Donald Smith and Tulivu Donna Cumberbatch
Donald Smith and Tulivu Donna Cumberbatch

April is Jazz Appreciation Month!

On Tuesday, April 8, at 6:00pm, you can catch a special performance of jazz singers Donald Smith and Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch at the Macon Branch Public Library, located at 361 Lewis Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

BPL’s African American Heritage Center will host the event, “In The Tradition: Celebrating the Jazz, Roots and Culture of Bedford-Stuyvesant.” Join Macon Library to celebrate and explore the past present and future of jazz in Bed-Stuy!

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Donald Smith, Jazz Singer, pianist: 

Donald Smith was born in Richmond Virginia the son of an internationally know member of the Harmonizing Four, the oldest living professional gospel group in the USA. Donald attended school in Richmond. He majored in music at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a member of the school Jazz band which won three national collegiate awards as the outstanding Jazz band in the country.

Individually Smith won the national collegiate award for best male vocalist two consecutive years. As a pianist and vocalist, Donald has performed and recorded with many nationally and internationally know artists including: Art Blakey, Rahaan Roland Kirk, Benny Carter, Archie Shepp, Dizzy Gillespie, Jackie McLean, Leon Thomas, Pharoah Sanders, Oliver Lake, Yon and Chico Freeman and Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band. 

Tulivu-Donna Lynn Cumberbatch, jazz singer:

Daughter of Harold Cumberbatch (a baritone saxophone player), is a jazz singer from Brooklyn, and has been compared to Bessie Smith, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughn, Gloria Lynn, Ella Fitzgerald,Nancy Wilson, and Aretha Franklin in terms of her singing ability.

Cumberbatch began her solo career, influenced by such artists as Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nancy Wilson. Eventually, she was joined by a band of three called “The Magnificent Trio,” which consisted of Mark Johnson, Donald Smith, and Rachiim Ausar-Sahu.

In live performances, when not performing with her Trio, Cumberbatch has sung with Hannibal Peterson, Kimati Dinizulu and the Kotoko Society, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Diedre Murray, the Kronos Quartet, Akyenee Baako and Drumsong Productions, The Hank Doughty/Ray Abrams Big Band and The Cliff Smalls Septet, among others.

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