MELBA’S KITCHEN swings open its door at YOSHIs to oﬀer a tasty menu of music by Black women musical geniuses. Training the spotlight on the tremendous trombonist, composer, and arranger MELBA LISTON, the 14 women big band explores the formidable contributions of Liston, Mary Lou Williams, and their friends. This unique band of women stirs it up in an atmosphere of kindness, joy, political action, and fun.
MELBA’S KITCHEN honors the under-recognized jazz great MELBA LISTON. Liston toured with and wrote for Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Gerald Wilson, and collaborated for decades - in the Ellington/ Strayhorn mode - with piano titan Randy Weston. Liston had a great big beautiful sound on the trombone, and was a pioneer as a woman in jazz. She arranged for many, including Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Marvin Gaye, Clark Terry, and Ruth Brown, as well as for Mary Lou Williams, one of her inspirations and dear friends. Williams, an activist for jazz, was a virtuosic and inspired pianist, composer, and arranger. MELBA’S KITCHEN intends to bring Liston’s and Williams’ names into your musical household.
Expanding the musicians’ previous engagement with Liston’s and Williams’ music, band members have pivoted, post-Lockdown, to delve deeper into the sounds from their archives. Melba Liston’s music imbues the band and its listeners with collaborative strength and imagination; Mary Lou Williams’ work inspires beauty and survival. On the longest day of the year, MELBA’S KITCHEN's June 21st Summer Solstice performance ignites a celebration.