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Symphony Center Presents Jazz - Irma Thomas, The Blind Boys of Alabama & the Preservation Hall L

The 2017/18 Symphony Center Presents (SCP) Jazz series continues with a performance featuring legendary soul singer Irma Thomas, The Blind Boys of Alabama and The Preservation Hall Legacy Quintet on Friday, October 27, at 8 p.m. Thomas and her fellow musicians showcase the lasting traditions of the French Quarter’s musical scene with their program titled “The Heart and Soul Queen of New Orleans.”

After more than a decade of collaborations among these three musical powerhouses, these artists are touring together for the first time. The longtime performers from the venerable Preservation Hall concert venue along with the Crescent City’s “Soul Queen” Irma Thomas and the gospel singers of The Blind Boys of Alabama bring a program that combines soul, blues, gospel and traditional jazz in new selections alongside traditional standards.

Irma Thomas is a Grammy Award-winning singer with a rich musical history. Her first single in 1960 reached the Billboard R&B charts, and from there she recorded for many labels including Chess and Rounder Records. Her soul-drenched voice can be heard on the Allen Toussaint-produced track “It’s Raining,” which was featured in Jim Jarmusch’s cult classic “Down By Law.” In 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded her home, destroying all her possessions and her nightclub, The Lion's Den. Her album “After the Rain”—inspired by the events of Katrina—won Thomas a Grammy Award, as well as a Blues Music Award for Soul-Blues Album of the Year. She was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007, featured on the poster of the world-famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2008, and inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2009.

The Blind Boys of Alabama have the rare distinction of being recognized around the world as both living legends and modern-day innovators. These six-time Grammy Award winners are not just gospel singers borrowing from old traditions; the group helped to define those traditions in the 20th century and have created a new gospel sound for the 21st. Since the original members first sang together as children in the late 1930s, the band has become one of the most recognized and decorated roots music groups in the world. In 2005, they released “Down in the New Orleans,” which won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album. Apart from their Grammy Awards, the Blind Boys have received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and have been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

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