The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation announced grant funding through its Creative Inflections program to support leading jazz artists
New York, February 8, 2022 — Today, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announced nearly $1 million in grant funding through its Creative Inflections program, a first-of-its-kind initiative to support leading jazz artists and presenting organizations in innovative collaborations that enable artists to take creative risks and expand the genre’s listenership by attracting younger and more diverse audiences.
Each grant of up to $200,000 enables new and distinctive alliances between the selected artists and institutions to explore novel, interdisciplinary approaches to the way that jazz can be delivered to the next generation of jazz fans. The program aims to position jazz artists and presenting institutions as equal partners, support risk-taking by both artists and presenters, and cultivate audiences of millennials as jazz consumers.
“This cohort of Creative Inflections grant recipients brings together artists and arts presenters who are working at the forefront of modern jazz,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “These seven dynamic jazz artists are among today’s modern masters and are creating boundary-pushing work that’s engaging new generations of listeners. We’re proud to support strong partnerships between these artists and dedicated presenting organizations as they launch new interdisciplinary works that innovate within the artform and continue jazz’s rich tradition as a vehicle for social change.”
The following supported projects represent daring artistic work that tackles some of today’s most pressing issues, such as racism and racial justice, gender equity and sexism, and mass incarceration.
- “In the Green Room: Layering Legacies of Asian and Black American Women in Jazz,” a collaboration among composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, dancer and 2016 Doris Duke Artist Jen Shyu; award winning composer and pianist Sumi Tonooka; and the Asia Society to explore innovative ways of elevating the stories and legacies of Asian and Black women in jazz.
- “… (Iphigenia),” a modern-era operatic adaptation of Euripides’ ancient Grecian myth composed by legendary saxophonist and 2021 Doris Duke artist Wayne Shorter with a libretto by bassist, vocalist and composer esperanza spalding, who leads a company that includes pianist Danilo Pérez and is directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz (both 2021 Doris Duke artists); debuted by ArtsEmerson.
- “The Jazz Without Patriarchy Project,” a multi-disciplinary art and music installation, conceived by powerhouse drummer and 2019 Doris Duke Artist Terri Lyne Carrington, in collaboration with the Carr Center, that explores how gender inequity has affected the jazz genre and envisions a more equitable jazz future by requiring new standards for transformation in the field.
- “Ogresse: Envisioned,” a multimedia, animated interpretation – presented by the Walker Art Center – of a song cycle written and composed by celebrated vocalist and 2020 Doris Duke Artist Cécile McLorin Salvant, whose illustrations bring to life her musical exploration of the true story of Sara Baartman, a 19th‐century South African woman taken to Europe and put on display who now stands as a symbol of colonialist, racist and sexist exploitation.
- “The Healing Project,” a multidisciplinary abolitionist project by pianist, composer and director Samora Pinderhughes, in partnership with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, that explores the realities of resilience, healing, incarceration, policing, violence and detention in the United States.
The definition of what jazz is and what it can be continues to evolve. Initiatives like Creative Inflections are critical to providing artists with the resources to experiment and push jazz beyond its current limits. These innovative interdisciplinary projects allow artists the flexibility to expand their creative exploration in ways that have great potential to resonate with younger audiences that are increasingly drawn to hybrid artistic work.