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NC Year of Music: Celebrating local jazz legends

October, 2019 — Across the next few months, Charlotte will be filled with the internationally recognized sounds of jazz greats from our own back yard.

Many North Carolina musicians have made North Carolina music globally appreciated and celebrated. Recognized jazz visionaries include John Coltrane, Nina Simone, Thelonious Monk, Billy Taylor, and Max Roach.

JazzArts Charlotte has created a three month Local Legends series to include tributes to several: Thelonious Monk, Nina Simone and John Coltrane. The JAZZ ROOM focuses three shows during Season 14 to the music of these defining musicians. In addition, JazzArts Charlotte is offering a lunchtime conversation in advance of each show, free and open to the public.

This amazing recognition is supported by a grant from North Carolina Arts Council. Driven initially by The State of North Carolina’s proclamation of 2019 the Year of Music, this is a part of an initiative called Come Hear NC. Come Hear NC is designed to celebrate North Carolinians groundbreaking contributions to music.

“We are excited for this partnership.” Says Lonnie Davis, JazzArts Charlotte CEO. “It is a perfect fit with all three legs of our mission inside this community: education, performance, and musician support.” Currently, nearly 25,000 North Carolinians work in music occupations including musicians and singers, directors, composers, instrument makers, producers, event promoters, and more.

JazzArts Charlotte’s 10th birthday celebration begins officially in October. We are excited to share this birth month with none other than Thelonious Monk, a North Carolina jazz icon. The unique improvisational style of Thelonious Monk, along with his personal style, were mocked before they were recognized as genius. He is now the second most recorded jazz composer. Therefore we kick off this series with Ernest Turner plays Thelonious Monk.

In November, we focus on the impact of Nina Simone. Civil rights activist Nina Simone’s voice put her in both the NC Music Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

We wrap up this series in January with John Coltrane. The documentary “Chasing Trane” celebrates his influential impact on the development of free jazz.

The roots of many music genres of American music began here. To hear more about these artists, and to hear their music live, join JazzArts Charotte for our Local Legends series. See Below or go to for more information and tickets.


October: Thelonious Monk

Learn about Local Legends Part 1: Thelonious Monk
Friday October 18, noon-1:00, Stage Door Theater.  FREE

JAZZ ROOM:  Ernest Turner plays Thelonious Monk
October 18 & 19, Stage Door Theater

November: Nina Simone

Learn about Local Legends Part 2: Nina Simone
Friday, November 22, noon-1:00, Main Library.  FREE

JAZZ ROOM:  Vanessa Ferguson sings Nina Simone
November 22 & 23, Stage Door Theater

January, John Coltrane

Learn about Local Legends Part 3: John Coltrane
January 17, noon-1:00, Main Library.  FREE

JAZZ ROOM: Phillip Whack plays John Coltrane, The Impulse Years
January 17 & 18, Stage Door Theater


About Come Hear NC
Come Hear NC is a year-long mission designed to celebrate, support, and sustain North Carolinians’ groundbreaking contributions to American music. From banjo and guitar innovators Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, to Nina Simone, George Clinton, Etta Baker, James Taylor, J. Cole, the Avett Brothers, and everywhere in between, North Carolina musicians have made an impact on audiences across the globe. Over 40,000 North Carolinians work in the music industry today. You can learn more about the state’s musical history and thriving presence on the Come Hear NC website with daily posts highlighting these achievements on the “365 Days of Music” blog at

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