“A Great Night in Harlem” Coming to the Apollo

The 9th annual event raises money for the Jazz Musicians Emergency Fund

Chevy Chase at the Newport Jazz Festival image 0
Michael Weintrob

Chevy Chase at the Newport Jazz Festival

Chevy Chase and Danny Glover are two of the hosts for this year’s “A Great Night in Harlem” presented by the Jazz Foundation of America. The 9th annual gala benefits the foundation’s Jazz Musicians Emergency Fund, which gives necessary financial aid to elder jazz and blues musicians in need throughout the United States. The concert event will take place on Thursday, May 20 from 8-10 p.m. at the Apollo Theater in New York City.

The 2010 theme is “A History of the Music” and the event will also celebrate the 100th birthday of Max “The Saxman” Lucas. Chase and Glover will be assisted in their hosting duties by Michael Imperioli of the HBO series The Sopranos and David Johansen of The New York Dolls. Some of the performers scheduled for the event are Roberta Flack, Jimmy Heath, Madeleine Peyroux and Sweet Georgia Brown & The Blues Crusaders.

The Musicians Emergency Fund offers a variety of services to jazz and blues musicians in need, including emergency living expenses and medical care. The organization currently averages 1,600 cases a year, and has given aid to over 1,000 New Orleans musicians since Hurricane Katrina.

In 2001, the first “A Great Night in Harlem” concert hosted by Bill Cosby was recorded and later released as a two CD set benefiting the Emergency Fund. A Great Night in Harlem (Playboy Jazz) features Roy Haynes, Ahmad Jamal, Cassandra Wilson, Phil Woods, Kenny Barron and many others.

In November of 2008 JazzTimes columnist Nat Hentoff wrote about how the foundation helped prompt a similar program, Philadelphia’s Jazz Bridge Project, which gives aid to Delaware Valley jazz and blues musicians in times of crises. Hentoff also wrote about the non-profit’s effort to employ musicians who have been affected financially by music piracy. According to his June, 2004 column, the foundation initiated educational jazz performances in the five New York City boroughs, which employed several hundred musicians.

Tickets for the event start at $55 and range as high as $1,500 for a ticket that includes entrance to the pre-concert gala dinner and VIP after party. Tickets can be purchased at the Jazz Foundation or by calling (212) 245-3999 ext. 10.