Alicia Olatuja Quintet Comes to Weis Center in Free Jazz Performance

Alicia Olatuja Quintet will bring jazz music to the stage on Tuesday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby. The performance is free and tickets are not required.

There will be a free pre-performance talk with the artist from 1-2 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby.

The performance is sponsored, in part, by David and Clayton Lightman and family. This engagement is made possible through the Jazz Touring Network program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Alicia will be joined by band members: Jon Cowherd on piano, David Rosenthal on guitar, Ben Shepherd on bass and Xavier Breaker on drums.

Praised by the New York Times as “a singer with a strong and luscious tone and an amiably regal presence on stage”, Alicia Olatuja has been astounding audiences with her exquisite vocals, artistic versatility and captivating demeanor.

She first came into the national spotlight in 2013, while performing as the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration. Shortly thereafter, she assembled her own jazz based ensemble and recorded her first solo album, “Timeless” (2014).

Downbeat says, “Olatuja possesses a special instrument: a full-bodied tone, precise pitch and personal engagement at the lowest whisper or highest wail.”

Originally from St. Louis, Mo., Alicia grew up immersed in a wide range of musical styles, including gospel, soul, jazz and classical. These influences have informed her artistic journey, and she later graduated with a masters degree in Classical Voice/Opera from the Manhattan School of Music. After appearing in numerous operatic and musical theater productions, she started to perform more regularly in gospel and jazz concerts and worked with such esteemed artists as Chaka Khan, BeBe Winans and Christian McBride.

In 2014, Alicia came to the attention of the acclaimed composer/arranger/pianist Billy Childs, and was brought on to be part of the touring incarnation of “Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro” alongside vocalist Becca Stevens. The project has begun an extensive nationwide tour for the 2015-16 season in cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Tallahassee, New York, and Boston.

Her voice has also entranced the legendary Hammond B3 organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and she has recently performed with him at multiple events including the Charlie Parker Festival and the BRIC JazzFest.

Alicia’s own band, over the past year, has been steadily in demand, and they have performed at the Jazz Standard, Vermont Jazz Center, Sioux Falls JazzFest, Rockport Jazz Festival, Markham Jazz Festival, Monty Alexander Jazz Fest, and the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, to name a few.

For more information about this performance, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by e-mail at lisa.leighton@bucknell.edu.

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to www.bucknell.edu/WeisCenter or search for the Weis Center on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.