The Jazz Museum in Harlem’s series “Harlem Speaks,” which honors those who keep jazz alive in Harlem, will resume on Thursday, November 11 with a talk featuring literature professor and director of Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies Robert O’Meally. O’Meally will discuss, among other things, his life-long passion for jazz and Harlem; his research on jazz writer Ralph Ellison; and the Center’s recent symposium on artist Romare Bearden. O’Meally is also the author and editor of several books, including Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday, The Jazz Cadence of American Culture and Uptown Conversation: New Jazz Studies.
The series will continue the following Thursday, November 18, with a discussion between pianist Marjorie Eliot and the museum’s executive director, Loren Schoenberg. They will talk about Eliot’s weekly Sugar Hill soirees at 555 Edgecombe Ave., the legendary residence of bandleader Andy Kirk and Ellington’s alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges. Eliot began the free series in 1995 and coordinates an annual jazz concert in August in front of the landmark Morris Jumel mansion.
On December 2, singer-guitarist and Harlem resident Allan Harris will share tales of his life and career, which includes winning the 2004 New York Nightlife award for “Outstanding Male Jazz Vocalist” and Tony Bennett’s blessing as his “favorite new singer.”
Grammy-nominated percussionist, composer and arranger Bobby Sanabria (pictured) will close the 2004 series on December 16 with a discussion entitled “East Harlem, Birthplace of Afro-Cuban Jazz.” Sanabria has earned a respectable reputation through stints performances with luminaries such as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Charles McPherson and Paquito D’Rivera. Sanabria was also a key member of the Mario Bauza Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra’s soundtrack of the film, The Mambo Kings.
The free series is co-produced by the Jazz Museum in Harlem and Greg Thomas Associates, and is held at the offices of the museum, located at 104 East 126th St., from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling (212) 348-8300. For more information visit www.jazzmuseuminharlem.org