Students have a rare opportunity to see jazz history in the making

“Wouldn’t it have been cool to see Ella Fitzgerald as a young artist?” said Christine Offer, artistic presenting manager for the Chan Centre for the performing arts. Wouldn’t it be cool to see a Grammy-Award-winning drummer? You know what would be even cooler? To see them both together.

For one night, and one night only, UBC students have the unprecedented opportunity to see up-and-coming jazz-vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant alongside Grammy-Award-winning drummer, band-leader and producer Terri Lyne Carrington.

On February 15 at 7 p.m. in the Chan Shun Concert Hall of the Chan Centre, 25-year-old Cécile McLorin Salvant will make her Vancouver debut, featuring songs from her Grammy-nominated recording "WomanChild."

“Cécile has burst onto the scene, signed by the same manager as Wynton Marsalis,” said Offer. “Her debut here is particularly exciting when one contemplates the trajectory her career is on.

“As one of our UBC School of Music professors commented to me recently, ‘she is a goddess,’” a goddess compared by critics to Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald.

While this is hardly Carrington’s debut given her 20-year career on the jazz scene, this is her first time leading. She will be performing works from her album "The Mosaic Project," which received a Grammy in 2012 for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

The Mosaic Project is a celebration of “female artistry in the form of a compilation featuring various well-respected women of the jazz world,” said Offer.

“Now there are so many women who play and I wanted to celebrate that,” said Carrington. “It’s very powerful to see so many women on stage playing at such a high level.”

This concert represents the power of music: its capacity to implicate something greater, and create social change.

“These artists are making their mark on jazz in an industry that is constantly making strides towards better equality,” said Offer. “Due to traditional perceptions in many cultures, it has been historically more difficult for females to become recognized as instrumentalists than songstresses. As a whole, this show demonstrates how times are changing.”

The most important thing should not be lost in these social reflections, however, according to Carrington. And the most important thing is the music.

“The point is not that they’re female,” said Carrington. “The point is that they’re excellent musicians."

Carrington spins a contemporary flare on her jazz, mixing in funk, soul and blues. “I’m not a purist, so I try to mix styles, mix genres,” said Carrington. “So even those who think they don’t like jazz enjoy it.”

Students can purchase tickets for $15, available at the Chan Centre Ticket Office.

Correction: A previous version of this article listed the incorrect date and time for Cécile McLorin Salvant's Vancouver debut. The Ubyssey regrets the error.