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Jazz Foundation of America Presents All-Star “Bird Calls” Benefit Dec. 10

The livestream will feature Sonny Rollins, Roy Haynes, Sheila Jordan, Gary Bartz, Tom Scott, and many more

Bird Calls flyer
Flyer for the JFA’s “Bird Calls” event

Continuing its vital fundraising efforts on behalf of musicians affected by the pandemic, the Jazz Foundation of America will present “Bird Calls,” a special livestream event celebrating the centennial of Charlie Parker, on December 10. The show begins at 8 p.m. ET on the live concert platform FANS (FANS.LIVE/BIRDCALLS), with a replay at 8 p.m. PT.

The two-hour all-star show—recorded at the Brooklyn Bowl in New York, Vibrato Grill in Los Angeles, and the New Orleans Jazz Museum observing strict health safety protocols—will benefit the JFA’s COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund, established in March to provide direct financial assistance for covering the basic living expenses of musicians and their families. 

For the Brooklyn performances, the JFA’s co-artistic director Steve Jordan has recruited, aptly, a top-flight group of alto saxophonists: Antonio Hart, Vincent Herring, Miguel Zenón, Jaleel Shaw, and Japan’s Erena Terakubo. They will be supported by an impressive cast of players, including pianists Kenny Barron, George Cables, Bill O’Connell, and Dave Kikoski; bassists Buster Williams, Kim Clarke, Kiyoshi Kitagawa, David Wong, and James Genus; drummers Jordan, Billy Hart, Nasheet Waits, and Craig Haynes (son of Roy Haynes, who himself played behind Parker); trumpeters Jimmy Owens and Keyon Harrold; and guitarist Russell Malone. Nioka Workman’s Firey String Sistas guest on a performance saluting Parker’s “Bird With Strings” recordings for Verve. Other guests include vocalist and Bird aficionado Sheila Jordan, who sings on “Confirmation,” as well as Roy Haynes and Sonny Rollins, who offer first-hand recollections of working with Parker.

The L.A. portion of the program will feature veteran alto stars Gary Bartz (with pianist Patrice Rushen, bassist Alex Al, and drummer Roy McCurdy) and Tom Scott (with pianist Tom Rainier, bassist Chris Colangelo, and drummer Gary Novak). In New Orleans, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band will hold the stage. 

“Bird Calls” will also feature special appearances by JFA board member Danny Glover and Grammy-winning historian Phil Schaap, along with archival material focusing on Charlie Parker’s contributions to American music.

“With this event,” Jordan said in a statement, “we have an opportunity to celebrate a person who is very much at the foundation of this music that we love and who has inspired us for so long. To celebrate Bird is a wonderful thing, and hopefully it will be indicative of a light at the end of the tunnel in the immediate future.”

For more information about the JFA and its work during the pandemic, visit www.jazzfoundation.org/covid19.