Jack Kleinsinger Presents Highlights in Jazz at BMCC Tribeca PAC

The Highlights in Jazz concert series celebrates its 50th anniversary on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

Founded and produced by Jack Kleinsinger, Highlights in Jazz is New York’s longest-running Jazz concert series. NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, guitarist Russell Malone, and bassist Jay Leonhart will accompany the anniversary show, along with surprise guests.

Photo credit: Highlights in Jazz

The milestone 50th anniversary of Jack Kleinsinger’s Highlights in Jazz has experienced delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he never lost hope. “I was sure I’d celebrate this anniversary, though I wasn’t sure it would happen in 2023,” says producer Kleinsinger. “I was determined to do a 50th concert somehow. And here I am, at it again,” he notes with a laugh.

The Highlights in Jazz concert series has attracted the attention of not only audiences but musicians as well. “I must be there,” declared Sheila Jordan, as soon as she heard the golden anniversary concert was in the works. The anniversary concert marks a return after a short absence for Jordan, last performing at the March 22, 2022 show.

The singer is a force to reckon with, still performing at the age of 94. “Sheila lives by Sheila’s laws, she blows my mind,” declares fellow musician Art Baron. Baron and Jordan have known each other since the ’80s, and have performed together alongside Roswell Rudd, George Gruntz, and others.

Unlike previous years, the 50th-anniversary show for Highlights in Jazz will not feature a “living legends” concert, due to this year’s abbreviated schedule. “Since the start, we saluted a living jazz artist every year. I believe in doing it while they’re alive and it means something, that’s part of our tradition. Lionel Hampton was the first living legend we saluted and it became an annual tradition,” Kleinsinger said. However, two previous living legend honorees, bassist Jay Leonhart, and guitarist Russell Malone are part of the 50th-anniversary lineup.

This year’s Tribeca performance comes as Kleinsinger does some serious reflection on his career. “This may be the last concert I ever do. “It’s bittersweet because there have been so many losses to covid. I’m ready to pack it in. I’m doing one concert, I’m not ready to do a whole season, that’s a lot of work,” Kleinsinger said.

Whether the Highlights in Jazz 50th anniversary will mark Kleinsinger’s last hurrah is still to be determined, but fans can always count on Kleinsinger to continue supporting the music and the musicians so dear to him.

Tickets for the Highlights in Jazz 50th Anniversary Gala are available here.

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