Jazz Musicians Raise Money for Victims of Earthquake and Tsunami

John Zorn, ELEW and Yoshi's hosting benefit concerts and events taking place in New York City and San Francisco

Numerous jazz artists and organizations are stepping up to host benefits and fundraisers for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. We will try to alert readers to as many as we hear about. Here are three we’ve heard about recently, presented in chronological order.

John Zorn, who has always had close ties to Japan, has organized a benefit concert for Sunday, March 27 at the Miller Theatre in New York City. “The tragedy and devastation is really overwhelming,” said Zorn, in a press release received at JT. “I’ve always felt a strong personal connection to Japan, and I’m just glad to be able to do my part to help. It should be an amazing night.” The lineup includes feature performances by musician and artist Yoko Ono, along with her son Sean Lennon; Japanese-American indie duo Cibo Matto; and rock band Sonic Youth. Vocalist Mike Patton will appear as a special guest, and Mephista (with Susie Ibarra on drums, Sylvie Courvoisier on piano and Ikue Mori on electronics), Marc Ribot, Uri Caine, and John Zorn’s Aleph Trio (with Zorn on saxophones, Trevor Dunn on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums) will also play short sets. According to the press release, both the performers and the theater are donating their services, so that 100% of proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund. For more information, you can visit the Miller Theatre website.

Self-described “Rockjazz” pianist ELEW is holding a benefit on Thursday, March 31 at the Gramercy Theater in New York City, in cooperation with Live Nation and Party With Purpose with proceeds going to the relief efforts of humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders and Save The Children. The event will include performances by ELEW, singer Cassandra Wilson and a special spoken word performance by actor Forest Whitaker. The event will also feature Great Big Planes and the dance company Complexions Contemporary Ballet, who will perform their dance piece “Rise,” set to the music of U2. Tickets are $100 for regular admission and $150 for VIP seating and pre-party. Tickets are available at the Party With Purpose website.

On Saturday, April 9, the jazz club Yoshi’s San Francisco will host thirteen chefs from celebrated Bay Area restaurants for an afternoon of food, wine and sake, along with music by Anthony Brown’s Asian American Jazz Orchestra. 100% of proceeds will go to the American Red Cross. For the complete list of chefs and more information, you can visit the Yoshi’s website.

Please let us know in the Comments section below about any other jazz-related benefits for the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.