LaFrae Sci and Sonic Black Kick Off Jazz in June

LaFrae Sci and Sonic Black Kick Off Jazz in June

By Johnny G
June 7, 2017

The 2017 season of Jazz in June debuted without a hitch on a beautiful evening at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. Several concertgoers were overheard saying that summer “begins today” with the start of the series. Musical guests LaFrae Sci and Sonic Black kept the music hot, even as the sun retreated behind the trees.

For the first time in the program’s 26 years, the event was broadcast live by Lincoln’s community radio station, KZUM (listen to the recording at the end of this story).

Video by Steffan Decker

Sci and her quartet hail from New York City, featuring Greg Lewis on the Hammond B3 organ, Lakecia Benjamin on alto sax and vocalist Tamar-kali, all led by Sci on drums. The band is an educational collective that creates interactive presentations focusing on Black American musical contributions to the world. During the day, the band gave presentations at UNL’s Glenn Korff School of Music and the F Street Recreation Center.

Some of the educational pieces made their way into the program in the evening, as Sci frequently set up a piece of music with either a brief history lesson or anecdotal story about the musicians or the music.

Any evening of jazz that begins with Charles Mingus’ “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting” is sure to be high energy, and the band did not disappoint. Adding their own sonic signature to many jazz and blues standards, the band played for nearly two hours. Examples of different rhythmic patterns and methods were briefly introduced by Sci, such as the New Orleans shuffle beat that underpinned their take on Thelonious Monk’s “Green Chimneys”.

Small children running around, Jazz in June regulars in their annual viewing positions on the green of UNL’s campus, the smell of food truck offerings and smiles on everyone’s faces tell us that the first concert of Jazz in June’s 26th season was a rousing success.

Photos by Deb Andersen

For information on the series line up and more, visit

KZUM is a proud sponsor of the 2017 Jazz in June concert series. Stay tuned to KZUM for VIP ticket giveaways, show recaps and more. Listen Local 89.3 FM Listen Live Follow us on Instagram, andTwitter.

Listen to the live KZUM broadcast of the event, as heard on “Impressions”:

Live Remote Broadcast of Jazz in June w/ LaFrae Sci and Sonic Black made possible by Red Rebel Media.

Johnny G. is a longtime KZUM programmer and host of “Impressions,” airing Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m., on KZUM.


June 7th, 2017

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