“...Jazz is hereby designated as a rare and valuable national American treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and resources to make certain it is preserved, understood and promulgated...” so decreed a bill proposed by Democratic Representative John Conyers, Jr. and passed by the US House of Representatives and Senate in 1987. So how is it that jazz, a unique form of American music, has disappeared from public school education? And what can be done about it?
Not only must funds be raised, but the joy of music must be shared with our young. The 2nd annual Education for Empowerment Jazz Benefit Concert – JAZZY JAM PASADENA – continues the effort. The free clinic and the following day's concert event are produced by Jackie Snell Brown for Charity Events LA, and Pasadena Councilwoman Jacque Robinson (District 1), who understands the challenges, has signed on as chairperson.
“The benefits of a music education are well established as an effective tool for teaching students thinking skills essential to success in all areas of academic learning,” said Robinson. “As schools continue to fall victim to the budgetary axe, arts programs are often the first to be eliminated, and students lose a very integral part of a well rounded education.”
The free admission music clinic is open to all music students at the elementary, high school and college levels, to support the return of jazz education, starting with the Pasadena Unified School District. It is presented in cooperation with the Roscoe Owens for the JazzZone, with special thanks to the musicians, John Muir High School, Principal Sheryl Orange, Music Director Thomas Hansen and Larry G. Tharp, stage manager.
An All-Star assemblage of talented jazz musicians – vocalist Lalah Hathaway, saxophonist Louis Van Taylor, pianist Donn Wyatt, drummer Stephen Foster, trumpeter and musical director Noland Shaheed, along with other special guests – will share their talents in the Rufus Meade Auditorium at John Muir High School (1905 Lincoln Avenue in Pasadena), on Friday, May 14 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Admission is free; Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) students must show their student ID, and registration is required for all non-PUSD students. For reservations, call the Jazzy Jam-Pasadena Hotline, (626) 744-8081 or email Jacqueline@jazzyjampasadena.com. Limited seating is available and reservations are on a first-come, first served basis. Reservation deadline: Wednesday, May 7, 2010. For additional information, visit www.jazzyjampasadena.com.
“Recent studies have confirmed that listening to music at an early age stimulates brain development and that listeners become better learners and develop a highly creative approach to problem solving,” explained Snell Brown. “As a working mother, with two small children, I want them to have every opportunity to become well-rounded adults, with an understanding of how music relates to our culture and how it molded our civilization. I want them to understand the richness of jazz, and I believe this clinic offers an innovative approach and we welcome all to attend.”
“The history of jazz and the music itself have rarely been taught in American public schools at any level,” added event coordinator Roscoe Owens. “When jazz is discussed, it was only glossed over – never mentioned as America’s first truly unique original art form – the concept is often treated as entertainment and not as education.”
The following day, Saturday, May 15, JAZZY JAM-PASADENA takes place at the Rose Bowl (Area H) with an eclectic lineup featuring (not in order of appearance): Cartaya’s Enclave Featuring Justo Alamario; Janis Mann featuring pianist Llew Matthews, bassist John B. Williams, and drummer Roy McCurdy; the Jazzy Jam House Band featuring keyboardist Kenneth Crouch, violinist Karen Briggs, saxophonist Ron Brown and others; bassist Mike Gurrola; Rebecca King Crews; Rapid Response featuring Pasadena’s Police, Fire, and other city departments; the John Muir Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Mitchell Cymon and the Pasadena City College - Lancers Jazz Big Band under the direction of Andrea Wilkerson. Master of Ceremonies: Bubba Jackson, on-air personality, KJAZZ 88.1 FM, with special guests Mother Love and comedian Jonathan Slocumb.
For additional information and tickets, visit the web site, www.jazzyjampasadena.com or become a Fan on Facebook, JAZZY JAM 2010. Tickets are also available at Perry’s Joint (2051 Lincoln Avenue, Pasadena, CA) or at www.eticketfarm.com. Tickets for the concert are $20.00 (general lawn seating) in advance, $30.00 at the door, children under 13 are free. VIP reserved seats are $125.00 and include reserved seat, lunch and beverages, umbrellaed table (seating for 10). Plenty of free parking is available.
FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY REASONS: NO picnic baskets, coolers, umbrellas, canopies, backpacks, glass containers, cans, alcoholic beverages, audio recorders, video cameras, barbecue grills, bicycles or dogs will be allowed entry to the site. Festival-goers are encouraged to bring blankets, and/or beach/lawn chairs. Plenty of food and beverages will be available for purchase.
2010 JAZZ JAM- PASADENA is produced by Jackie Snell Brown for Charity Events LA, sponsored by the City of Pasadena, Pasadena Magazine and KJAZZ 88.1 FM. Proceeds from the event will benefit children and youth served by two local nonprofit organizations—Charity Events Outreach Services by EBJ and the Flintridge Operating Foundation.