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Jamecia Bennett brings her life's work in jazz, soul and gospel in one-woman Ordway show

Minnesota musician Jamecia Bennett recounts her incredible career
Minnesota musician Jamecia Bennett recounts her incredible career 02:55

MINNEAPOLIS — A music legend has prepared a one-night tour through the evolution of music starting with African roots, and Jamecia Bennett knows music history.

The actress, producer, play director and singer is set to bring her biggest project yet to the Ordway, a night of jazz, blues and a lot of soul that will showcase Bennett's interpetation of genres of music that have impacted her life and career.

Bennett was just 16 when Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis helped her develop live music skills. Her studies continued under Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness founder Gary Hines, but the legacy started even earlier, with family.

"I grew up with a plethora of different musics, from jazz, Harlem Renaissance to blues to, of course, gospel, with having the gospel background, and country music," Bennett said.

She is bringing along some of her friends to help celebrate and honor musical history.

"I have an amazing band, and shouts out to them and my MD Darnell Davis," she said.

Her band is made up of many local performers, some part of her Sounds of Blackness family. They've been rehearsing for months so the sound is just right for her singular performance.

This is not the first time Jamecia has graced the stage at the Ordway. Her debut 16 years ago led to a great run.

"I had the blessed opportunity to be the first black Maggie in the production of '42nd Street,' the Broadway production of '42nd Street,' and I was asked at that time to be the resident artist of the Ordway," she said.

From "Summertime" to "My Funny Valentine," Bennett has entertained with style and grace. She says her upbringing prepared her for the spotlight.

"Coming from a musical background, I was always centered around different genres of music — shouts out to my mother Ann Nesby, who was on the Grammy Awards, the 66th annual," she said.

Nesby was the orginal lead singer for Sounds of Blackness, and indeed was front and center at this year's Grammy Awards. Bennett is dedicated to continuing the legacy, passing on what she's learned from her mother to her daughter, Paris Bennett, a former "American Idol" finalist.

Jamecia Bennett says she loves her Minnesota fans and considers this home. That's why she is preparing to give her audience the performance of a lifetime.

"They shouldn't leave the same way they came. They should always live on a high, feeling good, and that's our job as entertainers in this music business," she said.

The one-night performance with Jamecia and her friends hits the Ordway stage Friday at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available. 

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