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Women To Watch: 3 Young Jazz Artists You Need To Know

Melanie Charles, Lakecia Benjamin and María Grand
Weird Hours / Elizabeth Leitzell / Dimitri Louis
Courtesy of the artists
Melanie Charles, Lakecia Benjamin and María Grand

One question we often hear at Jazz Night in America is, 'Who are the young musicians to look out for?' There are many contenders, of course, and we try to do our part in featuring their efforts. To that end, this episode of Jazz Night spotlights three bright women coming into their own as artists: Vocalist and flutist Melanie Charles, and saxophonists Lakecia Benjamin and María Grand. Each woman has a unique story to tell, as we'll hear in this show, which also features a healthy dose of their music, recorded on the bandstand at Dizzy's Club in New York.


  • "Spiral" (John Coltrane)
  • "Liberia" (John Coltrane)
  • "West" (María Grand)
  • "Damballah Wedo" (Traditional - Arrangement: Eddy Bourjolly)
  • "Symphony" (Melanie Charles)
  • "Billie's Blues" (Billie Holiday)

    Lakecia Benjamin Quartet: Lakecia Benjamin, alto saxophone; Yeisson Villamar, piano; Lonnie Plaxico, bass; Darrell Green, drums.

    María Grand Quartet: María Grand, tenor saxophone and vocals; Faye Victor, vocals; Savannah Harris, drums; Kanoa Mendonhall, drums.

    Melanie Charles and Make Jazz Trill Again: Melanie Charles, flute and vocals; Jonathan Michel, bass; Luke Carlos O'Reilly, piano; Charles Haynes, drums; Godwin Louis, soprano saxophone; Rogerst Charles, alto saxophone.


    Producer: Sarah Kerson; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey; Executive Producers: Amy Niles, Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundman; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Recording Engineer: Rob Macomber.

    Copyright 2021 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.