JAMM PRESENTS our Spring Fundraiser Concert featuring Jazz Guitarist, Randy Napoleon and Jazz Singer, Melissa Morgan. Get your advance tickets HERE for either the 7:00 or 9:00 show on Saturday April 20th. Act now to make sure you get a seat for this once-in-a-blue-moon pairing of the “soulful and smart” jazz guitar professor and the “interesting, sassy, and sexy” rising star singer.
We’re working on a project that will take a bit of time to complete, so stay tuned!
We are assembling all audio and when available, all video of past JAMM Tributes and other events. We have quite an archive thanks to the work of JAMM Volunteers!
So far, what we appear to be in need of, if you have them, are photographs from some of the Tributes. If you have any, please email a note to email@example.com, to let us know. Don’t just send photos, please. If you have videos as well, write to let us know.
The main Tribute events we need materials for are:
Sandy Izenson and Patti Richards, especially photos. We have audio for both.
It’s great fun to listen to some of these, after all these years! Here’s a teaser for you, from The Second Annual JAMM Tribute to the late Patti Richards. Singing here, Betty Joplin, who was friends with Patti and shares a bit about that here as well.
Lionel Frederick Cole was born the youngest of Edward and Paulina Nancy Cole’s five children. His three elder brothers, Eddie, Ike and Nat (twelve years Freddy’s senior) were all musicians taught by their mother.
Though Freddy was born in Chicago, he is now a 35-year native son and international celebrity of Atlanta. Freddy moved to New York in 1951, where he studied at the Juilliard School of Music and found himself profoundly influenced by John Lewis, Oscar Peterson and Teddy Wilson.
He got a Master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music and then spent several months on the road as a member of Earl Bostic’s band that also included Johnny Coles and Benny Golson. It was back in New York that Freddy successfully laid the groundwork for a career that continues to flourish to this day.
He developed a vast repertoire of songs in Manhattan bistros and concurrently began to supplement his live performances with television and radio commercial work. Freddy recorded several albums for European and English companies during the 1970s that helped him develop a loyal overseas following. Cole believes that becoming an international favorite made him “widen my scope a little bit.”
He developed a stand-up act, a better rapport with audiences, and learned to sing in other languages.
“It made me much more a performer.”
A resident of Atlanta since 1972, he currently leads a quartet on piano and vocals with guitarist Randy Napoleon, bassist Elias Bailey, and drummer Quentin Baxter, that regularly tours the US, Europe, the Far East, South America and South Africa.
Freddy has been a recording artist since 1952, when his first single, “The Joke’s on Me,” was released on an obscure Chicago-based label.While there are certain unmistakable similarities in timbre to his brother Nat, his voice is raspier, smokier, jazzier even. In truth, his phrasing is far closer to that of Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday than that of his brother, and his timing swings even more. His vocals – suave, elegant, formidable, sometimes spoken and articulate – make him the most respected lyrical storyteller in jazz.
Cole’s career continues to ascend as he has moved into the front ranks of America’s homegrown art form with a style and musical sophistication all his own.
International recording artist Freddy Cole will pay a special visit to East Lansing soon! He sings as well as plays the piano, upright bass and guitar. His successful career has spanned five decades and is still flourishing today.
We hope to hear a song or two from his latest CD, honoring his late brother, the wonderful Nat King Cole. The title is “He Was the King.”
MSU Professor and jazz guitarist Randy Napoleon helped make all this happen. He tours regularly with Mr. Cole and will be playing, as well. at this show.
This special event is on Wednesday, August 22nd 7-8:30 pm. Tickets for the first show sold out so quickly that a second show has been added, starting at 9 pm. Use the same link below if interested in attending that show. Student tickets are being offered for this second show only at a cost of $10 each.
1267 Lakeside Drive, East Lansing
Student Tickets, 9pm show only: $10
Proceeds from this special show will benefit the Sandy Izenson JAMM Scholarship Fund, given each year to a high school student to pursue their jazz studies after graduation.
Voting ends at midnight July 30. Input and replies from members and donors has been truly wonderful and exciting. As of the 29th, we literally have no idea who the choice will be.
How cool is that? It’s an indication of the vast range of knowledge among our members, and a great appreciation for the jazz community all around them.
See full schedule and details at link above. One last time, these are the finalists:
Thank you very much to all of you who submitted nominations for the 2019 JAMM Tribute Honoree. As a result of a blind, weighted vote, the current JAMM Board and Past JAMM Tribute Honorees have whittled that list of names sent in down to these three deserving individuals:
If you are a 2018 JAMM Member or Donor, you will be receiving an email shortly to vote for your top choice to be 2019’s JAMM Tribute Honoree. The celebration will be held in November. Details forthcoming.
Thank you so much to everyone who submitted the name of a nominee for our 2019 JAMM Tribute Honoree. As you likely know, the celebration and event takes place each November. That date and information will be forthcoming by the end of summer, so you can all plan ahead and “save the date.”
The next step in this process, to finalize who will be the Honoree, will be to organize and tally the names that came to us, discern who the top three names are, and send those to all JAMM members to vote on.
Again, stay tuned here, read your weekly e-news, sent on Saturdays, and/or keep in touch on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jazzjamm.
Shown here, tremendous party and Tribute to Randy Gelispie!
If you were lucky enough to see them, best friends, James McFarland and Julian Van Dyke, often painted next to the main stage at the East Lansing Summer Solstice Jazz Festival. Crowds would gather to listen to the tremendous music, while watching the two men compose their colorful images.
Tragically, James passed away in 2017 from a sudden illness, leaving a space that can never be filled, for those who knew and loved him. Julian, a locally known artist of paintings and murals, has agreed upon a special work to be offered this year, as a symbol of their many collaborations.
Not only will Julian will be painting on a stage in the Albert Street parking lot (behind the Peanut Barrel), but a piece he and James did together in 2011, entitled “Joint Effort,” will be up for auction near that stage. This piece has been graciously donated by James’ daughters, Michelle Humes and Jessica Graham.
You will be able to bid at the event, if you wish. All proceeds go toward the festival itself.
“Joint Effort”, shown here, is 66 inches square. It is unframed and on canvas, and painted and signed by both artists.
Apart from his interest and work with water for healing, he was a studied artist and a musician in his own right. He was also a great fan of jazz music and The Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan. His family, who took over his Lansing based Hotwater Works, gave proceeds from some of his paintings to JAMM earlier this year, during a memorial birthday event held at the store in Lansing.
The festival staff and volunteers are so very grateful to the family for contributing this wonderful creation and beautiful memory of a unique friendship.
We all know the pain of losing someone very special. The jazz community in this area still feels this loss, especially at events like Summer Solstice, held just blocks from where James lived in East Lansing. He was always there, bringing his usual joyful presence and creativity.
Despite our sadness, we are grateful that his daughters Michelle and Jessica, and their spouses and children, are now part of our wonderful jazz family.
There are at least three connections with Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan members to a special show on June 1 in Lansing, and only one is playing music!
First, the venue, UrbanBeat Event Center, is owned by Terry Terry, a JAMM Founding Member and current 2018 member. He tells us he’s been wanting to use this space for years, as a jazz club, and other kinds of performances. Now, that’s a reality!
Connection number two on this is Elden Kelly, who will be performing with Dave Sharp Worlds Quartet on this evening, along with Carolyn Koebel, Igor Houwat, and Henrik Karapetyan. Elden is also a JAMM Founding Member and a local favorite among many members, as a guitarist, vocalist, composer and teacher.
The third connection is Candice Wilmore, JAMM’s current Secretary and the owner of a small company called Big Barn Productions. Some may recall the jazz shows she first started producing in the big red barn on Jolly and Okemos Roads, a few years ago. Big Barn is working on this June 1 show in the areas of public relations and promotion.
About this event, Candice says, “Whatever your concepts are of jazz, blues, funk or folk music, toss ’em out and come hear these unique and seriously talented players. You won’t be sorry.”
If you don’t know about Dave Sharp, the group’s leader, he was born in Detroit, Michigan where he was inspired by the city’s deep musical heritage. While studying at the University of Michigan, Sharp became deeply devoted to the study of jazz and improvisation. This led to a move to San Francisco where Dave studied with legendary bassist Herbie Lewis (McCoy Tyner, Cannonball Adderley, Les McCann) at the New College of California.
While living in San Francisco, Sharp performed in art spaces and venues like Cafe Du Nord and the Fillmore, and served as bassist and composer for the modern jazz ensemble the Spheres of Influence. After a brief tour of Japan, Sharp returned home to the Ann Arbor area of Michigan, where he continues to compose, record, engineer, teach and perform live.
Click here for ticket information:
Be sure to check out some of our outright favorite jazz performers and JAMM members and supporters, at the 2018 East Lansing Jazz Festival, June 22-23.
Friday at the Main Stage, named after JAMM Founding Members Al and Beth Cafagna, will be songbird and former JAMM Tribute Honoree Sunny Wilkinson. She’ll be there from 6pm – 7pm, so you’ll want to be sure to head over, find out where the festival will be parking us all (major construction as you likely know), and where the stages will be, so you can find a seat in in time to hear Ms. Sunny’s incomparable voice and fantastic song stylings. We hope to hear from her latest CD, “INTO THE LIGHT.” Do an online search to read reviews and learn more.
Sunny’s “favorite pianist” and husband, Ron Newman, also a Tribute Honoree and JAMM Founding Member, will be at the helm on the same stage, 9:30-11:00, directing the Lansing Symphony Big Band w/Benny Bennack, At the age of 27, Pittsburgh-born Benack III has been hailed by Nate Chinen of the New York Times as “a charismatic young trumpeter who maintains an earnest sideline as a singer”. As a dual-threat, he’s quickly established himself as one of the most versatile and virtuosic voices of his generation.
At the MSU Outreach and Engagement Stage, our own JAMM Scholarship Band will open the festival, playing from 4pm – 5pm. Ian Levine will be sitting in on drums with Doug Fritch, on guitar, and also leading the band, all prior recipients of the Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan’s Sandy Izenson Scholarship. The Education Stage is going to be located this year on Albert St, close to the intersection of Division.
Closing it out at this same stage on Friday is one of Lansing’s favorite sons, and great JAMM supporter and member, Phil Denny. He’ll be hitting at 9:30 and ending about 11pm, if the audience will let him stop playing! (Well, they’ll have to or the police will enforce the noise ordinance!) The funk comes out strong with this guy and so does the audience participation, so be sure to come over and see what’s goin’ on!
The MSU Big Band Symposium Orchestra, is a fantastic project started by another JAMM Founder and Director of MSU Jazz Studies, the preeminent Professor Rodney Whitaker. Two groups will perform, one at 3:00-4:00 and another, 4:30-5:30. You won’t want to miss these great kids, who come from across the country in June to study with MSU staff and students.
Orchestra Ritmo, Saturday at the Founder’s Stage, will go from 9:30-11:00 and finish out this wonderful festival. As many of you know, Mike Eyia is the leader of this stellar ensemble and has been a JAMM member, respected musician and great friend, for many years.
Meet Justin Mason.
He is a junior at Okemos High School and one of two recipients of JAMM’s Sandy Izerson Scholarship Award, given in 2018. The Sandy Izerson Scholarship is given annually.
Justin has been playing trombone for seven years, since 5th grade, adding jazz to his interests in 7th grade, when eligible to join the school’s jazz band.
Justin states “The first experience that I can recall that really got me into
playing jazz was when I heard “Brooklyn” by the Youngblood Brass
Band.” The Youngblood Brass is a New Orleans-inspired brass group from
Wisconsin. “Brooklyn” written by Nat Macintosh, the sousaphone
player in the group, features multiple written trombone solos played by Matt
“It wasn’t long before I was absolutely obsessed, and recruited a
group of my friends to try and play the tune for our school’s 8th
grade talent show, though this didn’t exactly pan out.”
Justin said he didn’t actually start improvising until the next year, when he
joined the high school Jazz Ensemble, and began to discover more of
the jazz greats.
He states, “I slowly moved away from the harsher, older style of New Orleans
playing, and moved into the more “refined” styles exemplified in swing
and bebop. I started listening to Tommy Dorsey’s transcendent ballad
playing, echoed in the contemporary playing of Bill Watrous, and Carl
Fonanta, whose legacy is continued by Bob McChesney today. Other
favorites include Andy Martin, Wycliffe Gordon, and of course, JJ
Cleary, Justin has a deep connection, not only to jazz, but to the trombone.
He made his first appearance with the JAMM Scholarship Band April 27 at
this year’s annual JAMM International Jazz Day event, The International Jazz
Day Dance Party, held at Gregory’s Soul Food in Lansing.
The audience was comprised of JAMM supporters and others
attending one of our events for the first time. It was great to present Justin as
the newest member of our musical family. His parents came as well, and
brought friends, so it was a very special event for the Masons, and for JAMM!