Celebrating Maggie Scott: 30 Years of Jazz Vocal Night

Guests Antonia Bennett, Lalah Hathaway, Robin McKelle, Esperanza Spalding, and Nadia Washington pay tribute to the longtime voice professor.
November 15, 2011

Since 1980, Berklee professor Maggie Scott has hosted Jazz Vocal Night, an annual student recital where she handles all aspects of the event, from auditioning the performers to accompanying them on piano. Many of Scott's former students who appeared in the show have gone on to distinctive careers. On Thursday, December 8, five of them return to Berklee to pay tribute to their mentor at Celebrating Maggie Scott: 30 Years of Jazz Vocal Night 
with special guests Antonia Bennett, Lalah Hathaway, Robin McKelle, Esperanza Spalding, and Nadia Washington.

Celebrating Maggie Scott: 30 Years of Jazz Vocal Night is part of the 2011-2012 Signature Series at Berklee. It takes place at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA. The concert is $20/$15 (reserved seating) and begins at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are available at berkleebpc.com or at the box office. The venue is wheelchair-accessible. Call 617 747-2261 for more information.

Scott and special guests Bennett, Hathaway, McKelle, Spalding, and Washington will perform jazz standards, and video of the alumnae from past Jazz Vocal nights will be shown during each artist's introduction. The concert band features faculty members Tim Ray on piano, Terri Lyne Carrington on drums, and Jon Lockwood on bass. Concert coproducer Greg Hopkins plans to have additional instrumentalists—including students—join on some tunes with guitar and trombone features, horn section, and a string quartet.

"I am truly honored and overwhelmed that this concert is happening," said Scott. "The recognition for my love of jazz and my work with the students, I feel I am being appreciated and respected for what I do and teach. That is a great feeling!" 

Scott is a veteran jazz pianist, vocalist, recording artist and Julliard alumna who has been performing for six decades. She has mentored countless rising talents since coming to Berklee in 1978 to teach voice, stressing repertoire in her classes and encouraging students to develop a sense of style. "Maggie was more than a teacher to me," said McKelle. "She taught me the importance of the lyric, the melody, and the swing feel and how they all work together. She respects the tradition of jazz and where this great American art form came from. I'm honored to be a part of this performance."

"The performers chosen to pay tribute to me are a very special group of talented, wonderful musicians and singers who have worked very hard to become successful," added Scott. "I shared many wonderful moments working with them. I do have a certain amount of satisfaction seeing and hearing the results of the many lessons and rehearsals they all went through, and I'm very proud of them."

Scott is considered a trailblazer for female musicians. She began teaching at Berklee at a time when female instructors and students represented a small minority. Scott was also the first woman elected to the executive board of the Boston Musicians' Association, Local 9-535, American Federation of Musicians, where she served for 25 years. For many years, she has played as a soloist and with her trio at jazz clubs and hotels in Boston and the New England area. She has also accompanied greats such as Cab Calloway and Eartha Kitt, and appeared as a soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra.