For two and a half days in the middle of May, prominent jazz composers, musicians, scholars, students, and industry professionals from across the world flocked to Tampa, FL to convene for the first Jazz Composers’ Symposium in almost 10 years. Taking place in the University of South Florida School of Music’s impressive new building/concert hall located just north of downtown Tampa, the almost 200 conference registrants were afforded an all-too-rare opportunity to connect with fellow jazz composers while engaging with celebrated master artists, becoming exposed to a variety of new music, and discussing related music industry trends.
The event culminated with the ISJAC Board honoring Chick Corea with admission into its first Jazz Composer Hall-of-Fame class (along with posthumous awards to Duke Ellington and Mary Lou Williams). Upon accepting the award and saying a few words to the audience, Chick invited former bandmate Joe Chambers (Tones for Joan’s Bones) to join him on stage for an impromptu performance. Earlier in the evening Chuck Owen and his Jazz Surge (along with special guests Randy Brecker and Gregoire Maret) had captivated the near capacity crowd in attendance with stunning selections from their soon to be released project, “Whispers On the Wind”. A true jazz legend, congrats on the honor Chick! Check out his performance on NPR last year as this legend clearly still has the stuff.
It was just a little under a year ago that Chicago jazz musician Diane Ellis was performing a tribute concert for jazz organ legend Jimmy McGriff. As she began to play her instrument on stage something had all of a sudden gone wrong. She could not feel her fingers, there was no movement from her lips and she had instantly known something was very wrong. She was having a stroke and 911 was immediately called. That was one of the last memories she has of that night, right before passing out.
Diane was forced to go through immense rehabilitation and therapy that is still ongoing today. Currently the entire left side of her body is immobile as she is still under going therapy daily. The Chicago jazz community is coming together to help raise money for Diane. More than 30 musicians will be hosting a benefit concert on June 14th at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for Arts.
Diane was not just any normal jazz musician. Not only because of Ellis’ accomplishments on her horn but also due to her wide influence as teacher. From 1994 until her retirement in 2016, Ellis nurtured talented young players at Arthur Dixon Elementary School, on South St. Lawrence Avenue. None has been more prominent than trumpeter Marquis Hill, who won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition in 2014 and has been touring the world ever since. Please all my fellow Chicago jazz fans, come out and help support Diane for an excellent cause. All the information can be found below!
Benefit for Diane Ellis will begin at 7 p.m. June 14 at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.; tickets range from $50-$250; a reception, with food and drinks, from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. June 14 in the Logan Center’s Performance Penthouse will be open to $250 ticket holders. For more information, visit www.hydeparkjazzsociety.com or phone 773-702-2787.
The eighth annual Richmond Jazz Fest announced its lineup of artists for this summer’s festival, Aug. 10-13, mostly in Maymont. There also are performances at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Hippodrome Theater and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.
Among the highlights are soul and hip-hop queen Erykah Badu, rapper Common performing with the Richmond Symphony, TajMo (Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ bands), Pat Metheny, Bob James, Robert Cray, the Isley Brothers, Jazmine Sullivan
Early Bird pricing through July 6th: $75 single day admission /$140 weekend admission, not including fees Beginning July 7: $85 single day admission /$150 weekend admission, not including fees. Purchase your tickets HERE!
Found a very interesting article, which I read in the Independent today. In Clapton, East London, there is a church called St. James the Great Church. Some of the finest jazz musicians the UK has to offer have started a live music project at the church. The Church of Sound is once again proof that jazz is still very much alive today. Feel free to check out the rest of the article HERE.