BRATTLEBORO -- The Vermont Jazz Center launches its new Emerging Artist season with a concert by the Kavita Shah Ensemble on Saturday at 8 p.m., at the VJC in the Cotton Mill.

The goal of the series is to present young musicians who deserve to be heard, individuals who are on the cutting edge, performing original, fresh, high quality music; artists with unfamiliar names whose personal statements are moving the music forward.

Kavita Shah is all of the above and more. A talented singer, she is a tireless organizer with a vision and a body of work that challenges the definition of jazz while at the same time paying deep respect to its lineage.

Shah performs vocals and percussion and will be playing with performing with her New York-based ensemble of Yacouba Sissoko (Mali) on kora, Guy Mintus (Israel), piano, Or Bareket (Israel), bass, and Kenneth Salters (USA), drums.

Shah’s vision is eclectic and unified at the same time, incorporating the numerous elements that when combined form the essence of her complex persona: Brazilian sambas, African grooves, bebop, jazz standards, hip-hop and a deep family connection to the music of India. Through innovative compositions and arrangements in English, Spanish and Portuguese (she is fluent in all three), Shah transcends the static brand of "fusion." Instead, elements of jazz, Indian and African music are able to interact on equal footing.


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Hailed by Downbeat as Best Graduate Jazz Vocalist (2012) and winner of an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award (2013), Shah will perform at the Vermont Jazz Center in celebration of her upcoming, debut album "Visions." This recording features the traditional sounds of the Indian tablas and West African kora interlaced with those of a jazz quintet.

General admission to this concert is $10. Ticket prices are reduced thanks to a contribution from an anonymous patron from the Vermont Jazz Center Summer Workshop, This concert is also made possible thanks to the support of the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, VPR and WFCR.

Tickets are available at In the Moment Record Store in Brattleboro, at www.vtjazz.org or reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line at 802-254-9088, ext. 1.