It's not as if there were ever clear paths for cello players beyond the European classical tradition, but Akua Dixon made one for herself. The New York City native found work in the pit band of the Apollo Theater, the multi-racial Symphony of the New World, and the bands of many jazz musicians — including drummer Max Roach's Double Quartet. As she developed her jazz chops, she also started her own string quartet, featured prominently on her new self-titled album. Akua Dixon also features her crafty arranging for strings over jazz standards and Afro-Latin grooves.

Jazz Night In America visits Sistas' Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn — a year-round venue which also helps to present an annual month-long grassroots festival in the heavily African-American neighborhood — to take in Akua Dixon's performance at the Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival. In addition to the string ensemble featured on her latest album, Dixon is also joined by her two children: vocalist Andromeda Turre and drummer Orion Turre.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Dena DeRose. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Dena DeRose On Piano Jazz

In a 2001 session, the singer and pianist joined host Marian McPartland for a program of standards.

Dena DeRose On Piano Jazz
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/479740933/479741803" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

A Tribute To Artie Shaw On Piano Jazz

Historian and cornetist Dick Sudhalter lends perspective on the great clarinetist and bandleader.

A Tribute To Artie Shaw On Piano Jazz
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/478858076/478859776" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Tania Maria. Jean-Baptiste Poulain/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Jean-Baptiste Poulain/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Tania Maria On Piano Jazz

The Brazilian pianist and singer mixes frenetic originals with Antônio Carlos Jobim interpretations.

Tania Maria On Piano Jazz
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/477960098/477961996" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Catherine Russell. Marv Goldschmitt/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Marv Goldschmitt/Courtesy of the artist

Jazz Night In America

Catherine Russell: Sunny Side Of The Street

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The singer assembles a vocal trio to take on a book of music she once sang with her mother.

Catherine Russell: Sunny Side Of The Street
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/477822438/477824662" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jim Ferguson. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Jim Ferguson On Piano Jazz

The singing bassist presents original songs and standards in a session from 2001.

Jim Ferguson On Piano Jazz
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/477064541/477065827" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Rose Murphy. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Rose Murphy On Piano Jazz

Hear the singer and pianist perform "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" in a 1988 session.

Rose Murphy In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/476137289/476145176" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Carlos Henriquez in The Bronx. Lawrence Sumulong for Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Jazz Night In America

Carlos Henriquez: The Bronx Pyramid

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The bassist spends a lot of time in Manhattan for Jazz at Lincoln Center, but his roots are uptown.

Carlos Henriquez: The Bronx Pyramid
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/476077535/476086613" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top