger Family Foundation
Fred & Tamara Ledley
Israel Meir & Steve Rivera
Peter M. Solomon