September 10 event will open with a performance by the multi-Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Aché

On Sunday, September 10 at 3:00 PM, on the Bronx Music Hall Plaza, jazz pianist Bertha Hope—and her band the Bertha Hope Quintet—will perform a free concert featuring the music of her late husband, legendary jazz pianist Elmo Hope. The event marks what would have been Elmo Hope’s 100th year. The concert will be presented by the Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC). The Bronx Music Hall Plaza, located at 438 E. 163rd Street at the corner of Washington Avenue. 

The Bertha Hope Quintet band members include Bertha on piano, Kim Clarke on bass, Lucianna F. Padmore on drums, Gene Ghee on tenor sax, and Eddie Allen on trumpet. The band will be joined by a surprise guest. The concert will open with a performance by the multi-Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Aché.   

“Elmo Hope was a giant of jazz and be-bop whose influence started in the Bronx and reached around the world,” said Elena Martínez, co-artistic director of the BMHC. “We are excited to celebrate his legacy with a phenomenal afternoon of jazz headlined by Bertha Hope.”  

Elmo Hope was born in the Bronx to West Indian immigrant parents on June 27, 1923. While Elmo was trained as a classical pianist, he grew into jazz, emerging onto the 1940s New York City Jazz scene as a leading light of modern jazz piano, together with his childhood friends, Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. Elmo, Thelonious, and Bud were dubbed “the triumvirate of be-bop,” and Elmo is one of the forerunners of the be-bop style. 

Elmo achieved legendary status as a pianist, prolific composer, and sought-after arranger as he recorded and performed with some of the world’s most iconic Jazz musicians. These include “Philly” Joe Jones, Jimmy Heath, Percy Heath, Donald Byrd, Hank Mobley, John Coltrane, Paul Chambers, Frank Butler, Jimmy Bond, and Frank Foster. Elmo died a month shy of his 44th birthday in May 1967. At that time, he was associated with over 70 albums, either as bandleader, songwriter, arranger, or pianist. In honor of his contributions to the jazz canon, Lyman Place in the Bronx, where Elmo spent his younger years, was co-named as Elmo Hope Way – Jazz Pioneer on September 10, 2016. 

In 2002, Bertha’s second husband, the iconic Jazz bassist Walter Booker, Jr., suggested they form The Elmo Hope Project, dedicated to the preservation of Elmo’s musical legacy. Their second band iteration, dubbed ELMOllenium, generated even more traction in New York City. 

ELMOllenium featured Bertha on piano, Walter on bass, Roni Ben-Hur on guitar, Leroy Williams on drums, and Charles Davis on tenor saxophone. Amy London wrote lyrics to a few of Elmo’s tunes, and was a frequent guest vocalist. ELMOllenium performed most frequently at La Belle Epoch, a French restaurant in Greenwich Village. They also performed at Fordham University and gave a well-received concert in March of 2002 at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. When Walter Booker died in 2006, ELMOllenium disbanded. Continuously since then, Bertha has performed a great deal of Elmo’s music at every one of her own shows. She shares stories about Elmo’s writing process and other anecdotes, making each presentation a combination of excellent musicianship as well as Jazz music history that continues to keep audiences engaged. 

To honor Elmo for his centennial, Bertha has been performing his music all year, and is assembling performance events through next year, to culminate in a major concert on or near Elmo’s birthday in June 2024. 

About The Bronx Music Heritage Center 

The BMHC is run by the nonprofit Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco). Since its inception in 2010, the BMHC has distinguished itself as a cultural institution committed to showcasing the rich cultural heritage, traditions, and artistic talent of the Bronx through humanities-focused, interdisciplinary programming, primarily at the BMHC Lab space. WHEDco is currently completing construction of the 14,000 sq. ft. Bronx Music Hall, which will be the future home of all BMHC programming—and the first newly constructed music performance venue in The Bronx in more than a half center—when it opens later this year. In addition to the 250-seat performance theater, the Bronx Music Hall will include a green room, studio, multi-use classroom, lobby to host exhibits, receptions, and events, and amphitheater-style seating in two adjacent plazas for outdoor performances. It will serve 20,000 in-person audience members and students annually at full capacity post-pandemic.

About WHEDco 

WHEDco is a community development organization founded on the radically simple idea that all people deserve to live in healthy, vibrant communities. Working in the South Bronx, WHEDco builds award-winning, sustainable, affordable homes that serve as anchors for strong communities of which residents can be proud. WHEDco’s mission is to create and bridge access in the Bronx to resources that create thriving neighborhoods—from high-quality early education and after-school programs to healthy food, cultural programming, and economic opportunity. For more information: