Jazz at Lincoln Center's 2015 Gala, entitled "The World of Duke Ellington," will celebrate the indomitable spirit of swing and legacy of Duke Ellington, the most influential figure in American music. This special one-night benefit concert will take place on April 29, 2015 – on the 116th anniversary of Ellington's birth – at 7pm at Frederick P. Rose Hall, the "House of Swing," located at Broadway at 60th Street, New York, New York.
Hosted by Michael Keaton, the gala concert will feature the finest names in jazz and dance conveying the genius of Duke Ellington whose music explored all themes: love songs, siren songs, dance, civil rights, spirituals, blue mood, avant-garde, Afro-Latin and more.
Directed by Robert Pullen and drawn from a script written by historian Geoffrey Ward, "The World of Duke Ellington" will feature the critically-acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and special guests Tony Bennett, Baqir Abbas, Melissa Aldana, Jonathan Batiste, Shirley Caesar, Dick Hyman, Adriane Lenox, and Christian McBride.
Proceeds from "The World of Duke Ellington" will help to enable the thousands of performances and the diverse education programs and resources produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center each year. Through its concerts, free webcasts, direct musical instruction, and distribution of scores, Jazz at Lincoln Center reaches more than one million people globally, of all ages. The organization employs more than 1660 artists per year on its bandstands and classrooms.
On this special evening, the Ed Bradley Award for Leadership in Jazz will be presented to Jazz at Lincoln Center Board Chairman Robert J. Appel. The Award, named in honor of CBS News correspondent and original Jazz at Lincoln Center board member Ed Bradley, celebrates the integrity, wisdom and pioneering spirit of outstanding leaders and is Jazz at Lincoln Center's most distinguished award. Mr. Appel's commitment to the arts and to Jazz at Lincoln Center is unprecedented. His recent gift to this organization was the largest single private philanthropic contribution to date in support of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Jazz at Lincoln Center will also bestow the 2nd Annual Ashley Schiff Ramos Community Development in Jazz Award to Wendy Oxenhorn, Vice Chairman and Executive Director of the Jazz Foundation of America. Through this award, Jazz at Lincoln Center recognizes an extraordinary individual who uses jazz to enlist and engage people for the purpose of bringing communities together. Ms. Oxenhorn's work at the Jazz Foundation of America serves as an inspiration to keep jazz alive and to support the unique individuals in the jazz community.