'Pioneering Women in Jazz' show comes to Bellingham, Olympia next week
"Bessie, Billie and Nina — Pioneering Women in Jazz" celebrates the enduring legacies of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone at Bellingham's Mt. Baker Theatre on March 13 and at Olympia's Washington Center for the Performing Arts on March 15.
Presented in affiliation with the Women in Jazz Organization, "Bessie, Billie and Nina — Pioneering Women in Jazz" is produced by Grammy-winning producer Eli Wolf, with arrangements and musical direction by Seattle native and Garfield High School alumna, pianist Carmen Staaf.
The three featured vocalists are Charenée Wade, Tahira Clayton and Vanisha Gould, backed by an all-female band that includes trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis, guitarist Jocelyn Gould, bassist Liany Mateo and drummer Gary Kerkezou.
The musical and social legacies of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and Nina Simone remain as relevant as ever.
Their contributions resonate with today’s artists across many genres, and with ongoing movements toward progress and equality for women, African-Americans and the LGBTQ community.
The most influential and popular singers of their times, all three women defied social norms, embracing self-empowerment through their art. They wielded their talents to combat racial prejudice, sexism and poverty.