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McCarter presents 2023 JAZZ IN JUNE

originally published: 03/01/2023

McCarter presents 2023 JAZZ IN JUNE

Melissa Aldana, photo by Eduardo Pavez Goye 

(PRINCETON, NJ) -- McCarter Theatre has announced the 2023 JAZZ IN JUNE line up – six premiere events over three weekends, starting with the 2023 Grammy Award Winner for Best New Artist, Samara Joy on Friday, June 2.  Jazz in June 2023 is sponsored by WRTI.  The full roster includes legends Chucho Valdés and Paquito D'Rivera, on Friday, June 9, nineteen-year-old piano virtuoso Joey Alexander on Saturday, June 10, Blue Note tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana on Friday, June 16, and ending the three-weekend celebration when visionary composer Maria Schneider brings her 18-member ensemble to perform the most daring work of her career on Saturday, June 17. Concerts begin at 8:00pm.

World-renowned clarinetist and composer Oran Etkin, will encourage and empower a new generation to become fluent in the language of music with Orin Etkin: Timbalooloo, a special JAZZ IN JUNE FAMILY EVENT on Saturday, June 3 at 11:00am.

“We are thrilled to continue the legacy of McCarter’s beloved Jazz Series,” said Paula Abreu, Director of Special Programming.   “The 2023 Jazz in June series will bring an exciting roster of jazz musicians to Princeton, with concerts by an outstanding new generation of artists as well as legends who continue to pave the way.” 

Tickets for Jazz in June start at $25 and are now on sale at or can be purchased by calling the Patron Services Office at 609-258-2787.  Jazz Lovers can save 20% off tickets when they purchase all five events, save 15% off when they select four events or save 10% off when they select three events, with a three or five-event McCarter Choice Pass.  Zone Restrictions may apply.  Discount cannot be applied to previously purchased tickets and are not valid on tickets for Timbalooloo. 

SAMARA JOY - Friday, June 2 at 8:00pm in McCarter’s Berlind Theatre – McCARTER DEBUT! An American jazz singer from New York City, Samara Joy had already been making waves in the jazz scene before being thrust onto the national stage at the 2023 Grammys, where she took home the coveted Best New Artist award. The smooth, velvety alto lent her dulcet tones to vintage jazz and pop standards on her eponymous debut album in 2021; for her Verve Records debut Linger Awhile (which won Best Jazz Vocal Album at the Grammys), she pays homage to Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson, and adds original lyrics to instrumental solos, sung note for note.

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JAZZ IN JUNE FAMILY EVENT:   ORAN ETKIN: TIMBALOOLOO – McCARTER DEBUT! Saturday, June 3 at 11:00am in McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. All Tickets $25 (inclusive of handling fees). Recommended for ages 2 – 8, older or younger family members or friends are welcome, too!  All attendees must have their own ticket.  Complimentary admissions for children under the age of one (babes in arms) may be acquired by calling McCarter’s Patron Services office.

Oran Etkin is widely regarded as one of the top clarinetists and composers of his generation. The No. 1 rising star clarinetist in a recent DownBeat magazine Critic’s Poll, Etkin has garnered significant acclaim as a writer and player. But with Timbalooloo, he seeks to do more than just play; the program strives to expose children and families to the richness of global culture in New York and beyond, empowering a new generation to become fluent in the language of music. The educational program comprises classes, workshops, and albums like Finding Friends Far From Home: A Journey with Clara Net, which Etkin will perform at McCarter.

CHUCHO VALDÉS AND PAQUITO D’RIVERA REUNIONFriday, June 9 at 8:00pm in McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. (NJ’s own Paquito D’Rivera makes his McCARTER DEBUT!) Chucho Valdés and Paquito D’Rivera made their names together in Valdés’ band Irakere, which fused jazz, classical, rock, and Afro-Cuban music in a transcendental evolution of Latin Jazz. But they went their separate ways in 1980, and while they continued to work and perform—Valdés with Irakere, solo, and with other small groups, and D’Rivera with string quartets, chamber groups, and symphony orchestras—they had not worked together in decades. But last year, more than 40 years since D’Rivera left Irakere, they reunited for a new album called I Missed You Too!, assembling a reunion sextet and touring the world together once again. Separately, they’ve collected more than 25 Grammys and Latin Grammys, among other prominent distinctions—D’Rivera was even named Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts in 2005. Together again, they bring more than 60 years of friendship and music to McCarter.

JOEY ALEXANDERSaturday, June 10 at 8:00pm in McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. Returning to McCarter’s Jazz in June is Grammy Award nominated and acclaimed Indonesian jazz pianist Joey Alexander who taught himself to play jazz at six by listening to his father's jazz records, won the Grand Prix at the 2013 Master-Jam Fest when he was nine, and by 11 years old, he had released his first album My Favorite Things, the first Indonesian artist to crack the Billboard 200 album chart. He’s made waves for his virtuosic renditions of standards like Thelonious Monk’s Round Midnight, but he continues to grow as an artist: Now 19 - His fifth and latest album Origin (released last year) is his first to feature entirely original compositions. 

MELISSA ALDANA QUARTETFriday, June 16 at 8:00pm in McCarter’s Berlind Theatre – McCARTER DEBUT! Brooklyn-based, Chile-born bandleader and tenor sax player Melissa Aldana wields a deeply meditative interpretation of language and vocabulary. She’s the first female instrumentalist to win the Thelonious Monk Award in 2013, which led to a contract with Concord Jazz to record her LP Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio in 2014. Tracks from her last two albums—2019’s Visions and last year’s 12 Stars—were nominated for the Best Improvised Jazz Solo Performance Grammy. 12 Stars, her first LP for the storied jazz label Blue Note, grapples with heavy concepts; childrearing, familial forgiveness, acceptance, and self-love, written and recorded in the wake of a long relationship.

MARIA SCHNEIDER ORCHESTRA - Saturday, June 17 at 8:00pm in McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. A titan in her field, Maria Schneider has been blurring the lines between genres from her first recording, 1994’s Evanescence. She’s been honing and developing her own personal writing style for her 18-member collective ever since. She’s won Grammys in multiple genres (seven wins on 14 nominations), collaborated with David Bowie on his final album ★, and was named Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2019. Her latest double-album, 2020’s Data Lords, won two Grammys, was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, named Jazz Album of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association and NPR, and won France's prestigious Grand Prix de l'Académie du Jazz. The LP melds her art and advocacy, which has led her to testify before the Congress on digital intellectual property rights, as well as write various white papers on the digital music economy. NPR’s Nate Chinen dubbed the album “the most daring work of Schneider's career.”

An independent not-for-profit performing arts center located between New York City and Philadelphia – and on the campus of Princeton University – McCarter is a multi-disciplinary creative and intellectual hub offering theater, music, dance, spoken word, and educational programs for all ages that inspires conversations, connections and collaborations in our communities. They lead with their values of justice and joy, and we seek beauty in belonging. Celebrated for developing new work and winner of the 1994 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, world premieres include Christopher Durang's Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike (Tony, Best Play), Tarell Alvin McCraney's The Brother/Sister Plays, Emily Mann's Having Our Say. Renowned artists who have appeared at McCarter include: Alvin Ailey, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra McDonald, David Sedaris, The Moth, Terence Blanchard, Roseanne Cash, the rock band Lake Street Dive, Shawn Colvin, more. McCarter connects with the community year-round via various community reading event opportunities, digital programming, on-site classes and in-school residencies. McCarter and Princeton University share a long history of unique partnerships and creative collaborations.

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