Sarah Elizabeth Charles Photo by Matthew Pandolfe
Friday, March 23, 8pm
PONCHO Concert Hall
710 E Roy St
Presented by Earshot Jazz and Cornish Presents
Earshot Jazz and Cornish Presents are pleased to welcome vocalist/composer Sarah Elizabeth Charles & SCOPE to Seattle on Friday, March 23, in support of her recently released third album, Free of Form. The New York-based artist brings to the PONCHO stage her SCOPE project.
Following two phenomenal releases—2012’s debut RED and 2015’s Inner Dialogue—Free of Form has marked Sarah Elizabeth Charles as a vocalist on the rise—and one with a message. With her veteran band of Jesse Elder (keys), Burniss Earl Travis II (bass), and John Davis (drums), along with trumpeter and co-producer Christian Scott, Charles delivers an eclectic set of compositions, both original and re-interpretations (including a haunting rendering of The Cranberries’ “Zombie”), that showcase her supple vocal prowess and powerful, contemplative lyricism. Through ambient wanderings, looped and layered vocals, somber percussion, and nuanced melodies, Charles nimbly touches on subjects including the Black Lives Matter movement, the criminal justice system, both home and abroad, and more.
As the active vocalist in a number of bands, including SCOPE, Ajoyo, Manner Effect, and others, Charles has performed at many venues throughout her career, such as The White House, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and the Blue Note. She has worked and studied with artists including George Cables, Geri Allen, Nicholas Payton, and Carmen Lundy.
In addition to performing, Charles is an active educator. She works as a teaching artist with Carnegie Hall’s Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Lullaby Project, and Future Music Project Youth workshops, and is developing an early childhood music education program with Rise2Shine, a non-profit organization based in Haiti.
It was these experiences through which Free of Form began to take shape. While her sophomore album, Inner Dialogue was highly introspective, her latest release brings to light her incisive sociopolitical analysis. Charles tells NPR: “Three or four years ago, that work started to become much more a part of my creative process and much more of a direct inspiration for my composition…. It just made sense for me to look outward.”
Courage and empathy are major themes carried throughout the album, as Charles said to DownBeat: “Free of Form is evidence of the courage that doing this type of work has given me. I’ve been working with a lot of people who come from all different backgrounds and have been faced with various things in their life that line up on all ends of the spectrum….The level of empathy necessary to engage in the environment that I’ve been lucky enough to engage in, on all sides, has just really brought my attention to a completely different space.”
Do not miss this chance to hear this “soulfully articulate” (New York Times), boundary-pushing artist.
Tickets for Sarah Elizabeth Charles & SCOPE are $18 adult, $16 Earshot members and senior citizens, $10 students and military and are available at earshot.org.