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Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival Celebrates Female Musicians

 Grammy-nominated composer and jazz pianist Geri Allen will host a master class at the
Grammy-nominated composer and jazz pianist Geri Allen will host a master class at the "Jazz! The Women's Viewpoint" event at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation on April 16.
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BROOKLYN — Jazz tunes will fill the air in Bedford-Stuyvesant this weekend as the 17th annual Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival celebrates women in the art form.

Saturday's day-long event “Jazz! The Women’s Viewpoint" pays tribute to female musicians and vocalists in the mostly male-dominated industry, according to organizers.

“A lot of people know that women don’t really have a very big voice in the jazz community,” said Bessie Edwards, chair of the Jazz! The Women’s Viewpoint program.

“We thought this would be a good time to give voice to women who work in the jazz profession, not only just to sing but have some input in their thoughts about how it could change and give them better opportunities.”

This year’s series brings the addition of a free master class with composer, educator and Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Geri Allen, as well as an evening concert.

The day’s events kick off with a reception and a “Jazz! Change is Coming” panel discussion exploring women in jazz in the 21st century, their challenges, and experiences in the field, organizers said.

Panelists include vocalists Jazzmeia Horn, Vivian Sessoms, Ebony Jo-Ann and Sheila Anderson, host of Weekend Jazz After Hours on WGBO Jazz 88.

“We wanted to do more than just provide a performance, we really wanted to do a deep dive into what it means as a business, as an aesthetic, as an arts field, and a point of view of where a woman’s voice fits within that entire landscape,” said Indira Etwaroo, executive director for Restoration’s Center for Arts and Culture.

Tickets to the 7 p.m. concert are $20, and include a complimentary glass of wine.

The events are part of the 2016 Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival, which spans across neighborhood businesses and venues from April 15 through May 15. 

“Our mission is to promote and expand the jazz audience, and pay tribute to people from Brooklyn who have been successful in jazz,” Edwards said.

“It’s an opportunity for people to get out and enjoy first-class jazz at an affordable rate.”

“Jazz! The Women’s Viewpoint" is being hosted by the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium in partnership with The Center for Arts & Culture at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. For more information on the April 16 events, visit the Center for Arts and Culture website here.

Details on the Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival can be found at the organization’s website.