YOUR SOURCE OF JAZZ AND MORE IN WASHINGTON DC AND THE WORLD
Thank you so much for your continuing encouragement and support! Many people are getting the word out about our first CD, Wilbur Ware Super Bass! Not only is it available on our website, but many are ordering it on CD Baby, Amazon, CD Universe and other places, while many others are obtaining digital downloads on iTunes. Even as we thank you, we are encouraging you to continue to pass the word to all fans of the bass and the music.
This winter, some important issues deserve our attention. Most importantly, Barack Obama has won election to a second term as President of the United States, and it signals our opportunity to gather ourselves and collectively garner attention to our cause: Jazz is a National Treasure, America’s gift to the world of music. At his Second Inaugural, this music was not in evidence, and we should speak up! Those musicians who participated are to be commended, but it would have been wonderful to see and hear, for example, George Benson, Dr. Barry Harris, Jazz Master Randy Weston, and the list goes on. Encouraging use of the music in the everyday life of the nation should not even be an issue; however, highlighting their accomplishments and using the innovators and living jazz masters are some things for which we should aspire.
Since the heyday of jazz musical innovation, many changes have taken place. The world and its constant motion, inevitable evolution finds many younger musicians who study much of the history, but have experienced few if any of the meaningful interactions with their elders so necessary to master this music. Many of the Masters of the music including those deemed Jazz Masters continue to teach and/or mentor (Stanley Clarke, Bertha Hope, Rufus Reid, and so many others), but their reach seems severely limited. We need to gather ourselves now and make a difference during the next four years of the Obama Administration. As Justice Sotomayor says, “We must lobby for our beliefs.” Jazz Masters and those whose music was nurtured in the heyday of the 1940s through the 1960s should be acknowledged and heard nationally on a daily basis, and they should definitely be used in the musical lives of all who study jazz in the 21st Century. It seems that all new music on the planet is in one way or another directly influenced by our National Treasure.
While we celebrate the opening of SFJazz’s new facility, I believe that we should strive for even more opportunities and major support for centers throughout the country that offer recording studios, practice facilities (with a master musician on paid call daily), classrooms, performance space, short-term living accommodations, and whatever else this music demands. Do you remember “Music Minus One?” Do you support ArtistsHouse? There is no competition, and each major city in the country should strive for a jazz venue, just as there are major sports arenas, major (and minor) symphony orchestras, so there should be major jazz music facilities as well as an accomplished living jazz legend associated with each college and university jazz program. Who will endow a chair for jazz on each higher education campus? JALC is wonderful, but we need so much more! Let’s work toward this!
Right now, we need to assist some deserving musicians among us: (1) Many are encouraging acknowledgement of George Coleman as Jazz Master. If you have not already done so, please visit the site and make your voice heard:
George Coleman for Jazz Masters Award
(2) Others of us are deeply concerned about Julian Priester. He has medical and other needs that require us to show our love and support. The Jazz Foundation of America has been assisting Julian. If you send money here to The Wilbur Ware Institute using PayPal (Memo: Julian Priester), we will also see that he receives the funds directly.
I received a reminder recently via a “Daily Meditation,” that was speaking about those who assist humanitarian efforts for people affected by Super Storm Sandy and other national disasters. It suggested that the more we do, the more we will do. I understand, however, that many people still are surviving in the aftermath of Katrina, of Haitian disasters, of African wars and Middle Eastern conflict. There is global warming and human inhumanity to others. Yes, these continue. Nevertheless, I immediately thought of an effort to arouse collective artist action. Ours is an artistic disaster in need of attention. And I recall that in past decades, others have had the same objectives. I am wondering now if we can organize a one-time event here in NYC with a national (and international) agenda. If you are interested, please send a message to us or contact us personally; we should do this as soon as possible, within the next three weeks.
Thanks again for your good wishes and support. Spring is inevitable, even as we endure winter’s shorter days. We can’t necessarily see the renewal that is spring, but it’s coming . . . .