Thursday, July 2nd at 7 PM
Oratorical express has been a major form of cultural communication for generations. Therefore, in honor of the verbal arts, the Ritz Theatre presents 'Spoken Word' the first Thursday of each month. Hosted by Allen 'Cheff' James, both veterans and "virgins to the mic" are welcomed to share their deepest feelings, social-observations or light-hearted banter with an intimate audience comprised of creatives and lovers of spoken word.
Spoken Word is FREE to attend and promotes a family-friendly atmosphere.
Tuesday, July 7th from 4:30 PM - 7 PM
Friday, July 10th from 4:30 PM - 7 PM
TDE Presents: Lady Campbell's Souper Soul Sundays
Sunday, July 19th @ 5 PM
A theatrical fellowship experience you’ll never forget! A spiritual evolution in entertainment.
Jazz Discovery Series--Brianna Thomas
Friday, July 24th @ 8 PM
In 2001 and 2002, Brianna was a resident at the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program – 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, drummer Winard Harper, saxophonist Nathan Davis, trumpeter Jimmy Owens, legendary trombonist Curtis Fuller and many others.
The Wall Street Journal referred to Brianna as “the best young jazz singer of her generation”; and rightfully so, as Brianna has performed with many legendary jazz musicians, including: Clark Terry, Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines, Junior Mance, Charles Tolliver, Reggie Workman, Frank Wess, Paul West, Fred Anderson, Jimmy Owens, Norman Simmons, Art Barron, Winard Harper and Russian Jazz Icon and Big Band Leader, Igor Butman.
Floetry Reunion Tour
Thursday, August 6th at 7 PM
After an eight year hiatus, Grammy-nominated neo-soul duo Floetry (comprised of singers/songwriters Marsha Ambrosius and Natalie ‘The Floacist’ Stewart) has reemerged on the music scene with a reunion tour, which kicked-off in Atlanta at the Wolf Creek Amphitheatre on May 15th.
Marsha Ambrosius and Natalie Stewart are the funky divas behind the neo-soul duo Floetry. Ambrosius and Stewart emerged in the mid-'90s as songwriters in demand. They're behind some of the new millennium's biggest hits, too. The pair has written tracks for Michael Jackson, Jill Scott, Glenn Lewis, and Bilal. While they're highly respected behind the scenes, Floetry is their way of moving up front.
The show also features Janine & the Mixtape. Tickets on sale Friday, June 19th.
Thursday, August 13th @ 5 PM
Jazz Discovery Series--Gina Saputo
Saturday, August 22nd @ 8 PM
Gina Saputo is a vocalist, entertainer, clinician and arranger who has already established herself as one of the hippest rising headliners on the scene.
Gina was among seven musicians chosen by Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard and Wayne Shorter to study at the Thelonius Monk Institute. During her time with the institute, she performed for the State Department in Washington, D.C., and toured Viet Nam with Herbie Hancock and Nnenna Freelon.
Gina has appeared at the Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival. She won first place at the Big Stage Vocal competition and was the vocalist for the Orange County Music Awards winning band for Best Jazz in Orange County. She’s also headlining at Club Nokia at LA Live!
Saturday, September 5th @ 8 PM
Although born in Laredo, Texas, in 1951 to a large Mexican-American family, Sanchez grew up in a suburb of L.A., where he was raised on an unusual cross section of sounds that included straightahead jazz, Latin jazz and American soul. By his teen years, his musical consciousness had been solidified by the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. Along the way, he taught himself to play guitar, flute, drums and timbales, but eventually settled on the congas.
For more than three decades as both a leader and a sideman, conguero PONCHO SANCHEZ has stirred up a fiery stew of straightahead jazz, gritty soul music, and infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources.
Thursday, September 10th @ 5 PM
Booker T. Jones
Saturday, October 3rd at 8 PM
It can be argued that it was Booker T. Jones who set the cast for modern soul music and is largely responsible for its rise and enduring popularity. On classic Stax hits like “Green Onions,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “Time Is Tight,” and “Melting Pot” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee and GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award recipient pushed the music’s boundaries, refined it to its essence and then injected it into the nation’s bloodstream. Sound the Alarm, the new album from Booker T, finds the Hammond B3 organ master looking ahead yet again, laying down his distinctive bedrock grooves amid a succession of sparkling collaborations with some of contemporary R&B’s most gifted young voices.
Thursday, October 8th @ 5 PM
Randy Weston's African Rhythm's
Saturday, October 10th at 8 PM
After contributing six decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world's foremost pianists and composers today, a true innovator and visionary. According to Langston Hughes, “When Randy Weston plays a combination of strength and gentleness virility and velvet emerges from the keys in an ebb and flow of sound seemingly as natural as the waves of the sea”.
Randy Weston has never failed to make the connections between African and American music. His dedication is due in large part to his father, Frank Edward Weston, who told his son that he was, "an African born in America." "He told me I had to learn about myself and about him and about my grandparents," Weston said in an interview, "and the only way to do it was I'd have to go back to the motherland one day."
Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Saturday, November 21st @ 8 PM
In their prime, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band successfully mixed together R&B with the instrumentation of a New Orleans brass band. Featuring Kirk Joseph on sousaphone playing with the agility of an electric bassist, the group revitalized the brass band tradition, opening up the repertoire and inspiring some younger groups to imitate its boldness.
In 2011, the group issued My Feet Can't Fail Me Now, a further extrapolation on Crescent City traditions wedded to hip-hop, modern R&B, funk, and rock. In the spring of 2012, DDBB issued the more traditional Twenty Dozen, their debut offering for Savoy Jazz.
Nicholas Payton Trio
Saturday, December 5th @ 8 PM
Trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Nicholas Payton was raised in New Orleans, a town chock-full of trumpet players and he originally followed in the footsteps of a mile-long line of tradition-based players including Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong, Al Hirt, and of course, Wynton Marsalis. Payton is the son of Walter Payton, a well-known bassist on the Crescent City jazz scene. His mother played piano. Given his upbringing in a musical family, Payton often spent upwards of ten hours a day practicing trumpet in his youth. He began playing trumpet as a four-year-old, after asking his father to get him one. He began accompanying his father to shows at clubs in his youth and had the chance to hear many great trumpet players.
Through the years, Payton has recorded and performed with Wynton Marsalis, Dr. Michael White, Christian McBride, Joshua Redman, Roy Hargrove, Doc Cheatham, and Joe Henderson, among others. He began his recording career with Verve Records, and his first album, From This Moment, was released in 1992. Two years later he performed on the soundtrack for the movie Kansas City, and in 1997 he received a Grammy Award for his playing on a collaborative album with then-nonagenarian trumpeter Doc Cheatham, Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton. He also released 1995's Gumbo Nouveau, 1997's Fingerpainting: The Music of Herbie Hancock, 1998's Payton's Place, 1999's Nick@Night, and 2001's Dear Louis.
Saturday, January 16th @ 8 PM
Bassist extraodinaire, composer, arranger, educator, curator and administrator, Christian McBride, has been one of the most important and most omnipresent figures in the jazz world for 20 years. Sometimes hard to believe considering this man is barely in his 40’s.
For over 20 years, McBride has appeared in numerous musical settings with just about any musician imaginable in the jazz as well as R&B and pop worlds. From playing with the likes of Milt Jackson, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny; to playing with and/or arranging for the likes of Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, Lalah Hathaway, Sting and the legendary James Brown—what has always been unique about McBride is his versatility.
Sun Ra Arkestra
Saturday, February 20th @ 8 PM
Famed jazz musician, composer, poet and bandleader Sun Ra was born on May 22, 1914, in Birmingham, Alabama. He began performing professionally as a teen and, after moving to Chicago in 1945, immersed himself in jazz and the blues. Along the way, Sun Ra was influenced by space, religion and radical social movements—all of which found their way into his music. A prolific composer and record label owner, he took to wearing colorful, outlandish costumes with his band members.
After Sun Ra left the planet, the Arkestra was led by tenor saxophonist John Gilmore. The spirit of Sun Ra is alive and well in the present day manifestation of the Sun Ra Arkestra with Marshall featuring a mix of classic Sun Ra compositions and arrangements alongside Marshall's own compositions and arrangements that are deeply rooted in the spirit of Sun Ra. Along with leading the Arkestra, Marshall plays the alto saxophone, flute, clarinet, oboe, kora, and EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument). He is internationally recognized as the premier avant-garde saxophonist on the planet.
Thursday, March 3rd @ 7 PM
It’s hard to think of another African-American violin player to make their mark in popular music, so classically trained South Florida twosome, Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester, who go by the name Black Violin are a welcome revelation for their ability to meld highbrow and pop culture, “Brandenburg” and “Breakdown,” into a single genre-busting act.
The band’s most recent album, Classically Trained, is the follow-up to their 2007 self-titled debut on their own Di-Versatile Music Group label, which is as good an introduction to their groundbreaking blend of classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B, and even bluegrass music.
The N.Y. Times describes them as, “Black Violin works hard, but makes it all look like play… Sometimes they play with the intense seriousness of orchestral soloists; at others they fiddle as if at a hoedown; at still others they strum the violin and viola like guitars.” In 2013, they were voted Top 5 New Band at SXSW.
Cecile McLoran Salvant
Thursday, March 31st @ 7:30 PM
Cécile McLorin Salvant was born and raised in Miami, Florida of a French mother and a Haitian father. She started classical piano studies at 5, and began singing in the Miami Choral Society at 8. Early on, she developed an interest in classical voice, began studying with private instructors, and later with Edward Walker, vocal teacher at the University of Miami.
Cécile performs unique interpretations of unknown and scarcely recorded jazz and blues compositions. She focuses on a theatrical portrayal of the jazz standard and composes music and lyrics which she also sings in French, her native language as well as in Spanish. She enjoys popularity in Europe and in the United States, performing in clubs, concert halls, and festivals accompanied by renowned musicians like Jean-Francois Bonnel, Rodney Whitaker, Aaron Diehl, Dan Nimmer, Sadao Watanabe, Jacky Terrasson (she was the guest singer on his latest album, Gouache), Archie Shepp, and Jonathan Batiste. She is the voice of Chanel's "Chance" ad campaign for the third consecutive year. In August 2012, Cécile recorded WomanChild for the Mack Avenue Label with Aaron Diehl, Rodney Whitaker, Herlin Riley and James Chirillo. Cécile's WomanChild was nominated for the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Saturday, April 9th @ 8 PM
One of the best-selling instrumentalists of the late '80s to mid-'90s, Najee has been a consistent favorite in the quiet storm and so-called "smooth jazz" markets. Often compared to Kenny G, George Howard, and Dave Koz, the New Yorker has been greatly influenced by Grover Washington Jr. -- although he hasn't been nearly as adventurous. Heavily produced and quite formulaic, Najee's albums have tended to avoid improvisation and strive for commercial radio airplay above all else. Debuting in 1987 with Najee's Theme, Najee was an immediate hit in the new adult contemporary (NAC) market.
Similar pop/urban jazz dates like 1988's Day By Day and 1990's Tokyo Blue did nothing to jeopardize his niche on smooth jazz radio. Onstage, Najee takes some risks and stretches out more. Morning Tenderness was released in 1998, followed by Love Songs (2000), Embrace (2003), My Point of View (2005), True Spirit (with John Grant, Victor Williams, and Dennis Chambers in 2006), Rising Sun (2007), and Mind Over Matter (2009). In 2012,Najee released his 14th studio album, The Smooth Side of Soul, featuring the track "First Kiss," a collaboration with R&B vocalist Phil Perry. Najee returned in 2013 with The Morning After: A Musical Love Journey which included the song "Shinjuku," a tribute to the late jazz keyboard legend George Duke.