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Music Rising Joins The Jazz Foundation of America For its 15th Annual Gala

Jazzed Magazine • News • October 20, 2016

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The Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) will host its 15th Annual “A Great Night in Harlem” gala on Thursday, October 27, at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, where Music Rising, the charity co-founded by U2’s the Edge and legendary producer Bob Ezrin, among others, will be honored. Proceeds will go to the JFA’s Musicians Emergency Fund, reserved to benefit creative jazz, blues, and R&B artists who have contributed their talents and works to American Music and that includes an ongoing relief effort for Louisiana musicians affected by August’s devastating floods.  Emceeing the evening will be esteemed actors Danny Glover and Joe Morton.

The recipient of 2016’s Hank Jones Award (named after the legendary jazz pianist and composer) is Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John, winner of six Grammy awards, and famous for his New Orleans-style blues, R&B, jazz, and funk. Beyond releasing 35 albums and the classic Top Ten hit “Right Place, Wrong Time,” Dr. John’s signature keyboards are embedded on recordings by The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Van Morrison, Gregg Allman, Neil Diamond, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Rickie Lee Jones, Levon Helm, Maria Muldaur, and many others. His music also can be found in classic films such as Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, and 101 Dalmatians, plus TV series’ like Blossom and K-Ville, even appearing as himself in episodes of NCIS New Orleans and HBO’s Treme.

Acclaimed jazz pianist McCoy Tyner also will be honored at A Great Night in Harlem with the JFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Admired for his unique synthesis of blues, jazz, and a flair for staccato and the pentatonic scale, this mainly Impulse!, Blue Note, and Milestone artist delivered close to 75 solo albums over his lifetime, recording with legendary artists including John Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane, George Benson, Stanley Clarke, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Stanley Turrentine, Art Farmer, Bobby Hutcherson, Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, and Stephane Grappelli. Past recipients included Sonny Rollins, Bono, Herbie Hancock, and JFA Board member Quincy Jones.

JFA’s Titans of Jazz Award will be presented to Bob Cranshaw, Harold Mabern and Dr. Frank Forte.

Music Rising, the disaster relief organization founded post-Katrina is dedicated to rebuilding music education in cities affected by disaster. Music Rising, which supports Jazz in the Schools program, will be recognized during the event. The heart of New Orleans, which is where Music Rising began, will be celebrated throughout the evening. 

As in 2015, Steve Jordan will serve as Musical Director, overseeing this year’s assembly of musicians and special guests who will pay tribute to Dr. John and McCoy Tyner. Performers at this year’s A Great Night in Harlem will include blues guitarist/vocalist Robert Cray, the multi-genre John Mayer Trio (John Mayer, Pino Palladino, Steve Jordan), funk/soul/gospel pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph,, Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader Jon Batiste, and others.

A Great Night in Harlem concerts serve as both fundraisers and events to raise awareness of the JFA’s efforts to provide assistance to musicians facing homelessness, hunger, poverty, eviction, and those in need of medical assistance, as well as uplifting through education and offering dignified work. Among the various programs the JFA offers are Agnes Varis Jazz in the Schools, The Musicians’ Legacy, and the Monday Night Jam Series.

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