A Review of the ASCAP Foundation “Songwriters:The Next Generation” Concert

The Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington , D.C. was the home of some of the best young composers and songwriters in the world on Thursday, March 24 and Friday March 25, 2011 . The two day performance was presented by the ASCAP Foundation and called “Songwriters: The Next Generation.” The first performance included jazz singer Sonia Szajnberg and pianist Zaccai Curtis. The second evening was more alternative and pop featuring Katie Costello and Dan Mackenzie.

Thursday’s Performance

Sonia Szajnberg a talented jazz vocalist and composer from Brooklyn performed first. She brought her smooth jazz voice showing a wonderful range which never cracked. Her guitarist Nir Felder was just as smooth on guitar. Hs jazz solos sounded complex but he played them effortlessly. Sonia is the winner of the 2011 ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award winner; her performance just under a half hour long demonstrated her award winning talents.

Zaccai Curtis finished the second half of the show. He performed with his band the Curtis Brothers Quartet which features his brother Luques Curtis on bass, Reinaldo De Jesus on the congas, and John Davis on drums. The percussionists were able to provide a Latin grove for Zaccai to perform his piano magic with. The award winning composer did not disappoint providing an entertaining set. Zaccai’s smile while he was playing told it all that he was happy to be performing.

Friday’s Performance

Katie Costello, the young singer/songwriter started the evening’s concert. She sang and played piano. David Eggar accompanied her on cello. If you are a fan of such television shows as 90210, One Tree Hill, or Private Practice you may have heard some of Katie’s songs. One of the highlights of her half hour set was the song “Cassette Tape” off of her “Lamplight” collection. The song was about a single guy sick of dating who put down everything a date would need to know on a cassette tape.

Emmy nominated singer/songwriter Dan Mackenzie closed out the evening joined on stage with pianist Paul Buono, bassist Dan Grennes, and vocalist Justine Salata. Dan is best known for the songs he has written for singer Joss Stone. The award winning songwriter was so impressed with Katie’s cellist, he asked David Eggar to join him for a couple of songs. Among the highlights of his set included “Fifty Years.” A catchy love song and Justine added wonderful backing vocals. The songs Justine Salata sang lead during the set where outstanding as well. Her beautiful vocals delivering the words of a talented songwriter and one can understand his success working with Joss Stone.


Personal Experience

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