The Underworld Jazz Festival — curated by Cincinnati native and international touring artist Napoleon Maddox (known best locally as the creative mind behind progressive Jazz/Hip Hop project IsWhat?!) — is returning next month for its second annual celebration and examination of Jazz, Hip Hop, Soul and other styles of music, featuring special guests from all over the world. The showcase of everything from "survival songs to rebel music (and) from Spirituals to Trap" runs May 11-25.
One of the marquee events of UJF this year is the "In Her Voice" show at The Woodward Theater in Over-the-Rhine on May 16. The showcase is described as a celebration of "black women through performance and poetry" and is a collaboration between Underworld Jazz Fest and Queens Village, which works with Cradle Cincinnati and is described as "a supportive community gathering of powerful Black women who come together to relax, re-power, and take care of ourselves and each other."
The lineup for the event includes local favorites like Lauren Eylise, Jennifer Simone, MC Jori An Cotton and DJ Apryl Reign, as well as New Orleans' Tank and the Bangas, the widely acclaimed band that won the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest. Tank and the Bangas appeared recently on The Tonight Show:
The event will also feature poetry from the In Her Voice North College Hill Poetry Crew.
Tickets for the In Her Voice show ($15) are available here.
Taking place at various venues across Cincinnati, 2019's Underworld Jazz Festival kicks off on May 11 with a Hip Hop event at Pleasant Ridge's Everybody's Records (2-4 p.m.) called The Beat Lounge, featuring MC Till, producer KontraX and others.
Here are some of the other Underworld Jazz Festival happenings (click the links for more info):
May 21 @ Elementz: "DJ Apryl Reign hosts a discussion with special guest (French beat-maker) Sorg and other artists about the complexities of preserving one's mental health while being an artist in the age of social networking."
May 23 @ Elementz: Sorg, LaFrae Sci (NYC), Napoleon Maddox and others
May 24 @ MOTR Pub: IsWhat?! with LaFrae Sci
May 25 @ MOTR Pub: Sons of Silverton, Mike Wade's Nasty Nati Brass Band and more
UJF will also incorporate Maddox and Kim Gory's Mobilization of Congo Square project, a series of "pop-up concerts" across the city meant to share and educate about music's roots, connections and meaning. Described as a way to "bring an under-appreciated aspect of jazz to an underexposed audience, aiming to champion freedom of expression and possibility," the project is funded by a People's Liberty grant.