Memphis Challenge lines up stars for winter jazz experience


Memphis Challenge will give a warm welcome to winter on December 7 with its “Jazzin’ Around 7” concert, featuring a headlining performance from international recording artist, Johnny Britt.

Britt will perform material from his critically-acclaimed “Marvin Meets Miles” project and his latest single, “So Hot,” which features Najee and Paul Brown. His new song, “Christmas Is Here Tonight (Christmas Time Of The Year),” is being played on radio stations nationwide.

In Memphis, Britt’s music will fill the room starting at 7 p.m. at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education.

Recently, Britt scored big with his trumpet appearances in the Oscar and Golden Globe award-winning film “La La Land,” on the soundtrack of the Oscar-nominated film, “Hidden Figures,” and as a session singer for the new film “Creed II.”

Now making his mark in Hollywood, Britt has been no stranger to the limelight having signed with Motown Records. His group, Impromp2, has performed at The White House and The U.S. Tennis Open, and on “Soul Train” and The Lady Of Soul Awards.

“I am honored to be able to perform for an event that supports arts education and youth development in such a musically rich city as Memphis,” Britt said. “It’s going to be a festive celebration during one of the most joyous times of the year. We’re going to have a good time!”

Britt studied music at the prestigious Conservatory of Versailles just outside of Paris, France, and has worked with music legends such as David Bowie, Quincy Jones, Luther Vandross, Josh Groban, Jennifer Lopez, Maxwell, John Legend and Common. He is also a member of the “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame” group, Little Anthony and The Imperials.

The Memphis Challenge presentation also will feature Memphis native and program alumna Lila Hood, a captivating electric violinist, recording artist, string arranger and music educator.

The White Station High School graduate recorded a session with Lady Gaga for the movie, “A Star Is Born” and headlined the West Adams Jazz Festival. She now resides in Los Angeles and is dedicated to increasing diversity in classical music.

Since studying at Georgetown University, Howard University and Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, Hood has performed for the Jamaica Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival, Shakhar and Andrea Bocelli, recording artist Dennis Graham and his son, Drake, Blues Alley Jazz Club, L.A. Fashion Week, and the Ebony Fashion-Fair Anniversary.

Hood established The Blue Violin Foundation to teach violin and piano to students from urban communities. Her most recent CD “Dreamcatcher” includes collaborations with Malcolm-Jamal Warner, L. Young, Trenyce Cobbins, Al Kapone and The Pharcyde. She is also a successful screenwriter, with her last script winning eight awards to date.

The evening will also include selections from Memphis’s own Bill Hurd Trio. The eclectic Hurd is an alto and tenor saxophone master. He is known to many as Dr. William C. Hurd, a practicing ophthalmologist. He also has an MBA from M.I.T. and a B.S. in Engineering from Notre Dame.