WBGO Blog
  • 17th Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival .. A Report from Tickets Winner Nicki Mathis

    May 17, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Nicki Mathis, a performer and presenter in Hartford, CT, won free tickets to all three nights of the Mary Lou Williams Festival at the Kennedy Center, May 10-12.  The Kennedy Center is 350 miles from Hartford, but if Nick even considered not making the trip, she never let on.  She and I sat in row H along with Mary Lou Williams's two sisters and other family members. Like royalty.

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    Becca Pulliam and Nicki Mathis on the Kennedy Center Terrace

    Here is Nicki's report:

    To be able to attend the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival would not have happened for me without WBGO's JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater sweepstakes tickets incentive! Thank you for making me feel welcome.

    Highlights for me were seeing so many of the jazz ladies -- Linda Oh and gentleman Rudy Royston, Allison Miller, phenomenal Terri Lyne Carrington, Tia Fuller, Mimi Jones I know and enjoy.  Carmen Lundy I have met. I picked up her CD. So much enjoyed meeting and hearing Dee Dee Bridgewater perform live again since The Wiz (Dee Dee won a Tony Award for her Wiz role in the 1970s -- BP). Always enjoy Ingrid Jensen. Good to finally see/hear Diane Monroe/Carla Cook. The biggest thrill was Candido, obviously touched by the creator.

    Overall, I missed hearing traditional jazz and seeing more jazzwomen bandmembers.

    Candido was the musical guest of Jane Bunnett, the Canadian flute/saxophonist, and pianist Hilario Duran from Cuba. Candido recently celebrated his 92nd birthday. He worked with both Billy Taylor (founder of this Fest) and Mary Lou Williams. There is nothing like his tuneful, percussive, hands-on-skins conga sound. We will have more pictures.

    Carla Cook performs during the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival on May 11, 2012 in the Terrace Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
    Carla Cook performs during the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival on May 11, 2012, in the Terrace Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.