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Jazz & Justice

February 8 @ 6:30 pm

The Nash
110 E Roosevelt St,
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA

About This Event

ONE SHOW: 6:30pm

The Nash presents Jazz and Justice: Preserving Tradition, highlighting the themes of heritage and intergenerational transfer as one important aspects of jazz’s power as a vehicle for justice.

The Panel Discussion will explore important questions regarding equity, justice, and cultural relevance in our models, and what it means to engage with, steward, preserve, and support communities in honoring and preserving their histories and traditions. The panel comprises uniquely qualified scholars and practitioners on the topic that blends examples of historical American democracy and freedom work through music, poem and dance and discussion centering the historical, political and cultural impact of jazz. 

The Panel Discussion will be followed with a full-length performance by The Charles Lewis Quintet +1.


Christi Jay Wells, Moderator. They received their doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Their doctoral dissertation on drummer/bandleader Chick Webb and swing music in Harlem during the Great Depression received the Society for American Music’s Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award and UNC’s Glen Haydon Award for an Outstanding Dissertation in Musicology. They have also received Videmus’s Edgar A. Toppin Award for Outstanding Research in African American Music, a Morroe Berger/Benny Carter Jazz Research Fellowship from the Institute of Jazz Studies, and the Irving Lowens Article Award from the Society for American Music.

LaTasha Barnes, multi-Bessie-award winner, is an internationally awarded and celebrated dance artist, educator (Asst. Prof of Dance, Arizona State Univ.), decorated U.S. Army Veteran (SFC/ SATCOM Engineer), and Tradition Bearer of Black American Social Dance. Her love of dance and music exceeds her known life, as Barnes’ parents lovingly joke she was dancing even before she was breathing, recalling memories of LaTasha grooving in her mother’s womb while she sat next to speakers at parties LaTasha’s father DJ’d. From this early love/education her expansive artistic, competitive, and performative skills flourished and have made her a frequent collaborator to prominent artists and arts organizations around the world. She is deeply honored to be in service to her culture across social, academic, and performative spaces as shared in her March Today Show feature with Hoda & Jenna as well as her July 2022 Dance Magazine profile. Barnes deeply cherishes the guidance, support, and empowerment bestowed by her family/framily, elders, mentors, and ancestors. Their love gives her the strength to strive for authentic expression, excellence, and fulfillment in every endeavor – for them and this work LaTasha is eternally grateful. Visit www.latashabarnes.com to learn more about her journey, achievements, and ways to support her cultural efforts.

Herb Ely, in 50+ years as a practicing trial lawyer in Arizona, stood up for the rights of individuals who lack money or power to pursue issues of social and human justice. When Ely arrived in Phoenix in 1958, he joined the Phoenix Council for Civic Unity and became legal counsel and vice president for the local NAACP. Ely drafted Arizona’s civil rights bill that was signed into law in 1965, prohibiting discrimination in voting, employment, labor union membership and places of public accommodation. Ely received the 2011 Martin Luther King Servant-Leadership Award from ASU. He is an avid jazz fan and founder of The Nash.

Corcoran Holt is an international jazz artist with a wealth of experience as a jazz artist and composer. Holt became interested in education when he served as a jazz ambassador teaching master classes throughout the Middle East as part of an outreach program with the U.S. State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The following year, he was part of the Rhythm Roads tour to East Africa with the U.S. State Department. Holt’s career is characterized by a profound commitment to community engagement. Holt joined the jazz faculty of Arizona State University School of Music, Dance & Theater in the Fall of 2023.

Charles Lewis moved from Philadelphia to Arizona in 1953 to enroll in ASU as a dance major. He began playing jazz piano at the famous 7th Ave. Elks Club jams in 1954 and eventually formed his own group. Lewis sought grants to conduct “self-awareness through music” seminars for the Bureau of Indian affairs, the Dept. of Corrections and other organizations. He has served on the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Music advisory panel for the National Endowment for The Arts. At 90 years young, Lewis continues to be an iconic voice on the Arizona jazz scene and to serve as a mentor to countless vocalists and instrumentalists. Lewis offers a first-hand historical perspective on the realities of jazz and justice.

Dr. Joyce McCall, a native of Mobile, Alabama, serves as an assistant professor of music learning and teaching at Arizona State University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Music, Dance, and Theatre. Her research—positioned within the context of frameworks like critical race theory and double consciousness theory—centers on how race, class, and culture impact educational equity in music education. She also examines how certain pedagogies such as culturally relevant teaching influences learning outcomes among racially minoritized populations in the music classroom. McCall has proudly served as a clarinetist and saxophonist in the United States Army Bands from 1999 to 2013. During her service, she was awarded the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity for Women.

FREE Admission! (Please reserve seats through our ticketing site)

  • Jazz & Justice - : $0