Meet 2018 JAMM Scholarship Recipient Justin Mason.

Julienne and Keith Mason, enjoying son Justin’s first performance with the JAMM Scholarship Band at Gregory’s Soul Food on Jazz Day.

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
Hanzelka.

“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
Johnson.”

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!

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!