Sharel Cassity in Concert at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York Apr. 11  6PM

Sharel Cassity’s Sextet tonight at the National Museum of the American Indian in NYC, 6pm!! With Cyrus Chestnut-piano, Dezron Douglas-bass, E.J. Strickland-drums, Greg Gisbert-trumpet & Vocalist Aubrey Johnson.


This April the National Museum of the American Indian in New York is celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month with a special Native Sounds Downtown! concert by Sharel Cassity (Cherokee). Cassity’s vibrant saxophone voice is quickly making waves on the New York music scene. Leading a quintet including trumpet, piano, bass and drums, on Thursday, Apr. 11 at 6pm in the Diker Pavilion visitors can expect to hear world class musicians performing original music and new takes on jazz standards.


Originally hailing from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Cassity holds a Bachelor of Music from New School University and in 2005 she was awarded a full scholarship to Juilliard and graduated with her MA in Jazz Studies. No stranger to the Smithsonian, in 2010 Cassity performed at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and is excited to be bringing her brand of straight-ahead jazz to the New York museum in support of the exhibition, “Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture.” On performing at the museum Cassity relates, “It’s an honor to partner with the NMAI; it brings together my heritage and art form in a beautiful way.”

In addition to her set list of new works and standards, Cassity intends to honor bebop innovator, Oscar Pettiford (Cherokee/Choctaw/African American) who is featured in “Up Where We Belong.” As a pioneer of bebop jazz which emphasized improvisation and complex melodies, Pettiford was known for his clear, self-assured solos and unique melodic sound. While other bassists focused on providing a rhythmic anchor, Pettiford could play on the bass as freely as other musicians played their horns. Together with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, these two innovators co-led what is now viewed as the first bebop combo.

            Visitors can also see the exhibition “Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture” which features music, instruments and awards from artists Buffy Sainte-Marie, Mildred Bailey (Coeur d’Alene), Robbie Robertson (Mohawk), Rita Coolidge (Cherokee), and Link Wray (Shawnee). Presenting the contribution of Native artists to jazz, rock and blues, this exhibition is an expanded and revised version of the original that premiered in Washington, D.C.

Since releasing her album, “Relentless” (Jazz Legacy Productions) in 2009 which received a four star review in Downbeat Magazine, Sharel has had the honor of being inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and is working on her second release with Jazz Legacy Productions.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has two locations—the George Gustav Heye Center in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green in New York City and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The museum is free and open every day (except Dec. 25) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays (in New York only) until 8 p.m. For information, visit