Audiences can get to know a different side of The Soraya this month. The performing arts center on the campus of California State University, Northridge is hosting a jazz festival Feb. 5–19. Naturally, this new emphasis on the genre comes with a new nickname for the venue.
“Jazz at Naz” (the theater’s full name is the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts) features an all-star lineup. Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) Orchestra play the inaugural evening, Feb. 5, and vocalist Gregory Porter follows up on the mainstage the next week, Feb. 10.
These are just the first performances in what The Soraya is envisioning as an annual festival. The idea grew out of one of the venue’s existing series — the “Onstage Sessions Jazz Club,” where the stage is the setting, decked out in cocktail tables and mood lighting. The setup is back in 2022 for “Jazz at Naz,” in addition to JALC’s and Porter’s more straitlaced, audience-in-their-seats programs.
The Jazz Club opens for three back-to-back evenings. Pianist Gerald Clayton’s sextet plays the first night (Feb. 17), and vocalist Gretchen Parlato is next (Feb. 18), fresh off her Brazilian-inspired latest album, Flor. Pianist Harold López-Nussa closes the festival (Feb. 19), leading his own quartet.
All five festival events — mainstage and Jazz Club — will also be available for audiences at home to stream. See ticket options, from single performances to all-access passes, on The Soraya’s website.