Chris Washburne's Rags and Roots: Album Release Celebration 
with Evan Christopher (Clarinet), André Mehmari (Piano), Sarah Elizabeth Charles (Vocals), Vuyo Sotashe (Vocals), Alphonso Horne (Trumpet), Hans Glawischnig (Bass) and Vince Cherico (Drums)
Thursday, May 11, 8:00 p.m.

Chris Washburne's Rags and Roots celebrates the release of their debut recording on ZOHO Records. Developed through the Catskill Jazz Factory and making it's New York City debut, Rags and Roots is a bi-hemispheric ragtime revival, covering a century’s worth of compositions from New Orleans, New York, Haiti, Cuba, Mexico and Brazil. By reimagining ragtime and the roots of jazz, Washburne has created a path for new audiences to discover this quintessentially American music. This album, his second ZOHO release after the critically acclaimed Low Ridin’ of 2015, embraces and sounds out the remarkable cultural diversity that contributed to the emergence of jazz.  

Celebrating 100 years of "the King of Ragtime Writers", Scott Joplin, and the birth of jazz, Rags and Roots addresses the international roots and influences from traditional folk songs to early American jazz pioneers such as Joplin, WC Handy, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. With repertoire ranging from the classic to the current, audiences can anticipate hearing legendary pieces like Maple Leaf Rag, as they were originally written in this cross-contemporary debut. This New York City premiere presentation was first performed for the Catskill Jazz Factory at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College.

"One of the best trombonists in New York" (The New York Times) joins forces with "one of Brazil's best kept secrets" (EJazz News) to lead an all-star jazz cast in a ragtime revival, celebrating Powerhouse Latin jazz trombonist Chris Washburne and Brazilian virtuoso pianist André Mehmari plus master New Orleans clarinetist Evan Christopher, acclaimed jazz and classical vocalists Sarah Elizabeth Charles and Vuyo Sotashe, trumpeter Alphonso Horne, percussionist Vincent Cherico and bassist Hans Glawischnig will come together to deliver a stunning centennial tribute to the "King of Ragtime Writers" Scott Joplin, and an exploration of the international roots of jazz.

Since the beginning of his career, Chris Washburne has refused to be pigeon-holed as just a jazz or classical player; instead, he has continually pursued a diverse path. Washburne plays trombone, bass trombone, tuba, didgeridoo and percussion with various classical, jazz, rock and Latin groups in New York City. He has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. In 1993, Washburne received a Mellon Fellowship to travel to and explore the rich musical traditions of Cuba. In 1999 he completed his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. He is currently Associate Professor of Music and Founder/Director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program at Columbia University. He has published numerous articles on jazz, Latin jazz and salsa and is the author of Sounding Salsa: Performing Latin Music in New York, as well as the editor of Bad Music. He has performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Justin Timberlake, Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Marc Anthony, Celine Dion, Anthony Braxton, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the Bang On A Can All-stars, David Byrne, Bjork, Muhal Richard Abrams, Gloria Estefan, They Might Be Giants, Chico O'Farrill, Don Richols and John Cale, among many others. He leads his own highly-acclaimed groups SYOTOS and NYNDK and is a member of FFEAR (Forum for Electo-Acoustic Research). 

Anchored in the musical vocabulary created by early Creole clarinetists such as Sidney Bechet, Omer Simeon and Barney Bigard, Evan Christopher strives to extend the legacy of the New Orleans clarinet style. Charismatic and versatile, he was drawn to New Orleans from his native California in 1994 by the rich cultural landscape and music scene. Critics remarking on Christopher’s dynamic expressiveness and intimate approach have coined his style “close-encounter music” (NEW YORK TIMES) and have called his respect for the music traditions of New Orleans, “a triumph, joining the present seamlessly to a glorious past.” (THE OBSERVER, UK). 

André Mehmari is considered one of the most talented young musicians of his native Brazil. His activities as pianist, composer, arranger and instrumentalist are highly regarded both in popular and classical music. As his compositions and arrangements have been performed by important Brazilian orchestras (OSESP) and chamber ensembles (São Paulo String Quartet), his career in jazz and Brazilian popular music has also attained wide attention as he has gained wide recognition for his music in jazz festivals and concerts. 

Sarah Elizabeth Charles is a rising vocalist/composer based in New York City. She has worked and studied with artists such as George Cables, Geri Allen, Nicholas Payton, Sheila Jordan, Jimmy Owens and Carmen Lundy and released her debut record, “Red” in September of 2012 with her band the S.E.Charles Quartet. As the active vocalist in a number of bands (including AJOYO, Manner Effect, Transient Beings and Enoch Smith Jr.’s “Misfits”), Sarah has performed at many venues throughout her career including The White House, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Gillette Stadium as a National Anthem singer for the New England Patriots, the Bern International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center, the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival, the Burlington Jazz Festival, the Apollo Music Café, Blue Note NYC, Le Poisson Rouge, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and the Rose Theatre with Jazz at Lincoln Center.Young 

South African jazz vocalist, Vuyo Sotashe, is gradually making his mark in the New York jazz scene. Sotashe moved to the NYC in 2013 after being awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a Master of Music (Spring 2015) degree at William Paterson University. Since then, he has gone to win first prize at the very first Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Vocal Competition in 2014. More recently, he won the Audience prize award and placed second over-all at the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition in 2015, held at the annual Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. In the same year he placed third in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocal competition, where he was the very first male vocalist ever to place in the competition's finals.

Uncharted is a concert series featuring New York-based artists premiering new projects or meeting with new collaborators for the first time on stage that has consistently drawn the attention of tastemakers and curators from across the city over the past three years. The Uncharted season delivers eclectic excellence in a broad selection of musical genres representing New York City’s diverse artistic community, including Mexican folkloric, ragtime, classical, electronic, jazz, ancient Moroccan devotional and contemporary R&B.

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