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31 Jazz Artists Receive Nearly $360,000 from Jazz Road to Support Tours

Nonprofit initiative will bring musicians including Jaimie Branch and William Parker to underserved communities

Jaimie Branch
Jaimie Branch (photo: Peter Gannushkin)

Thirty-one jazz artists have been selected to receive $359,600 collectively from Jazz Road, the national initiative led by South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization based in Atlanta. 

The money is intended to help support tours that will reach rural, isolated, and underserved communities as well as more traditional venues. 

“Jazz Road Tours enables both lesser-known and mid-career, more established artists to tour the country, accessing areas that were previously out of reach,” Sara Donnelly, director of jazz for South Arts, says in a press release announcing the grants. “Artists can plan these small tours knowing they will be compensated equitably for fees and travel, which smaller, less-resourced presenters often find too risky to cover or pay in advance.”

The musicians—who each requested up to $15,000 and had to apply—were selected by a national panel including New Orleans-based sound artist Aurora Nealand, Vermont Jazz Center director Eugene Uman, and violinist Regina Carter, among others. 

Some of the artists selected include percussionist Fran Vielma and the Venezuelan Jazz Collective, who will play in Florida and Puerto Rico; trumpeter Jaimie Branch, who will tour in Arkansas and Tennessee, among other places; and an ensemble led by bassist William Parker, who will travel to rural Vermont. 

“We are proud that jazz has its roots here in the south, where it was birthed just over a century ago in the cultural mix of New Orleans,” says Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts, in the release. “It quickly worked its way up the Mississippi River and across the country to the many hubs and cities now known for its richest developments. Jazz Road, the largest national program in our organization’s history, echoes that historical reach and growth, region by region.”

The tours will take place between October 2019 and September 2020. For more information, visit Jazz Road’s website.