Jazz Up Close at Carver

Photo courtesy of Stephenson Photography

The George Washington Carver Center has long been an integral part of the Peoria community. While it’s best known for giving Richard Pryor his start as a performer, Carver has offered similar opportunities to thousands of youth, engaging them in a range of recreational, educational, social and civic activities.

Since it fell on hard times several years ago, Executive Director Ken Hinton has steered Carver toward financial sustainability—and an artistic renaissance. Last December, Carver ushered in a year-long Celebration of the Arts, including intimate performances by notable jazz musicians in its 200-seat auditorium. “It is our hope to inspire and enhance our community and youth by making accessible professional musicians and musical experiences for all to enjoy and experience,” Hinton explains.

Following successful shows with saxophonist Gerald Albright and guitarist/singer Nick Colionne, the Carver Center will host Najee on the heels of the release of his 17th studio album, Poetry in Motion. “I am truly honored to be invited to perform in Peoria at the Carver Center,” declares the Grammy-winning saxophonist and flautist. “Playing a small venue helps to facilitate an intimate connection with people of the community.”

In addition to performing, Najee will spend time with local youth and interact with the public—a unique experience that’s sure to make an impact. “Do you think that could make a difference in someone’s life?” Hinton asks. “It’s happening here at Carver.” a&s

Najee will perform two shows on September 17, 2017. For more information, visit smoothpeoria.com.

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