The Brooklyn Conservatory presents Midsummer Nights 2024, our annual free live music series!

As the hot sun sinks, Midsummer Nights will bring another kind of heat to Seventh Ave with four golden-hour concerts on BKCM’s front stoop on July 18, July 25, August 1 and August 8 at 6:30 PM.

This year’s series is curated by rising jazz star and 2023-24 BKCM Jazz Leadership Fellow Melanie Charles and Make Jazz Trill Again, the NYC-based collective she co-founded. Melanie has handpicked a lineup of artists who are expanding the borders of contemporary jazz in NYC, infusing elements of R&B, hip-hop, Latin, African and experimental musical traditions across four concerts that offer something for music lovers of all ages and backgrounds.

Limited seating will be available in front of BKCM’s building at 58 Seventh Ave. RSVP and learn more about this year’s curator and artists below!

A flyer for the Midsummer Nights concert series

About Melanie Charles:

There are very few artists whose sound can capture the sentiments of a generation. The Brooklyn-born-and-raised Melanie Charles is one of these artists. Over the past few decades, she has made a name for herself through dynamic engagements with jazz, soul and R&B. Her bold genre-bending style has been embraced by a range of artists including Wynton Marsalis, SZA, Mach-Hommy, Gorillaz and The Roots. In 2021, she appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk and stunned with her eclectic style. Through it all, she has remained committed to making music that pushes listeners to consider new possibilities — both sonically and politically. Make Jazz Trill  Again a project that she launched in 2016, demonstrates her allegiance to everyday people, especially the youth, and is focused on taking jazz from the museum to the streets. “I love jazz, I really fell in love with it deeply. But I was interested in young people interacting with it,” Charles says. The album Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women is reflective of Charles’ tremendous versatility and imagination as an artist, but also of her deep care for community. 

About Make Jazz Trill Again

Make Jazz Trill Again (MJTA) began as a modest hashtag in the mid-2010s by Melanie Charles, evolving into a cultural movement advocating for the revitalization of independent jazz in the digital age. Today, MJTA thrives as a dynamic network, curating performances, hosting a podcast series, and organizing the Trill Mega Jam—a vibrant, improvisation-centered event. Musicians of diverse backgrounds and skill levels come together in unconventional spaces, celebrating pure connection through music. MJTA is a grassroots movement, inviting all to bring their instruments and positive energy to join the jam!

Concert 1 – July 18 – Trill Mega Jam hosted by Melanie Charles

Andromeda Turre

Vocalist and composer Andromeda Turre has honed her craft over a lifetime immersed in music. Born into a family of jazz musicians, she was formally trained at The Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music. Her talents have taken her around the world, from touring with Ray Charles, to headlining festivals with her own music in 17 countries worldwide. In addition to her vocal talents, Andromeda is an accomplished composer whose original works have been featured in film, television, video games and theater. Also a radio host on SiriusXM Real Jazz, her upcoming album, From the Earth, is a programmatic jazz suite illuminating the pressing issues of environmental justice releasing July 26, 2024.

Gina D’Soto

Gina D’Soto has established herself as an authentic and effortless vocalist in New York. Her sound is a fusion of jazz, soul, and Cuban traditions, providing listeners with a melodic experience reflecting her artistic identity. With her undeniable charm, Gina D’Soto infuses her music with an empowering presence that captivates her audience. She has emerged as one of the greatest Cuban artists of her generation. Her sound resonates with everyone she encounters, and she continues to create musical waves on platforms like NPR Live Sessions. Gina D’Soto’s vulnerability and pure heart make her a standout in her genre, and her digital releases and collaborations are taking the world by storm. 

Mary Akpa

Mary Akpa embodies the divinity and sentiments of the African Diaspora with wonder and vulnerability. Born in Nigeria and raised in Southern California, Mary’s sound is seasoned with her culture and experiences, yielding a soulful blend of highlife-inspired guitars, jazz and African influences. Her career spans over two decades and four continents, including time spent collaborating with numerous artists, and touring internationally.  

BKCM Jazz Faculty Jam Band

Allison Philips is a Brooklyn-based trumpet player, composer, and educator. Philips is a trumpet player’s trumpet player. From the traditional trio setting to genre-bending explorations via electronics, Allison is always searching for new ground. Philips holds a BFA in Jazz Performance from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City and an MM in Jazz Performance from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Philips was the 2016 recipient of the Hal Leonard Collegiate Scholarship. She has recently been awarded a New York Foundation of The Arts “City Artist Corp” grant. She has studied under several trumpet luminaries including Laurie Frink, Ingrid Jensen, Chris Jaudes, Tatum Greenblatt, Joe Magnarelli, Jimmy Owens, Ruud Breuls and Jan Oosthof. Between teaching and performing throughout Europe and North America, Allison spends her time commuting on her bicycle in Brooklyn and eating at B&H Dairy in the East Village.

Native South Korean bassist Jeong Lim Yang performed extensively in New York City since 2011 as a sideman with great figures in the scene such as Jason Palmer, Oscar Noriega, and Kenny Wollesen. Her debut album as a leader and composer titled Déjà Vu (Fresh Sound 2017) won NPR’s ‘The Best Debut Album of the Year’. Yang released the experimental Brooklyn-based collective band “Mute” (Fresh Sound 2020) and received international acclaim.
Yang’s latest record “Zodiac Suite: Reassured” (Fresh Sound 2022) is a rendition of Mary Lou Williams’s Zodiac Suite (1945), and the Zodiac Trio held their release concert at National Sawdust in Brooklyn in October 2022. Yang’s lyrical and melodic playing has been pursued and desired by many contemporary jazz and improvised musicians.

Adriel Vincent-Brown is a Trinidadian born drummer and composer. He began working professionally whilst still in elementary school, playing at church and with the local steel pan bands. Since having graduated from the New School for jazz and contemporary music he has been working as a professional musician both in the New York scene and internationally. Having appeared on mtv with rapper Trinidad James, earshot jazz festival with Giveton Gelin and Metropolis festival with Immanuel Wilkins, Adriel is already considered one of the most versatile and diverse sidemen of our time. His new project – The force showcases this stellar young musician in the role of a leader.

Concert 2 – July 25 – Key Hutchinson

Key Hutchinson

Keyanna “Key” Hutchinson is a versatile guitarist, composer, and producer from Brooklyn, NY whose multivalent influences can be traced to her Caribbean lineage, her love for popular music, her conservatory training and a remarkable musical career supporting performers in the fields of R&B, jazz and other experimental genres. As an artist, she is newly embarking on channeling her knowledge of guitar and music production into a creative exploration of original compositions.

Concert 3 – August 1 – Keenyn Omari & Cleo Reed

Before genre-bending innovators Keenyn Omari & Cleo Reed take the main stage at 6:30 pm, we’ll also be hosting a special open Woodwind Jam in BKCM’s back garden at 5:30 pm, featuring Keenyn Omari and BKCM faculty member Cleave Guyton! BKCM parents and students of all ages and levels are invited to join these fantastic wind players in the garden to play through some fun tunes. Bring yourself and your instrument – we’ll have copies of music for everyone. Want to come jam? Sign up for free.

Keenyn Omari

Keenyn Omari, a multi-instrumentalist and producer born in Miami and raised in Atlanta, specializes in making the flute resonate like no other. Currently based in New York City, Keenyn’s music is dedicated to healing listeners on spiritual, mental, and physical levels. He has performed alongside notable artists such as Big Daddy Kane, Cleo Reed and Zacchae’us Paul, and he was recently featured on Jimmy Fallon.

Cleo Reed

Cleo Reed is a sound composer, performer, and multi-disciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Their debut album Root Cause was released in early 2023 with an exclusive vinyl release from Vinyl Me Please and support from Bandcamp, Pitchfork, The Wire, and OkayPlayer, amongst others. In tandem with their debut, Cleo presented a self-directed performance art piece titled Black American Circusas a part of BRIC’s Artist-In-Residence program. Cleo has since performed the Black American Circus at Afropunk and the Brooklyn Museum. Cleo worked with Jon Batiste, developing software instruments for his American Symphony at Carnegie Hall. In addition, Cleo is a recipient of the 2022 NYC Women’s Fund for Media Music and Theatre, a fellow as a part of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem’s Jazz is NOW: Curatorial Fellowship and a selected composer as a part of the International Contemporary Ensemble’s “Call For ____” Commission Program, as well as a fellow in One Beat‘s global residency tour program. Cleo is an alumni of Harlem School of The Arts and a graduate of Berklee College of Music. At 19, Cleo Reed named themselves after Cleophus, their great-grandmother and a fellow Aquarius. Whether underground or academic, experimental or popular, they express musicianship guided by their radiance, femininity and cyclical traumas.

Concert 4 – August 8 – Zacchae’us Paul

Zacchae’us Paul

Zacchae’us Paul is a young multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter of the highest caliber. His music is a kaleidoscope of styles and sounds that enriches the soul and nourishes the mind. Rooted in the vibrant city of Atlanta, GA, his inspired music delves deep into the very fabric of society, tackling pressing issues such as reparations for historical injustices and the empowering love and spirituality embodied by black women.

Like a harmonious symphony, Paul’s music weaves together the diverse threads of jazz music, seamlessly blending different styles and showcasing the captivating clash and interplay between them. It serves as a testament to the power of music created specifically for local neighborhoods and communities, a soundtrack that reverberates through the very streets it was born in.

As part of a new wave of jazz artists pushing the boundaries of the genre, Paul is making his mark on the music industry. His label debut, executive produced by NEA Jazz Master Terri Lyne Carrington and featuring guest artists like Melanie Charles, Gregorie Maret, donSMITH, Cisco Swank and Candid label mate Morgan Guerin will be out in 2024.