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Performances by The Women of Influence All-Stars to be featured in kickoff event for WBGO’s Fund Drive

On Thursday, September 8 at 8 pm, Lezlie Harrison will host WBGO’s kickoff event for its September On-Air Fund Drive. This livestream will feature special performances by The Women of Influence All-Stars, who were captured live in WBGO’s Performance Studio back in May. Assembled specifically for WBGO, the group is truly an all-star collective, comprised of Lakecia Benjamim (saxophone), Regina Carter (violin), Carla Cook (vocals), Miki Hayama (piano), Mimi Jones (bass), and Shirazette Tinnin (drums). The group performed four compositions that were recorded and filmed, but that until now have not all been shown. All four will be presented during the kickoff event hosted by Harrison on Thursday evening.  

A working vocalist herself, Harrison has been with WBGO as an on-air host since 1983. She says that her affiliation with the station gave her access to the rich and vibrant jazz scene of the New York metropolitan area. “It is amazing to have witnessed, up close, my musical sisters Regina, Carla, Mimi, Lakecia, Shirazette and Miki, become these incredible bandleaders, NEA Jazz Masters, professors, and filmmakers and influencers,” she explains. “I was most proud that WBGO highlighted the some of the phenomenal women who are changing the once male-dominated jazz landscape, on stage and behind the scenes and that I was invited to host such an amazing event. And as a singer, that would certainly be considered THE dream band.”  

The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions, talk about the music in the Chat, and of course, donate to WBGO 88.3 FM. Anyone who contributes will automatically be entered to win a trip for two with WBGO’s trip to South Africa in March 2023, hosted by Ms. Harrison.  

“I am looking forward to sharing the evening with those who may have watched it before or are checking it out for the first time,” adds Harrison. “I hope to engage with the listeners about their own musical experiences with live music, women in jazz and what impact WBGO has made on their learning and being informed about the music in general and the women who make it possible.”  

For over 27 years, Lee Mergner served as an editor and publisher of JazzTimes until his resignation in January 2018. Thereafter, Mergner continued to regularly contribute features, profiles and interviews to the publication as a contributing editor for the next 4+ years. JazzTimes, which has won numerous ASCAP-Deems Taylor awards for music journalism, was founded in 1970 and was described by the All Music Guide, as “arguably the finest jazz magazine in the world.”