Jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon to headline Billy Taylor Jazz Festival in Greenville

Again this year, the East Carolina University School of Music Jazz Studies Program brings a world-class jazz performer to Greenville for the Billy Taylor Jazz Festival on April 16-17.

Award-winning and multiple Grammy-nominated North Carolina vocalist Nnenna Freelon headlines this year’s event. Freelon has been awarded the Eubie Blake Award from the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and the Billie Holiday Award from the Academie du Jazz. Freelon performed a film soundtrack for “The Visit,” starring Billy Dee Williams, remaking Frank Sinatra’s classic “Fly Me to the Moon.”

She also had a cameo as a nightclub singer in the 2001 blockbuster Mel Gibson romantic comedy “What Women Want,” performing her trademark song “If I Had You.” In addition, she has been nominated twice for the “Soul Train” Lady of Soul award. On February 21, 2001, Freelon earned a rousing standing ovation for her stunning live performance at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards telecast in Los Angeles, performing “Straighten Up And Fly Right.”

Dr. Billy Taylor—house pianist at Birdland, arts correspondent for CBS News “Sunday Morning,” artistic advisor for jazz to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, recipient of two Peabody Awards, an Emmy, a Grammy, and 23 honorary doctoral degrees—is a national treasure, Greenville’s native son and the festival’s namesake.