Clazzical Notes Pays Homage to Women of Influence in Song and Dance

Published : Thursday, August 30, 2018 | 4:37 PM

“I have tried, in all the ways I can, to make timeless music,” said singer-songwriter Judy Collins.

And, as Clazzical Notes will reveal when it presents Women of Influence in Song and Dance – an homage to the female icons of jazz, blues, folk, and dance during the 1960s – on Friday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pasadena Museum of History, she has succeeded.

Jerri Price-Gaines, founder and executive director of Clazzical Notes, explains: “Detroit has named a street after Aretha Franklin called Aretha Franklin Way. Which makes such sense because female artists of the 60s like Aretha and Judy Collins literally forged a new ‘way’ artistically. Expressing themselves through dance and song, they liberated their art and thought from the conventions of the day – setting the path for performers today. In one evening, we cannot even begin to scrape the surface of the impact these icons had on music and dance, but we’ll pay them the respect and reverence they surely deserve.”

Dr. Mary Sue Price, Director Emeritus of the Newark Museum of Art, will travel from New Jersey to add her perspective as a curator. “These women sang their hearts and souls, their beliefs and their trials,” says Price, who will act as moderator. “The importance of the soundtrack they provided and its influence on our emerging political and social sensibilities can never be overestimated.”

Guest artists will include actress Christina Carlisi, who recently was awarded the 2018 Valley Theatre Award for Best One Person Show for her portrayal of dancer/choreographer Martha Graham in Ellen Melaver’s play, MARTHA. She will perform excerpts from this play. Joining her are vocalist and songwriter Emily James, whose debut album ‘Til the Morning was released in February 2018 and vocalist and pianist Yve Evans, who will perform a work by Nina Simone that changed the course of her life. A song Evans describes as “a song of the ages that addressed the changing times…gift wrapped.”

“It was the fall of 1969,” Evans recalls. “It was my first live jazz concert. I listened and took notes. Then the spotlight swung to meet her, far stage left. She was dressed in a gold lamè caped kaftan, golden sandals, a gold turban fashioned like a crown, gold hoop earrings, gold shadowed eyes and full lips…looking down on us from the stage as she waded slowly through the applause to the piano. She took a final bow, turned to sit, threw back her cape and sat erect on the grand piano bench. After a couple test arpeggios and two chords and a nod to the drummer, she began to sing, very slowly, “I want a little sugar in my bowl…” I was stunned. Transfixed. I dropped my pencil.”

In what Carl Jung described as “a meaningful coincidence,” Pasadena Museum of History will open an exhibition on September 29 featuring the works of women artists – “Something Revealed: California Women Artists Emerge.” In homage to this synchronicity, the museum is offering complimentary passes to the exhibit to all those who attend Clazzical Notes’ performance.

“We look forward to welcoming Clazzical Notes’ patrons to return as our guests,” says Jeannette O’Malley, Executive Director, “and getting to know them better.” The exhibit will run through March in honor of Women’s History Month.

“It’s always exciting when the visual and performing arts intersect,” Mary Sue Price adds. “The museum is a perfect backdrop for Women of Influence in Song and Dance.”

Clazzical Notes’ productions are offered free to the public. For more information about Clazzical Notes, visit or call (626) 529-5133.

Pasadena Museum of History is located at 470 West Walnut Street in Pasadena. Parking is available for free at the museum.











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