Jeff Kressler Tribute

After eight straight years of organizing and presenting the JAMM Tribute events, one thing was evident on November 12, 2017. JAMM volunteers know how to do it up right!

House Band and Hosts

It takes months of preparation, discussion, organization and team building to present an event of this caliber. On Sunday, even with the last minute loss of our “fearless leader,” Lois Mummaw, (for health reasons), there wasn’t a single major glitch to the activities. Not even a minor one, unless you count the mutual insults between Ron Newman, host and pianist, and the honoree himself.

“I really like what you were trying to do there…” Newman remarked, after Jeff accompanied Newman’s wife, vocalist Sunny Wilkinson.

Mr. Kressler later “complimented” Newman, after a tune he played, saying, “I admire how you never let artistry affect the way you interpret a song.”

You get the drift now. This party was all about the fun, starting with what was likely a great surprise to many in the audience, when Ron Newman and Sunny Wilkinson were introduced by MC Ken Jones, and came bursting out of the Green Room, heading right to the piano and mic to serendade Jeff and his wife Lyn with one of their favorite tunes, “Time After Time.”
It was absolutely beautiful and set the tone perfectly, for what would happen over the next three hours.

Gene Rebeck and Arlene McDaniel are to be highly lauded for their efforts on the creative side of the day’s agenda. The performances were stellar, the stories shared before and after the songs were informative and heartfelt. To say most of us learned more about Jeff’s accomplishments and reputation than we ever imagined, is an understatement.

One of the highlights of the day was when John McDaniel, always the exceptional person handling audio/visual at our parties, showed vintage footage of the late, great Patti Richards performing with the Lansing Symphony Jazz Orchestra. Jeff was highlighted on camera accompanying Ms. Richards, who he played with many, many times, over the years. This is a video we hope to post one day on JAMM’s website. Sunny, who knew Patti well, introduced this precious video with her own recollections of the kindness and warmth these two fabulous singers shared, after Sunny moved to the Lansing area.

At one point, the audience was treated to an interesting and entertaining interview Gregg Hill did with Jeff. Watch here.

A very special part of the day came when former director of the MSU Marching Band, Dave Catron, spoke about the vast and rich history between that group and Jeff Kressler, as composer, arranger and friend. When he finished enlightening us about this aspect of Kressler’s career, we were treated to the following video of an arrangement Jeff did for the band.

The MSU Community Music Building proved to be a wonderful venue, the first time we’d used it for a Tribute, but likely not the last.

Jeff and Sunny

Jeff and Family

As was stated in the beginning, this was a team effort, but those of you who helped make it happen know who you are and JAMM honors you, deeply, for your generous efforts.

JAMM Newsletter Release Date to be Changed to Saturdays

Greetings Jazz Lovers!

Due to a bevy of jazz related events falling on Sundays and our continued commitment to including as many of these events in our newsletter as possible, JAMM President Lois Mummaw and I have decided to begin releasing the newsletter on Saturdays! This will allow for a bit of heads up to all of you jazz enthusiasts to be able to get out to those Sunday events. Feel free to contact Lois or I with any questions/concerns about this new release date.

Also, a reminder to all who are submitting events, if you want to see your event in our newsletter’s upcoming events section please submit your events to before Saturday morning or they will not make it onto that week’s issue. They will still be posted to our website, but may not get the same exposure as if they were included in the newsletter.

Thanks and Long Live Live Jazz,

Cole Kaldor

2016 Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan Year in Review—A Letter from the President

2016 was a very good year for JAMM! Thank you to all of you who supported us by becoming a member, donating to our first-ever Capital Campaign, volunteering at JAMM events, or attending one of the many great jazz performances in the Mid-Michigan area.

JAMM had a goal to raise $2500 over and above the amount raised by memberships.  The good news is, JAMM signed up 125 new or renewing members for 2016 AND raised over the $2500 Capital Campaign goal!

JAMM had a very successful Member Mixer in January of 2016.  Jack Devine was named 2015 JAMM Jazz Fan of the Year; Paulette Hatchett was named 2015 JAMM Volunteer of the Year; and Moriarty’s Pub was named 2015 Jazz Supporter of the Year.

JAMM hosted an International Jazz Day Party on April 30, 2016 at Moriarty’s Pub that was well attended.  The Host Band was the JAMM Scholarship Quartet featuring Conor McCornack on drums, Clif Metcalf on B3, Doug Fritch on guitar, and brand new Sandy Izenson 2016 JAMM Scholarship Recipient, Abigail Zerbe on vocals.

JAMM donated $500 to East Lansing’s 2016 Summer Solstice Jazz Festival held on June 17-18.  The JAMM Scholarship Quartet played on the MSU Outreach and Education stage on Friday. JAMM had a table to sell T-Shirts and Memberships.  JAMM Members participated by volunteering and marching in the Second Line Parade.

JAMM donated $500 to Old Town Lansing’s Lansing JazzFest held on August 5-6.  The JAMM Scholarship Quartet played on the South Stage on Saturday.  The 2016 JAMM Tribute Honoree, Betty Baxter also played on the South Stage on Saturday.  Her performance was taped by WKAR’s Backstage Pass. This show will run on East Lansing’s PBS station sometime in 2017.

JAMM Members selected Rodney Whitaker to be the 2017 JAMM Tribute Honoree.  A concert was held on Sunday, November 13, 2016 to honor Rodney at the Old Town Marquee in Lansing.  Over 150 people attended and enjoyed a day of celebration and great jazz played by former JAMM Tribute Honorees, friends, and colleagues of Rodney’s.  An Afterglow Party was held at Moriarty’s Pub where the JAMM Scholarship Quartet performed.

JAMM just held its 2017 Member Mixer at Moriarty’s Pub this past Tuesday. It was wonderful to see so many people there supporting jazz and JAMM.  We look forward to another really good year in Mid-Michigan.  JAMM has a new Capital Campaign Goal of $5000 for 2017.  We would like to donate more to each of the area jazz festivals and the scholarship.  We would like to expand our community offerings—maybe add another event.  We will keep you posted!

Thanks again, Jazz Lovers!

Peace, Love, and Long Live Live Jazz,

Lois Mummaw, JAMM President

A Letter from the President–2015 JAMM Year in Review

Greetings and Happy New Year, Jazz Lovers!
Thank you for supporting the Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan in 2015!

If I had to choose one word to describe last year for JAMM, I would choose the word “change”.

Our yearly schedule of events changed, our Board changed, our e-news intern changed, and our fundraising/sponsorship opportunities changed.  Even with all this change, JAMM’s Treasurer, Gregg Hill is delighted to report that we ended the year on a positive financial note. JAMM is beginning 2016 with $1500 in the bank. This is roughly half of what JAMM needs to operate at its current capacity for one year….(read more)

2015 Operating Expenses:
$ 500–Sandy Izenson Scholarship Recipient Clif Metcalf
$ 500– Donation to East Lansing Summer Solstice Jazz Festival
$ 500–Donation to Lansing JazzFest
$ 100–Donation to Keys in the Cities
$1050–E-News Intern
$  100–PO Box
$  100–Constant Contact
JAMM would like to continue this level of giving in 2016 and possibly increase our contributions. To this end, last year, for the first time, we accepted $100 sponsors for the Annual JAMM Tribute and were able to defray much of the cost.  We also received a couple very generous donations from Board Members along with in-kind contributions from Members.
JAMM said “goodbye” to Caroline Glaeser, our first e-news intern and welcomed Cole Kaldor.
JAMM appreciates the service of former Board Members Al Cafagna, Beth Cafagna, Sue Rebeck, Gene Rebeck, Julian Van Dyke, Carolyn Ojala, and Jeff Shoup.  We welcome new Board members DJ Carleton, Betty Baxter, and Dave Cheyne.  We welcome back our Officers–Paulette Hatchett Secretary, Gregg Hill Treasurer, and yours truly, Lois Mummaw President.New Yearly Schedule of Events:

2nd Tuesday in January–Annual JAMM Member Mixer/ Scholarship Recipient Announced

April 30– Annual International Jazz Day Party

Mid June–East Lansing Summer Solstice Festival

Early August–Lansing Jazzfest/ JAMM Tribute Honoree Announced

2nd Sunday in November–Annual JAMM Tribute Concert

The main difference in the yearly schedule was a decision by the Board to “flip-flop” the Mixer and the Tribute. The reasons to hold the Tribute in November instead of February are: Too much conflict with other jazz events in the past–Feb is very busy with Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, and many visiting artists.  Also, weather is a concern.  This also gives the JAMM Tribute Honoree a full year to represent JAMM at Live Performances.

By announcing the Sandy Izenson Scholarship Recipient at the January Mixer, he/she will have more time to rehearse with the Scholarship Trio/Quartet to perform at Int’l Jazz Day Party, SSJF, LJF, and The Tribute in November.

Our Board decided on a few goals for 2016 that would help support JAMM’s mission of “preserving and promoting live jazz across Mid-Michigan”:

Double the number of paid members in 2016 from 75 to 150

Raise $2850 in designated contributions to fund our 2016 operating expenses

Implement a number of ongoing fundraising strategies

Identify and apply for at least 3 grants that support JAMM’s mission

Update and organize website in an archival format with text, pictures, and video for each event

Peace, Love & Long Live Live Jazz,

Lois Mummaw, President, Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan   5172421126

An Update from JAMM’s President

You may be wondering why JAMM is honoring Betty Baxter as the 2016 JAMM Tribute Honoree on November 8th of 2015. (read more) Beginning in 2010, the first six JAMM Tributes were held either in January or February.  All of these Tribute Concerts were very successful but there were always concerns about the weather and, in recent years, concerns about overlapping with other jazz events.  Last year, our JAMM Tribute to Betty Joplin overlapped with an LCC concert featuring Thornetta Davis and also, later that evening, a Wharton Center performance from a touring “Hot Club” jazz group. JAMM made the decision last spring to “shake up” our event schedule to make it possible for more people to attend our annual JAMM Tribute Concert AND allow JAMM to promote our Honoree the entire year!  To this end, JAMM flip-flopped our Annual Mixer/Membership Drive usually held in November with our Annual Tribute Concert. This will also give us a chance to draw our Annual Sandy Izenson Scholarship Recipient earlier as well.  JAMM will be accepting nominations at this year’s Tribute for a current high school freshman, sophomore, or junior who is active in playing or singing jazz.  The nominee’s names will be put in a hat and the winner will be drawn at the Annual JAMM Mixer/Membership Drive featuring Betty Baxter now being held on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at Moriarty’s Pub in Lansing. This will give the JAMM Scholarship Group more time to practice before their gigs at JAMM’s International Jazz Day Party on April 30th (also featuring Betty Baxter), East Lansing’s Summer Solstice Jazz Festival in June and Lansing JazzFest in August. So, get your tickets ASAP for the 7th Annual JAMM Tribute Concert to Betty Baxter–our 2016 Honoree!

Jazz Singer Betty Baxter Named 2016 JAMM Tribute Honoree


 (Lansing, MI)  The Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan (JAMM) is proud to announce their 2016  tribute will be devoted to singer, composer, and pianist Betty Baxter. Ms. Baxter has enjoyed a resurgence in her jazz career in recent years and can be found most Tuesdays at Moriarty’s in Lansing sitting in with the local jazz players.

Betty is well known in central Michigan having performed at the Lansing JazzFest, the Michigan Festival, Lansing Riverfest, MSU ‘Jazz at the Museum’ and their annual Chocolate Party, the Lansing Downtown Arts Festival, and the YWCA Diana Awards Banquet. She has also performed at BoarsHead Theater, the RE Olds Museum, the Michigan Theater, the Southview

Concert Series, the Michigan Historical Museum, the Lansing Art Gallery, East Lansing Summer Solstice Jazz Festival and their 2015 Fundraiser “Nightingales”. In 1987, Betty sang at the Sesquicentennial Ball at the Michigan State Capitol, for which she undertook extensive research into popular songs written by Michigan composers.  This research turned into six different programs which she has performed extensively around the state.  Since 1995, she had been active in Lansing Matinee Musicale, presenting jazz programs, as well as study clubs about Michigan composers of popular songs and jazz, featuring among others the work of Isham Jones (born in Ohio, grew up in Saginaw).  In 2008, during the presidential campaign, she dipped once again into American popular music history and presented a program of political satire in song for Lansing Matinee Musicale.

For nearly 60 years, Betty Baxter has entertained audiences all over Michigan, Philly and L.A. with her satiny voice, and has  performed with the likes of Pat Boone, Leroy Vinnegar, Sandy Izenson, Fred Mitchell Jr., Jeff Kressler, Ed Fedewa, Jeff Hall, Fred Knapp, Eddie Russ, Kurt Krahnke, Mike Daniels, and Pete Siers.  The Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan is proud to honor such a diverse performer at our 7th Annual Tribute Concert!


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