Opening Night of our 2023 Summer Concert Season
Event cover photo courtesy: Newdawnphotos Bobby D
Evans’ assets -which once made her the toast of pre-Katrina New Orleans- include her sultry, sometimes silken, always smoking hot vocals and vibrant stage presence.Owen McNally, WNPR Jazz Corridor
- Samirah Evans — vocals
- Haneef Nelson — trumpet
- Andrew Wilcox – piano
Samirah Evans will perform jazz standards, some in tribute to her favorite New Orleans artists, as well as highlight a few of her own originals. Evans will be accompanied by trumpeter Haneef Nelson and pianist Andrew Wilcox.
During her career as a performer and recording artist, Samirah has become known for her dynamic and soulful approach to music, especially in the jazz and blues genres. Her musical style is heavily influenced by the New Orleans sound where she was one of the city’s most popular and in-demand singers for nearly 20 years.
Her 1990 debut at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival began a run of 15 consecutive appearances, either as a leader or featured vocalist, and she was a fixture in clubs and concert venues throughout the Crescent City, including Snug Harbor, Tipitina’s and the House of Blues. Evans has toured North and South America, Europe and Asia, sharing stages with a multitude of New Orleans notables and legendary artists, including James Brown, B.B. King, Dr. John, Aaron and Charles Neville, Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krew, Sheila Jordan, Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison Jr., Michael Franks, Poncho Sanchez, Katie Webster, Bob Dorough, Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty, Duke Robillard, Levon Helm, Jaimoe (of the Allman Brothers), and Sam Kininger.
Hurricane Katrina caused Samirah to relocate to her husband’s hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont. She has since been performing in venues and festivals throughout the northeast with her band, Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils, and her classic New Orleans R&B choir, the NOLABratts, among other projects.
Samirah Evans is a skilled, energetic vocalist who fosters a magnetically charged relationship with her numerous fans. Perhaps that’s because she puts so much of herself into her art – she makes each song her own by probing its essence and then imbuing it with her own, authentic, heart-felt personality.Eugene Uman, Vermont Jazz Center Artistic Director
The New Orleans Times Picayune named Evans’ debut CD, Give Me a Moment, the fifth best new release of 2002. She has recorded two other full-length CDs as a leader, My Little Bodhisattva (2007) and Hot Club: Live at the Vermont Jazz Center (2009), in addition to several downloadable singles. She has also appeared as a featured or supporting vocalist on other artist’s recordings in New Orleans and New England.
Evans dedicates time to perpetuating American Jazz and blues music. She is currently an Artist Associate in Jazz Voice at Williams College, and offers vocal instruction from her home studio. She founded the “Ladies in Jazz” series to highlight collaborations between female singers and musicians, and the “Sam’s Sunday Set and Shed” musical mentoring program to spotlight artist-protege relationships in the region. In New Orleans, Evans participated in the Blues Schoolhouse sponsored by the House of Blues Foundation and hosted a show for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation radio station, WWOZ.
Haneef is a New York native currently residing in Hartford, CT. Nelson, a Composer/Arranger, Bandleader, Sideman, Musical Curator, and Educator, is making his mark and solidifying his place as one of the pillars in his community. Nelson has performed and recorded with jazz legends including: Avery Sharpe, Yoron Israel, Chico Freeman, Ricky Ford, Dee Alexander, Steve Davis, as well as numerous others. And though he has an impressive Massachusetts following he consistently tours and performs nationally and internationally.
Haneef Nelson — You can hear the lineage of all of the great trumpeters past and present in every note he plays, and is known for his commitment and versatility.Hal Weary, Professor at California State University
Andrew is one of Hartford’s rising young musicians. Originally from Boylston, MA, Andrew has proven himself to be a talented young pianist, with a passion to learn, grow and play. Andrew has performed alongside many of his mentors and masters of jazz including: Haneef Nelson, Nat Reeves, Yoron Israel, Avery Sharpe, Abraham Burton, Jonathan, Barber, Alex Tremblay and Matt Dwonszyk. Thus far, Wilcox’s greatest claim to fame is when one of his teachers connected him to Grammy Award nominee jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn that led him to sub for her pianist at the Newport Jazz Festival.