03/27/12

Juneteenth Jazz Honors African American Jazz Legacies

Concert series celebrates African American jazz musicians’ birthplaces and birthdays

This year, beginning in early March and continuing until early November, Dr. Ronald Myers and Dr. Larry Ridley of the African American Jazz Caucus and the National Association of Juneteeth Jazz Presenters will celebrate various jazz legends’ birthdays and birthplaces with a series of concerts. These performances are closely affiliated with the Juneteenth movement, an effort to make June 19 a national holiday honoring the end of slavery, and with Black Music Month, which is also in June.

Dr

Dr. Ronald Myers

Myers and Ridley created the concert series because they noticed that it was becoming more difficult to find live jazz performances in black communities. They wanted a way to spark awareness and excitement about jazz. Myers started along this path by working with churches as chaplain of the African American Jazz Caucus. He brought gospel choirs and local speakers to jazz conventions to bring the two worlds together. “The focus was on music as a way of expressing ones faith,” Myers says. Later, with the proclamation of June as Black Music Month, the Caucus joined forces with the Juneteenth movement and the jazz legacies concert series was born.

Hosting the concerts in the musicians’ hometowns allows for a greater sense of connection and involvement for the citizens of these areas. “We went to Tulsa, to honor Howard McGhee,” says Myers. “I got together with a group of kids and they didn’t even know who Howard McGhee was. So I showed them pictures of him playing and told them about him. It was amazing how their eyes lit up when they learned that this great jazz musician was from their community.” Myers has been very pleased with the impact of the concerts so far. In Summit, Mississippi, where the Caucus honored John Gilmore, there are now pictures of the saxophonist hanging up around town. “Now they are very excited that there is a great jazz legacy from their community,” Myers says.

Myers is usually the headlining artist for the concerts. Sometimes he brings his band with him from Jackson, Miss., where he lives, but mostly he tries to include local musicians. “Sometimes I use high school bands,” he says, “or gospel choirs. I would rather go work with that community. I’ll take a few risks in terms of the music, but I always do it in a way to honor the jazz and honor the legacy.” In this way, the concert series can involve even more people, to spread the word further about the impact of African American music.

The importance of jazz as a piece of African American history is forever the emphasis with Myers and Ridley. “We should always be reminded where the music came from,” Myers says. “It came from the African in the belly of slave ships coming to this country. When we talk about American jazz, I get concerned because you can forget the fact that jazz is African American in origin and out of that slave experience.”

2012 Juneteenth Jazz Concert Schedule

1st Annual HOWARD MCGHEE MEMORIAL TULSA JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE CONCERT
- Tuesday, March 6, 2012, Tulsa, OK

5th Annual ARKANSAS “JAZZ ON THE LEVEE” HELENA ARTS FESTIVAL
- Saturday, April 21, 2012, Helena, AR

3rd Annual DR. WILLIAM BENTLEY MEMORIAL NBEA JUNETEENTH JAZZ CONCERT
- Friday, April 27, 2012, Chicago, IL

2nd Annual CANADIAN MEMORIAL JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE CONCERT
- Saturday, May 26, 2012, Fort St. John, British Columbia, CANADA

2nd Annual MEMORIAL DAY CANADIAN JUNETEENTH ALCAN HIGHWAY CEREMONY
- Monday, May 28, 2012, Sikanni Chief River Bridge, British Columbia, CANADA

2nd Annual MISSISSIPPI NATIONAL JUNETEENTH FLAG RAISING CEREMONY
- Friday, June 1, 2012, Jackson , MS

2nd Annual MISSISSIPPI JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE CONCERT
- Friday, June 1, 2012, Jackson, MS

3rd Annual NATIONAL JUNETEENTH JAZZ, SPOKEN WORD & GRASSROOTS ARTS FESTIVAL
- Saturday, June 2, 2012, Las Vegas, NV

2nd Annual OLIVER NELSON MEMORIAL ST. LOUIS JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE CONCERT
- Monday, June 4, 2012, St. Louis, MO

2nd Annual GRANT GREEN MEMORIAL ST. LOUIS JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE CONCERT
- Wednesday, June 6, 2012, St. Louis, MO

2nd Annual FORT SMITH NATIONAL JUNETEENTH FLAG RAISING CEREMONY
- Thursday, June 7, 2012, Fort Smith, AR

4th Annual JAY MCSHANN MEMORIAL MUSKOGEE JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Friday, June 8, 2012, Muskogee, OK

5th Annual KANSAS CITY MEMORIAL JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Saturday, June 9, 2012, Kansas City, MO

5th Annual OMAHA MALCOLM X MEMORIAL JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Sunday, June 10, 2012, Omaha, NB

1st Annual OMAHA NATIONAL JUNETEENTH MAAFA RECONCILIATION & HEALING PRAYER SERVICE
- Monday, June 11, 2012, Omaha, NE

13th Annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH NATIONAL HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE, National Juneteenth Black Holocaust Maafa Memorial Service
- Friday, June 15, 2012, Washington, DC

3rd Annual GALVESTON JUNETEENTH NATIONAL HOLIDAY OBVSERVANCE, Prayer Service & Flag Raising Ceremony
- Saturday, June 16, 2012, Galveston, TX

2nd Annual CORPUS CHRISTI MEMORIAL JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Saturday, June 16, 2012, Corpus Christi, TX

23rd Annual POMONA JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Saturday, June 16, 2012, Pomona, CA

3rd Annual CHICAGO JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Sunday, June 17, 2012, Chicago, IL

1st Annual WASHINGTON NATIONAL JUNETEENTH FLAG RAISING CEREMONY
- Tuesday, June 19, 2012, Washington, DC

3rd Annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Tuesday, June 19, 2012, Washington, DC

2nd Annual MILT HINTON MEMORIAL VICKSBURG JUNETEENTH MEMORIAL JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Saturday, June 23, 2012, Vicksburg, MS

2nd Annual LET FREEDOM RING: FROM JUSTICE TO JAZZ
- Friday, June 29, 2012, Indianapolis, IN

Annual NATIONAL JUNETEENTH BOARD MEETING & CONFERENCE, Juneteenth Jazz Legacy Awards Luncheon & Fellowship of Creative Christian Jazz Musicians (FCCJM) Workshop
- Friday, June 30, 2012, Indianapolis, IN

2nd Annual NEW YORK MEMORIAL JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE CONCERT
- Saturday, July 7, 2012, New York, NY

1st Annual NEW JERSEY MEMORIAL JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE CONCERT
- Sunday, July 8, 2012, Jersey City, NJ

2nd Annual PHILADELPHIA MEMORIAL JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Tuesday, July 10, 2012, Philadelphia, PA

4th Annual NATIONAL JUNETEENTH BLACK MEDICAL MAAFA MEMORIAL PRAYER SERVICE
- Friday, July 16, 2012, Tchula, MS

3rd Annual MISSOURI NATIONAL BLACK FARMERS JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL
- Tuesday, July 28, 2012, St. Louis, MO

3rd Annual HANK JONES MEMORIAL VICKSBURG JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Tuesday, July 31, 2012, Vicksburg, MS

3rd Annual ALVIN “MOKKI” MATLOCK MEMORIAL FORT SMITH JAZZ JAM
- Wednesday, August 8, 2012, Fort Smith, AR

3rd Annual WORLD DAY OF RECONCILIATION & HEALING FROM THE LEGACY OF ENSLAVEMENT, Fellowship of Creative Christian Jazz Musicians (FCCJM) Workshop
- Friday, August 17, 2012, Hampton, VA

2nd Annual VIRGINIA JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE RECONCILIATION & HEALING CONCERT
- Saturday, August 18, 2012, Hampton, VA

3rd Annual WORLD DAY OF RECONCILIATION & HEALING FROM THE LEGACY OF ENSLAVEMENT, Prayer Service
- Monday, August 20, 2012, Hampton, VA

17th Annual MISSISSIPPI JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL
- Thursday, August 30, 2012, 6:00pm, Belzoni, MS
- Friday, August 31, 2012, 6:00pm, Indianola, MS
- Saturday, September 1, 2012, 6:00pm, Greenville, MS
- Monday, September 3, 2012, 6:00pm, Greenwood, MS
- Tuesday, September 4, 2012, 6:00pm, Shelby, MS

4th Annual ROLAND JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Saturday, September 8, 2012, Roland, OK

5th Annual JIMMY CHEATHAM MEMORIAL JAZZ JAM
- Friday, October 5, 2012, Madison, WI

5th Annual WISCONSIN JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL
- Sunday, October 7, 2012, Milwaukee, WI

2nd Annual OREGON JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL
- Saturday, October 20, 2012, Portland, OR

1st Annual SEATTLE JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE CONCERT
- Sunday, October 21, 2012, Seattle, WA

4th Annual ALPHONSO TRENT MEMORIAL FORT SMITH JAZZ JAM
- Wednesday, October 24, 2012, Fort Smith, AR

3rd Annual FAIRBANKS JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Friday, October 26, 2012, Fairbanks, AK

4th Annual ANCHORAGE JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Sunday, October 28, 2012, Anchorage, AK

3rd Annual ALVIN BATISTE MEMORIAL LOUISIANA JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
- Wednesday, November 7, 2012, Baton Rouge, LA

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