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Professor Brian Torff Presents “Great Women of Jazz, Blues and Rock,”

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Professor Brian Torff Presents “Great Women of Jazz, Blues and Rock,”

February 5, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


New Canaan Library welcomes Fairfield University professor Brian Q Torff, presenting a three-part lecture and musical series, “Great Women of Jazz, Blues and Rock.” The lectures will be held on Wednesday February 5, 19th and 26th at 6:30 p.m. in the Adrian Lamb Room. Please register online at

Professor Torff begins the series on February 5 by exploring and tracing the evolution of some of the most iconic female musicians and performers in the genres of jazz, blues and rock, from Ma Rainey and Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin.

The February 19 session will focus on jazz, as Torff presents “Soul on Soul: Mary Lou Williams and Great Women in Jazz.” Jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams was a pioneer in the evolution of jazz whose development as an artist was profoundly influenced by both modern and traditional blues. In this presentation, bassist Torff, who played with Ms.Williams will analyze the significant role of dynamic women in jazz.

The final session on February 26 will highlight the legendary Aretha Franklin, with the presentation “Soul and the Legacy of Aretha Franklin.” Torff will trace the evolution of soul music from its gospel roots to the ground-breaking crossover work of Ray Charles, James Brown and Sam Cooke. The incredible life of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin will be presented from her early gospel roots in her father’s church to super stardom while representing women and freedom in the bold light of American popular music.

Brian Q. Torff is a bassist, composer, author and educator. Currently he is a Professor of Music and Music Program Director at Fairfield University. He has performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and Birdland. Torff performs in jazz festivals throughout the United States and was the founder of the Fairfield University Summer Jazz Workshop. He is the author of In Love With Voices: A Jazz Memoir which was published in 2008.


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