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Monday, March 23, 2009

Vol 5: #8: Battle of the Jazz Fests & more

In this issue:

*Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz - provisional programme for 2009

*Battle of the Festival Giants in NYC

* Journeymen - two icons of Afro-American music & culture speak up

*April is Jazz Appreciation Month, plus......How We Can Save Jazz

Jamaica Ocho Rios jazz festival founder Sonny Bradshaw

Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival 2009 June 13-20

Sat June 13 Jazz & Coffee In The Blue Mountains – Forres Pk. - 6.30 pm

Sun June 14 Opening Jazz Day - Pegasus In The Garden – Kingston - 6.30 pm

Mon June 15 FGFS Build Jamaica with Music – Public Free Concert – Ochie/Kgn Jazz Summer School – Mon.-Fri.

Tues June 16 FGFS Build Jamaica with Music – Public Free Concert – Ochie/Kgn Christopher's Jazz Café (Kgn) & Jazz At Sunset (Negril)

Wed June 17 FGFS Build Jamaica with Music – Public Free Concert – Ochie/Kgn Mocking Bird Hill - ( Port Antonio)

Thurs June 18 International Jazz Night – Red Bones Blues Café - Kingston - 9pm FGFS Build Jamaica with Music – Public Free Concert - Ochie/Kgn Jazz Lunch Breezes - (Runaway Bay)

Fri June 19 FGFS Build Jamaica with Music – Public Free Concert – Ochie/Kgn South Coast Jazz – (Treasure Beach)

Sat June 20 'Come Dancing' After Matinee Dance - Kingston - 8 pm Jazz Dinner - Glenns Jazz Club - Tower Isle –Ochie – 8 pm

Sun June 21 Closing Father’s Day Jazz – 'Evans Scent' ( St. Ann-Ochie-) 1-6 pm

The Jazz Bus – Kingston - Ochie/Priory, St. Ann


June is Jazz Month - Monday 1st June Red Bones Blues Café
Theme - Straight Ahead Jazz And Beyond
Jazz Summer School - Jazz Week - Monday-FRIDAY Community & School Band Competition
Come Dancing - Glass Bucket, Silver Slipper, Bournemouth, Sugar -Hill, TADP
Myrna Hague Singers' Contest
Charity - Breast Cancer
FGFS Merchandise – Jazz Cups, T-shirts, Jazz Bags, etc.
Jazz At Sunset - Negril Escape
Ska & Reggae Revival – Fab5 Inc. & Junior Soul

Will New York have a major jazz festival this summer?

It depends on whom you ask. Festival Network, which has presented the JVC Jazz Festival for the past two years, says it will. But concert promoters, booking agents and others in the jazz world say that because of the economy and a rift between Festival Network and the impresario George Wein, it is possible that New York will lack a big festival for the first time in 37 years.

In 2007 Mr. Wein, 83, sold his company, Festival Productions — which produced the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, the jazz and folk festivals in Newport, R.I., and many others — to Festival Network, which continued to employ him as a producer-emeritus.

But Mr. Wein said that he had not been paid since November, and Rhode Island authorities said that they canceled Festival Network’s contract to present events at Fort Adams State Park, the festival’s longtime home, because of late payments.

Muddying the water for jazz fans, Mr. Wein and Chris Shields, the chairman of Festival Network, said they were presenting events in Newport and New York.

On Tuesday Mr. Wein said he would be putting on jazz and folk festivals in Newport under his own name, with no connection to Festival Network. He is seeking sponsors for the events, but said he would back them himself if none came through.

“We believe that Newport has to be saved, one way or the other,” Mr. Wein said.

But in an e-mail message Mr. Shields said, “We view George Wein’s effort to ensure the legacy of music festivals in Newport as complementary with FN’s own effort to produce the Newport Jazz and Newport Folk festivals, the trademarks of which we control.”

George Wein’s Folk Festival 50 is to take place July 31 to Aug. 2, and George Wein’s Jazz Festival 55 will run Aug. 7 to 9.

In addition, the fate of the JVC festival in New York, which usually happens in June, is unclear. Festival Network owns the rights to it, and Mr. Shields said he intended to put on a New York jazz festival in 2009. Mr. Wein, in turn, said he had booked a handful of dates at Carnegie Hall in June, including two nights with Diana Krall, but that without a major sponsor he could not afford to host a full-scale festival.

A Carnegie Hall spokeswoman confirmed that a number of dates were being held in June under Mr. Wein’s name, but none for Festival Network. A spokesman for JVC, which has sponsored many of Mr. Wein’s and Festival Network’s events around the world, declined to comment on whether the company would be sponsoring any of the festivals this year.

Regardless, it may be too late. Scott Southard, who represents dozens of jazz and world-music acts, said he and other booking agents were “operating with the assumption that it’s not going to happen.” Festival dates are usually secured by January, he said, and since a New York event looked unlikely, many big tours will be bypassing New York.

“Artists who are capable of selling Carnegie Hall-level shows have suddenly had one of the cornerstone events pulled out of the booking season,” Mr. Southard said.

Mr. Wein said that he felt more obliged to preserve the Newport festivals than the one in New York, where jazz fans have plenty of events to choose from. The Vision Festival, for one, will present avant-garde music, dance and poetry for a 14th year in June.

“I’m not necessary in New York,” Mr. Wein said. “New York’s a jazz festival all year long

-Ruby Washington/The New York Times

Amiri Baraka & Henry Grimes

Amiri Baraka and Henry Grimes are very different men with several intriguing similarities. Founder of the Black Arts Movement, prolific poet, playwright, and essayist Baraka exudes a political intensity grounded in both history and current events. Henry Grimes is one of the world's greatest living jazz bassists, exuding a quieter disposition that hints at a complex and individualistic spirituality. Both men remain passionate about their work, channeling powerful waves of artistic energy that belie their years (Grimes is 73, Baraka is 74).

While Baraka moves in a slightly stooped shuffle, his voice retains its vitality, sounding like that of a far younger man. Grimes, meanwhile, speaks softly and with a halting cadence, although the raw physicality of his performances would seemingly tire a man half his age. Performing individually and together, the two recently took the stage in Brooklyn, as part of IPR's Littoral Reading Series.

-from earplug


April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), an annual event created by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History “to draw greater public attention to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz and its importance as an American cultural heritage."

In addition, JAM is “intended to stimulate the current jazz scene and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz -- to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and support institutional jazz programs."

To promote the event, once again the Smithsonian has commissioned a poster of a jazz legend; this year's poster (pictured) features a classic Al Hirschfeld caricature of clarinet player and bandleader Benny Goodman, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Goodman's birth. The museum has printed 250,000 posters for free distribution to music and jazz educators, librarians, music merchants and manufacturers, radio stations, arts presenters, and U.S. embassies worldwide. To request a copy, send an email to jazz@si.edu. You can also download the poster (pictured) in PDF format.


How We can Save jazz
Of course, we're agreeing here that it (1) needs saving, and (2) is worth saving

The following list has been 'doctored' from the Smithsonian Institution, who run the annual Jazz Appreciation Month observances, but there's no reason why some of the initiatives couldn't work in the Jamaican context

• Collect extra or unwanted jazz recordings or books and donate them
to a local high school, college, nursing home, or community center.
• Join the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors

Look out for word on a Jamaican jazz records Drive, as well as A Jazz Day(or some portion thereof) on Jamaican radio soon

• Listen to a jazz CD, or MP3 that is new to you. Try to stretch your ears. If you
need some guidance, consult The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, by
Richard Cook and Brian Morton, or Tom Piazza’s Guide to Classic
Recorded Jazz, or blogs, such as this one and Jamaica Music Offbeat (www.jam-offbeat.blogspot.com)
• Read a good book on jazz.
• Find a new jazz Web site. (same as above, but also www.allaboutjazz.com)

• Listen to a radio station that plays genuine jazz.
This one, is a little difficult in the Jamaican context - J'can radio has 'left jazz for dead' but there are loads of good broadcasts on the Web

• Go to “This Date in Jazz History” (at www.SmithsonianJazz.org), pick
an anniversary, and find some music by that musician to explore.

Join your local jazz society - in our case Friends of Jazz - go to www.ochoriosjazz.com for more info

If none exists in your community, organize one.

• Read a jazz magazine, such as Down Beat, Jazz Times, or Jazziz. Others
include: Cadence, Jazz Education Journal, Jazz Improv, The Mississippi
Rag: The Voice of Traditional Jazz and Ragtime, and from Canada, Coda,
Planet Jazz, and The Jazz Report.

• Host a jazz listening session in your home or a jazz-themed party in
honor of a favorite musician, or to celebrate jazz in general.

• Read a jazz-related poem—such as those in The Jazz Poetry Anthology,
edited by Sascha Feinstein and Yusef Komunyakaa or their The Second
Set: The Jazz Poetry Anthology, Volume 2.

• View and think about jazz-related artwork. How does the artwork express
jazz culture or the artist’s interpretation of jazz language? For an example
of jazz-related artwork, look in Seeing Jazz: Artists and Writers on Jazz.

Jazz Societies
• Ask your local library to feature jazz CDs, books, and videos during April.
• Ask the local museum or historical society if it would do a special
exhibition or program during April.
• Create a community-wide celebration by collaborating with your local
museum, public library, college, public radio/TV station, arts and
humanities councils, or performing arts center.
• Organize a tour of locally significant jazz sites.

• Organize a record/CD swapfest.

• Organize a jazz dance or jazz ball–perhaps encouraging the musicians
and dancers to wear vintage clothing. Make it a festive event.

• Organize a “Disc Drive” to collect unwanted jazz CDs to donate to local
schools, colleges, and nursing homes.

• Take your son or daughter to hear “live” jazz, such as the jazz band of
your local high school or college.

• Play jazz music while driving in the car or sitting at the dinner table with
your family and talk to your children about the music.

• Play different tracks from jazz CDs for your children and their friends
and ask for their reactions. Try different pieces and when you find some
that they like, consider exposing your child to more music by that artist.
• Suggest your child log on to a child-friendly jazz site.

• Display a jazz poster in your home, and talk about it with your children.
• Read to your young child. If you are the parent of a child aged 4-8, read
(or get your child to read) The Jazz Fly by Matthew Gollub and Karen
Hanke, The Sound That Jazz Makes by Carole Boston Weatherford and
Eric Velasquez, Once Upon a Time in Chicago: The Story of Benny
Goodman by Jonah Winter and Jeanette Winter, If I Only Had a Horn:
Young Louis Armstrong by Roxane Orgill and Leonard Jenkins, or Chris
Raschka’s Mysterious Thelonious or Charlie Parker Played Be Bop.
• Contact your local jazz society to see if it offers a jazz education program;

Working Musicians
• Donate a concert to your local primary, secondary or tertiary institution. After
the concert, be available to talk with students about jazz and encourage
their interest.

• Explore the work of a musician who is new to you.

• Go to “This Date in Jazz History” (at www.smithsonianjazz.org) and find
an anniversary around which you could perform a piece, dedicate a
tune, etc.

• Ask the Music Performance Trust Funds to pay for special concerts
during JAM.

• Get together with fellow musicians and organize a citywide “Jazz Day”
or “Jazz Night” and have a citywide JAM session.

• Feature music of the jazz legends whose birthdays fall in April: Duke
Ellington, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Dodds,
Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Shorty Rogers, Mongo
Santamaria, Tito Puente, Freddie Hubbard, Randy Weston, or Herbie

• Hold a Jazz Vespers service.
• Commission a concert of a religious work in the jazz idiom, such as
Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts, or one composed by Mary Lou
Williams or Dave Brubeck.


JamaicanMusic Offbeat said...

Indeed a commended effort to not only to resurrect jazz alive in Jamaica but also to spread its music and knowledge among the young. Might I add that written petition be sent to our music radio stations to program at least an hour of jazz on air.

We must commend News Talk 93 FM which might be the only Jamaican radio station to deliberately program improv music. I support this venture to keep jazz alive

jazzofonik said...

Thanks, CW
As you mention Newstalk, is Dermot's show still five nights a week. His last email to me looked sketchy, and I haven't been able to tune in recently

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