In celebration of Black History Month, The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and Larry Rosen, together with presenting sponsor TotalBank, present JAZZ ROOTS: A Larry Rosen Jazz Series – BLUES AND SOUL on February 17, 2012 at 8 p.m. in the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center. The multi-Platinum, five-time Grammy Award winning soulful singer/songwriter/guitarist Robert Cray, whose immense popularity helped to jump start a contemporary blues scene, will bring his unique blend of guitar-driven blues and soul to Miami for a special one-night appearance. The concert also features young, Grammy-nominated blues sensation SHEMEKIA COPELAND, who was named “Rising Star Blues Artist” by Down Beat magazine.
ROBERT Cray was instrumental in helping to shape the blues on the national scene, beginning in the 1980s with his breakthrough recording, Strong Persuader and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, both Grammy winners. His unique playing style and distinct sound has helped introduce old and new fans to a more contemporary blues sound. Since his album debut Who’s Been Talkin, the blues guitar hero has been inviting audiences along his epic musical journey, breaking through the pop ceiling with his trademark sound and daring innovations.
Tickets range from $25 to $135 and may be purchased through the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at www.arshtcenter.org
“As we celebrate Black History Month this February, we are thrilled to present contemporary blues icon Robert Cray and young roots music superstar Shemekia Copeland to the South Florida community,” said M. John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “The blues has influenced jazz, rock, R&B, rap, and popular music, and we are proud to showcase the phenomenal talents of two of the most outstanding interpreters of this treasured American musical genre who are committed to always evolving the music in new directions.”
For nearly four decades, the world-renowned American blues guitarist ROBERT CRAY has been a dominant force in the blues. He has performed alongside blues titans Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King. The multi-Grammy Award winner has also worked with Keith Richards, Chuck Berry and Stevie Ray Vaughn, and his songs have been covered by many, including B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Tony Bennett. Featured in Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues series, CRAY has also appeared in Tina Turner’s TV special Break Every Rule, and the Rolling Stones’ video Voodoo Lounge. Along with his Grammy wins, he has released 20 award-winning multi-Platinum albums, received 15 Grammy nominations, and performed countless sold-out concerts worldwide. In 2011, Robert Cray was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. The Robert Cray band features a refreshed lineup including former band member, bassist Richard Cousins, along with veteran blues drummer Tony Braunagel, and his long-time keyboardist Jim Pugh.
Singing sensation Shemekia Copeland is a force to be reckoned with in the blues. “Young SHEMEKIA is the most soul-shaking, big-voiced blues singers in years, attacking contemporary material like the early Etta James,” says the Village Voice. While still in her 20s, she opened for the Rolling Stones and shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, and John Mayer. Born in Harlem, New York to the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Copeland, her father brought Shemekia on stage to sing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club at the tender age of eight, and later took her on tour as his opening act which helped establish her name on the blues circuit. Her second recording, Wicked, scored a Grammy nomination and three W.C. Handy Awards, and her 2009 release, Never Going Back, takes a more forward view of the blues, representing a new chapter in her artistic journey.
JAZZ ROOTS also features an in-depth educational partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools which will bring more than 900 music students to the Center this season for a unique behind-the-scenes experience, including a pre-concert sound check and a Q&A session with featured artists followed by a workshop with a local jazz expert that will highlight the music, the artistic process and the practical skills needed for a career in the arts.
Heralded by Quincy Jones as “the most important new concert and educational jazz series in America!” JAZZ ROOTS has the unique distinction of being the only major jazz series in America that has sold-out nearly every concert since its inception.