NYC’s Blue Note Jazz Festival is returning this summer to showcase a range of dynamic, culturally rich performances, but most exciting of all may be the announcement of one particular performer–the iconic Grace Jones. Back for its twelfth year, the festival is set to kick off on Wednesday, May 31, and Grace Jones is the most anticipated headliner.
Since the late 1960s, Jones has been a stage actress, high-fashion model, disco singer, photographer’s muse, new wave musician, film star and perennial trend-setter. But most relevant today is her identity as a “sexual maverick and gender bender.”
Throughout the years, Grace Jones has been a forward-thinking advocate of the LGBTQ community at large, refusing to insist on her biology for people and laughing at commentators who have repeatedly insisted on varying gender identities for her.
Jamaica-born Jones moved to NY as a teenager before finding success in the music industry in 1977, according to Variety. She signed with Island Records and immediately became an icon in NYC’s Studio 54-centered disco scene.
Jones’ most recent NYC performance was back in 2019 at the Pride Island festival–her first NYC performance since the 2015 Afropunk festival.
Other headliners include:
NxWorries (Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge)
Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
Chucho Valdés & Paquito D’Rivera
Performances will showcase a range of genres from jazz and blues to hip-hop and R&B, with artists from around the world including BJ the Chicago Kid, Kenny Garrett and Christian McBride, Paquito D’Rivera, Ron Carter, Sergio Mendes, Ms. Lisa Fischer, Julius Rodriguez, Mashina, Brandee Younger, DJ Logic, and more.
The festival will take place at seven iconic venues across NYC, including:
Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell
The Town Hall
Central Park’s SummerStage
“The Blue Note Jazz Festival is celebrating the pulse and culture of New York City, and there is no better way to do that than by experiencing iconic artists throughout iconic venues this summer,” says Blue Note director of programming, Alex Kurland, according to Billboard. “We’re proud to spotlight multi-generational, legendary artists who have had an extraordinary impact and influence on music and culture.”
Blue Note Jazz Festival will run from Wednesday, May 31 to Tuesday, June 27. More info, including ticket info and the full festival schedule, can be found on their website.
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