Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will honor America’s Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, at a gala concert on September 12 to mark the 25th anniversary of the institute’s founding. Founded in 1986, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz bears the name of jazz icon Thelonious Monk, who died in 1982 at the age of 64. Its mission is to identify and train a new generation of jazz musicians.
I first profiled the 21-time Grammy Winner, Aretha Franklin, on VOA’s Jazz Club USA in 1992 after she sang “Someday We’ll All Be Free” on the Malcolm X soundtrack, and in 1993 when the celebrated singer performed at the inauguration ceremony of President Bill Clinton. Listen to the “Queen of Soul.” Songs from 1998 profile of her follow Arabic presentation:
Franklin who first charted in 1961 has a 55-year-long career, during which she recorded more than 40 studio albums (17 of them Gold), 131 singles, 44 compilation albums, four live albums and at least one soundtrack.
Jazz greats Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, singers Dee Dee Bridgewater and Dianne Reeves will perform during the September 12 Kennedy Center concert. I’m sure there will be a lot of pressure on Aretha to sing at the gala. Former secretaries of state, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, as well as music icon Quincy Jones will chair the gala.
For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America