“The best young straight-ahead jazz singer of her generation” is what The Wall Street Journal said of Brianna Thomas. On July 13, Thomas will deliver a powerful tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) through the iconic works of two musical legends. Nina Simone (“The High Priestess of Soul”) and Mahalia Jackson (“The Queen of Gospel”) individually crafted worlds of sound in jazz, pop, soul, gospel, and spirituals that were inextricably linked to the life, philosophy, and leadership of Dr. King.

Thomas laces together these uplifting narratives in dazzling new arrangements featuring guest trombone legend Wycliffe Gordon and an ensemble of powerhouse soloists, including trumpeter Bruce Harris, pianist James Hurt (piano), and guitarist Marvin Sewell, as well as alto saxophonist Patrick Bartley, Jr., keyboardist Conun Pappas, percussionist Fernando Saci, bassist Ryan Berg, and drummer Kyle Poole. Musical selections will range from the passionate and fearless “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” and “Feeling Good”—both performed by Simone—to the soulful favorite “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” which Jackson performed at several civil rights rallies.

Contact NYBG for ticket information