Skip to page content

About this Piece

WORDTheatre®, produced in partnership with the LA PHIL is proud to present JAZZ Re-EVOLUTION, a literary and musical celebration of the seminal talents responsible for the development and evolution of this extraordinary, original American art form! Curated, produced and directed by WORDTheatre's Founder and Artistic Director, Cedering Fox, this biographical and historical journey into the world of jazz owes a huge debt to all the historians, biographers, journalists, sociologists, poets, songwriters, music publishers, musicians, critics and fans who have contributed to chronicling the words and stories you will hear tonight!

Tonight is only possible thanks to this extraordinary ensemble of actors and musicians who share WORDTheatre's non-profit mission to make a better world by connecting people with words and music, engendering empathy and compassion. JAZZ Re-EVOLUTION is a labor of love. All the people on stage tonight are committed to the idea of freedom in art and in life.

Proceeds from JAZZ Re-EVOLUTION support our in-the-schools program: WORDTheatre Campus.

About WORDTheatre®

WORDTheatre is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization celebrating its 20th year producing original live in-person and digital programs. One of the founding missions of WORDTheatre is to share the power of language and literature by bringing curated literary programs into under-funded schools with the help of stellar actors, authors and musicians. We also offer students to experience our live events and tonight we are proud to welcome 100 students from the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center in South Central Los Angeles!

2023 marks the 20th anniversary of WORDTheatre. The organization is expanding with the launch of  WORDTheatre Campus Online, an all-in-one digital platform available to high school and college educators and students who will be able to access audio and video selections of stories from the vast WORDTheatre archive accompanied by educational, peer-reviewed curriculum.

To find out more about our organization, our upcoming live events and our free short story podcast, please join our mailing list at –

SIGN UP TONIGHT to win a FREE WORDTheatre Enthusiast Membership valued at $150 value for the year! To enter, sign up as a free Listener Member on by 11:59pm PST on Sunday 7/23.

We are excited to be returning to the Ford and performing under the stars in this magical amphitheater which has played such an important role in the history of Los Angeles! And, we are proud to be partnering for the first time with our media sponsors KCRW, KJAZZ, and KPCC/LAist.      

Enjoy the show!

Cedering Fox
WORDTheatre Founder & Artistic Director
Curator, Producer, & Director of JAZZ Re-EVOLUTION

Alison Emilio
WORDTheatre Executive Director

JAZZ Re-EVOLUTION is an original WORDTheatre® benefit production for WORDTheatre Campus that stands on the shoulders of everyone who has written or spoken eloquently about America's original art form.


Maria Bello - “Beef (2023 Emmy-nominee)”, “The Woman King (producer, writer),” “NCIS,” “Goliath,” “Touch,” “The Cooler,” “A History of Violence,” “McFarland, USA”

Keith David - “Platoon,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Community,” “Greenleaf,” “From Scratch,” “They Live,” “African Redemption: The Life & Legacy of Marcus Garvey”

Gary Dourdan - “And Just Like That…” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “The First Wives’ Club,” “Being Mary Jane,” “Righteous Villains,” “All She Wrote,” “The Weekend”

Jason George - “Station 19,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Eve,” “Playing for Keeps,” “Breaking In,” “Kidnap,” “Eli Stone,” “What About Brian,” “Off Center” “Mistresses,” “Sunset Beach”

Leslie Grace  - “In the Heights (2021 film),” “Life,” “The Thicket”

Joseph Marcell - “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Exorcism of God,” “Ratched,” “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind,” “Lady Windermere's Fan,” “EastEnders”

Reign Morton - “The Stranger in Our Bed,” “Whitney,” “Exit Strategy,” “Reunion,” “The Annals of Big Dave,” “Hilton Head Island,” “General Hospital,” “The New Edition Story”

Antonique Smith - “Rent (Broadway),” “Chicago P.D.,” “Genius: Aretha,” “Notorious,” “Abduction,” “Luke Cage,” “Yelling to the Sky,” “Sacred Lies”

Tracie Thoms - “Rent (2005 film),” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “NCIS,” “Death Proof,” “Sidetracked,” “Station 19,” “UnReal,” “Love,” “Cold Case,” “Wonderfalls”

Glynn Turman - “80 for Brady,” “The Legend of Glynn Turman (documentary),” “Fargo (series)” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “How to Get Away with Murder” “House of Lies,” “In Treatment”

Miguel Sandoval - “The Diplomat,” “Station 19,” “Medium,” “Clear and Present Danger,” “Sharp Objects,” “Jurassic Park,” “Get Shorty”

Michole Briana White - “Black Mafia Family,” “Courage Under Fire,” “Goliath,” “Dead to Me,” “Malignant,” “Baby Blue,” “Songbird,” “Lila & Eve,” “Vital Signs”


Iona Morris Jackson - “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Spider-Man: The Animated Series,” “X-Men: The Animated Series,” “Black-ish,” “Problem Child: The Animated Series”


Starr Parodi - Musical Director, Piano - Steinway artist and multi-award-winning composer Starr Parodi’s recordings have been featured on iHeart Radio, NPR, and films, tv, and movie trailers. Her album, The Heart of Frida, was awarded 2017 ‘Album of the Year-Solo’ by ZMR’s International Radio Broadcasters.

Jonathan Sacks - Orchestrations   - Composer Jonathan Sacks has worked as a composer and orchestrator on over 30 feature films over the past 25 years including SEABISCUIT, CARS, and both X-FILES films. He created orchestral arrangements for Metallica, KISS, Steve Martin, and the Steep Canyon Rangers.

Remee Ashley - Trombone - Trombonist, composer, arranger and educator, Remme Ashley has performed at Dizzy’s Coca Cola, the Apollo Theatre, Carnegie Hall, and the Birdland Jazz Club alongside such critically acclaimed musicians as Billy Childs, Joe Lavano, Jon Faddis, Arturo O’Farrill, Terrence Blanchard, and Paquito D’Rivera.

Wayne Bergeron - Trumpet - Trumpeter Wayne Bergeron is one of the most-sought-after musicians in the world. He has played for everyone from Beyonce to Barbra Streisand to Michael Buble. He is featured in LA LA LAND and FROZEN among over 400 other film and tv soundtracks, and on the Academy Awards.

Clayton Cameron - Drums - A world-class, dynamic drummer and master of the brush technique, Clayton has toured with Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, George Shearing, Joe Pass, and Joe Williams. He has played with numerous international music stars, including Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra, James Taylor, K.D. Lang, Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Kevin Ricard - Percussion - Kevin’s long list of recording credits includes B.B. King, Natalie Cole, Wayne Shorter, Queen Latifah, Enrique Iglesias, and many more. His prolific work on movie scores includes THE HANGOVER, SPEED, THE ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES, and A BUG’S LIFE. His professional television work includes house band roles with Dancing with the Stars, America’s Got Talent, American Idol, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Logan Richardson - Saxophone - Child prodigy and featured soloist in the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra at 16 years old, Logan continued to make a name for himself playing with notable musicians, Greg Osby, Stefon Harris, and Jason Moran. From bebop to hip-hop, he is a skilled composer and band leader, most recently featured on the cover of Echoes Magazine with his band ‘blues PEOPLE,’ as well as on NPR Tiny Desk, and in a recent PBS series on “Charlie Parker.”

Janet Robin - Banjitar - A Southern California native, Robin’s musical education began the moment she met her guitar teacher, Randy Rhoads (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne). Under Rhoads’ tutelage, Robin became an ace six-string player and, while still in high school, parlayed this education into a position as the lead guitarist for the all-female rock band Precious Metal.

Knick Smith - Piano - Contemporary jazz pianist and composer has toured with Stanley Clarke, Stevie Wonder, Queen Latifah, Kenny Garrett, Kirk Whalum, George Duke, Roy Ayers and more.In 1995, Nick appeared nightly on the Tonight Show featuring Jay Leno. After leaving the Tonight Show, Nick built a home studio and began recording. He has released three full length albums and a handful of radio singles.

Suuvi - Cello - Classically trained cellist and interdisciplinary artist, Suuvi, has combined her passion for technology, innovation and storytelling to create work and experiences featured at Carnegie Hall, La Fondation Louis Vuitton, The Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, Victoria Hall, and others. She has toured as solo cellist with Hans Zimmer’s “World of Hans Zimmer.”   

Nedra Wheeler - Bass - Nedra is a recipient of the 2006 Jazz Legend of Los Angeles Awards from the Dunbar Economic Development Corporation and the City of Los Angeles. Her many teaching roles include the Jazz Mentorship Program at the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs - Watts Towers Arts Center & Charles Mingus Youth Art Center. Her artistic versatility (bass, composition, vocals, diverse musical genres) includes jazz, pop, R&B, and world music.

Featuring Special Guest:

Terrace Martin - Saxophone - A three-time GRAMMY-nominated artist/producer/multi-instrumentalist, Terrace Martin is renowned as being one of the top jazz musicians in the world with noteworthy collaborations with artists that include Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, Herbie Hancock, and many more.

JAZZ Re-EVOLUTION runs approximately 120 minutes
and will be performed without an intermission.

Due to the ever-shifting nature of performers’ schedules, and the fact that they donate their time and talents, participation is subject to change without notice.