Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents

Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents

FEB 21 | Cobb Great Hall

This performance is sponsored by





  • Vuyo Sotashe
  • Brianna Thomas
  • Shenel Johns
  • Riley Mulherkar
  • Andy Clausen
  • Evan Harris
  • Mathis Picard
  • Barry Stephenson
  • TJ Reddick

Tonight’s program will be announced from the stage.

This performance will run approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents touring initiative provides an affordable opportunity to present great jazz programming, featuring up-and-coming musicians who have been identified as rising stars by JALC. The initiative also allows for expansion of the mission of JALC “to entertain, enrich and expand a global community for jazz through performance, education, and advocacy.”

Songs We Love was first presented as the 2016 Season Opener at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Songs We Love is a journey through the first 50 years of jazz song. Under the musical direction of Riley Mulherkar, 3 guest vocalists will join an all-star band made up of New York’s rising stars. Combining their distinct talents, the group will sing their way through four decades of music, beginning with the early blues and jazz of the 1920s and ending in the early 1950s. Iconic singers to be explored include Ma Rainey, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.


ANDY CLAUSEN is a New York-based trombonist, composer, producer, and educator. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Andy has served as principal conductor and artistic director for Jazz at New York Youth Symphony since 2016, and in 2021 joins the faculty of The New School as an artist in residence and professor of trombone. Andy has appeared at such wide-ranging venues as Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Red Rocks, Coachella, The Kennedy Center, Newport Folk Festival, SF Jazz, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Pitchfork Music Festival, The Blue Note, Birdland, The Stone, and internationally at the Vancouver Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, Jazz A Vienne, and The Sound of The Dolomites Festival. Andy is also a founding member of The Westerlies, an award-winning new music chamber ensemble comprised of childhood friends from Seattle.

BARRY STEPHENSON, a New York City-based acoustic/electric bassist and composer, has been acclaimed as “one of the most sought-after bassists on the scene today.” Released in 2020, Barry’s "The Iconoclast" was nominated for the NAACP Image Award® for Outstanding Jazz Album (Instrumental) and was notably the only independently produced album in a category that included work by Jon Batiste, George Burton, Christian Sands, and Immanuel Wilkins. "The Iconoclast" was also named by Offbeat magazine as one of the Top 50 Albums of 2020.

TJ REDDICK is an emerging young musician most notably known as a jazz drummer based in New York City. Currently heading into his senior year at The Juilliard School, Mr. Reddick has already shared the stage with world-renowned artists and groups such as Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea, Nicholas Payton, The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and more.

LUCAS PINO is an award-winning musician and composer who has performed at some of the world’s most esteemed festivals and venues. As a tenor saxophonist and multi-woodwind player, his unique and lyrical approach make him one of the most in-demand side musicians across generations. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Lucas graduated from some of the country’s top music programs, including the Brubeck Institute, The New School, and The Juilliard School. Lucas has notably performed with Dave Brubeck, Christian McBride, Takuya Kuroda, Darcy James Argue, Alan Ferber, Samora Pinderhughes and Nick Finzer, among others. Based in New York City, Pino is the leader of The No Net Nonet, a distinct and innovative nine-piece acoustic jazz ensemble. His band has become an established part of today’s scene through a monthly residency at Smalls Jazz Club and three critically acclaimed album releases. Lucas received a Herb Alpert ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award for his composition, “Golden Rule, Turing Test.”

MATHIS PICARD is a French-Malagasy pianist, composer, producer, and bandleader who currently resides in New York City. Rooted in the tradition of live acoustic performance while incorporating the latest musical technology, Mathis created his own style that merges electronic bass music, jazz, classical & stride piano. Mathis, who began playing at three years old, was immediately passionate about music and improvisation and now focuses on sharing that passion globally. Mathis currently leads a solo project, a trio and his orchestra, The Sound Orchestra. When not performing his music, Mathis has the honor of sharing the stage with artists such as Mwenso & The Shakes, Braxton Cook, Ron Carter, Lillias White, Lee Ritenour, Jason Moran, CROWN, Kindness, Wynton Marsalis and more.

RILEY MULHERKAR has been recognized as a “smart young trumpet player” by The New York Times, praised by The Wall Street Journal as a “youngster to keep an eye on,” and is a 2020 recipient of Lincoln Center’s Emerging Artist Award for his work as “an original bandleader, composer, arranger, educator, community activist and advocate for jazz and the arts.” Riley works with a number of leading artists of our time, including Wynton Marsalis, Anna Deavere Smith, and Alan Cumming, and is a founding member of The Westerlies, a new music brass quartet that creates the rarest of hybrids: music that is both “folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). Riley also serves as artistic director for jazz at Joye in Aiken, bringing leading young talent to the historic city of Aiken, South Carolina.

BRIANNA THOMAS's singing is deeply enriched by an understanding of the masterful voices of jazz past. Captivatingly unique, her sound moves in tones ranging from sweet invitations to assured convictions, establishing a personal and classic quality that leaves listeners swooning after her performances. Brianna’s talents have propelled her to many successes including performances at the Montreux, North Sea, and Umbria Jazz Festivals and in venues ranging from the Bahamas to Geneva, Switzerland. Brianna was a resident in both the 2001 and 2002 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Programs—an international artist-in-residence program that assembles a select group of jazz musicians to perform their original compositions at the Kennedy Center. At Jazz Ahead she worked with a host of premier jazz educators and performers including renowned vocalist Carmen Lundy, Winard Harper and Nathan Davis. Brianna’s extensive list of stateside performances includes appearances with Fred Anderson, Von Freeman, Houston Person, and the Barber Brothers. She has performed across the country from New Orleans to Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center. In 2001, Thomas was awarded High School Jazz Vocalist of the Year by DownBeat magazine. Notably, Brianna Thomas is the youngest person ever to be inducted into Peoria’s African-American Hall of Fame at the age of 13in 1996. She has also received a certificate of excellence from the state of Illinois in recognition of her musical accomplishments.

SHENEL JOHNS With a voice that embodies grace and passion and a personal style that sways effortlessly from jazz to R&B to gospel, Shenel Johns has emerged as one of the shining stars of her generation. A native of Hartford, CT, Johns has been performing since she was 14 years of age, and has developed a distinctive, eclectic style that has increasingly caught the attention of her peers and some of the industry’s top performers. Johns received a bachelor’s degree in music management from the Jackie McLean Institute at the Hartt School of Music and studied performance with such jazz legends as Rene McLean, Jimmy Greene, and Nat Reeves. She has shared the stage with music royalty including Curtis Fuller, Hank Jones, Dionne Warwick, and Sheila Jordan, and has performed and recorded with an impressive array of leaders in the field including Dominic Farinacci, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ulysses Owens, Jr., Ronnie Burrage, and Eddie Palmieri, among numerous others. In 2016 Johns completed a musical residency at Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha in Qatar and, several months later, honored Billie Holiday as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s New York production of Billie and the Boys. She has also performed a tribute to another of her idols, Lena Horne, at New York City’s famed Appel Theater, and toured throughout Russia in 2015 and 2016. Most recently, Johns was the winner of the Riga Jazz Stage Competition this past April in Riga, Latvia, and was featured in the Hartford Jazz Festival in July with the Harford Symphony Orchestra as part of an Ella Fitzgerald Tribute. Johns has also premiered works at New York’s Museum of Modern Arts (Jacob Lawrence Installation of Northern Migration) and is a member of the George Gee Swing Orchestra that performs regularly in-and-around New York City

VUYO SOTASHE Young South African jazz vocalist Vuyo Sotashe has been gradually making his mark in the New York jazz scene. Sotashe moved to NYC in 2013 after being awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a master of music degree at William Paterson University. He went on to win first prize at the very first Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Vocal Competition in 2014 and performed on the festival's main stage in February of 2015. He won the Audience Prize award and placed second over-all at the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition in 2015, held at the annual Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. In the same year he placed third in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocal competition, where he was the very first male vocalist ever to place in the competition's finals. Vuyo Sotashe has also performed on international stages, singing at the Arcevia Jazz Fest and the Fermo Jazz Festival in Italy 2012; the Stockholm Jazz Festival with South African National Youth Jazz Band in Sweden 2012; at the Cape Town International Festival with George Benson and the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra 2010; the Johannesburg Joy of Jazz Festival 2012; and he has toured with the SAMA Award (Grammy equivalent) winning Band Proxy in the UK and Ireland 2009-2011. He has also performed with multi-Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Israel Houghton as part of New Breed (Africa)Ensemble. Sotashe is also the winner of the biggest music scholarship competition in South Africa, the South African Music Rights Foundation Scholarship, where he performed for the former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Vuyo Sotashe is currently performing around New York City with the praised drummer Winard Harper, who has performed with the likes of Betty Carter, Shirley Horn, and many other legends in jazz.


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Cyrille Aimée

Cyrille Aimée

MAR 30

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Wharton Center gratefully recognizes our Circle Members for their philanthropic contribution, our Legacy donors who have chosen to support with their estate plans, individuals and organizations that have established named endowments to support Wharton Center, and our corporate sponsors.

Wharton Center would like to acknowledge the members of IATSE local 274.