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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2v3Jvw7iYY

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.

*PRESS RELEASE* 6th Annual JAMM Tribute Honoring Betty Joplin

MICHIGAN JAZZ SINGER BETTY JOPLIN TO BE HONORED

JAZZ ALLIANCE OF MID-MICHIGAN (JAMM) TO HONOR JACKSON NATIVE FOR THEIR SIXTH ANNUAL JAZZ TRIBUTE

(Lansing, MI)  The Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan is proud to announce this year’s tribute will be devoted to singer and pianist Betty Joplin. Ms. Joplin is a native of Jackson, Michigan, and began singing and playing piano in church at age 7. She has performed with Arthur Prysock and has toured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington. She has also been requested to perform by the one and only Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin on several occasions.

Ms. Joplin received a Grammy nomination for “This Guy’s In Love With You”. Her CDs, “Blinded By Love” and “Visions of The Moment” are both superb examples of Betty Joplin’s blend of soulful jazz stylings. Lansing residents may recall Ms. Joplin’s long-standing gigs at The Garage, Jazz & Blues Club in downtown Lansing. Ms. Joplin was part of the “Nightingales” concert earlier this year at The Avenue in Lansing.

The event will feature tributes to Ms. Joplin.  A live jazz band directed by Jeff Shoup will play music popularized by Ms. Joplin with local musicians and special guests.

Appetizers will be included in ticket price with a cash bar.

JAMM TRIBUTE TO BETTY JOPLIN, TO BE HELD

WHEN: Sunday, February 8, 2015

WHERE: TROPPO

111 E. Michigan Avenue

Lansing, MI 48933

TIME: 3-6 p.m.

Tickets are $40 SOLD OUT!!

The Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan is a 501c3 organized to “Preserve and promote the tradition of live jazz across Mid-Michigan”.

Please contact Mike Stratton at dreamtrane@gmail.com or (517)336-7721 with questions or to arrange interviews with Betty Joplin.

Welcome Jazz Tuesdays back to Lansing!

jazz-tuesdays

Every Tuesday night at Moriarty’s Pub in Lansing, drummer Jeff Shoup has a band swingin’. Shoup puts together local and national talent each week for a performance from 7-10pm. Musicians are welcome to bring their instrument and sit in.

https://www.facebook.com/jazztuesdaysatmoriartys

Moriarty’s Pub

802 E Michigan Ave, Lansing Charter Township, MI 48912

Tuesdays, 7-10pm

No Cover

Photos from our International Jazz Day Party!

(All photos courtesy of Tom McEvoy)

Over 75 people (50 of which were new to a JAMM event) attended the second annual International Jazz Day Party on Wednesday, April 30. At Lou and Harry’s Sports Bar, everyone was listening, drinking, eating, laughing, making new friends. The jazz gals were dancing, as always, and others were buying the special JAZZ DAY T-Shirts and becoming JAMM Members! Many also signed up for the E-Newsletter sent out each Sunday.

Thanks to all who came, all who helped organize and especially the musicians from 496-West who provided the fantastic live jazz.

International Jazz Day: Local Celebration Set to Go!

The Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan (JAMM) is excited to announce our 2nd Annual International Jazz Day Party right here in town! On Wednesday, April 30, 2014 from 6 pm to 9 pm members of 496 West will form the house rhythm section for this year’s JAMM International Jazz Day Party and Open Jam! Our local celebration takes place at Lou and Harry’s Sports Grill, 16800 Chandler Road in East Lansing, MI. JAMM’s International Jazz Day Party will link to hundreds of International Jazz Day celebrations around the world. For musicians, bring your axe and come jam with our house rhythm section. Network with other musicians. For everyone else, it’s a perfect opportunity to dance, check out the musical talent Mid-Michigan has to offer, and celebrate this truly American art-form we call JAZZ!

There is no cover charge! Food and Drinks available for purchase. Please join us and bring a friend. Get a custom JAMM Intl Jazz Day T-shirt to wear! The event is free and open to the public. Help JAMM continue to “preserve and promote the tradition of Live Jazz across Mid-Michigan” by purchasing a 2014 JAMM Membership, if you wish. Like Us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jazzjamm

Full details – including a map to the event >>

Learn more about JAMM Members Charlie & LaVerne Wilson and the house rhythm section at https://www.facebook.com/496West

Check out this GROUPON for Lou & Harry’s Sports Bar. Use it on International Jazz Day!
Up to 50% Off Beer and Pub Fare at Lou and Harry’s Sports Bar http://touch.groupon.com/deals/lou-and-harry-s-sports-bar

Musicians: Bring your axe to jam!

Special announcement: JAMM will announce the 2015 JAMM Tribute Honoree at the Party–Be the first to hear who our next JAMM Honoree will be!

Grab a customized International Jazz Day T-Shirt AND support JAMM! (T-shirts available for pickup at the party) Order securely through Paypal below:
JAMM Intl Jazz Day TShirt


Size/Pricing




Video Footage of Tribute to Ron and Sunny Now Live!

The HillcatsDSC_5144 (1)

Videos of the performances from the Fifth Annual JAMM Tribute held on February 9th, 2014 are now available for your viewing pleasure! Please feel free to share these links on Facebook, via email or in any other ways you may wish.

All footage is the property of The Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan and may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission from JAMM, a 503-C non-profit organization.

Here are the links, in order of appearance. You may watch them here or go to our Youtube channel “Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan” and watch there. Here is that link:

http://www.youtube.com/user/jazzjammvideo

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JAMM’s Fourth Annual Tribute: Professor Randy “Uncle G” Gelispie

Last February, a full house of friends, family fans and students, over 200 in all, came together to honor MSU Jazz Studies Professor Randy “Uncle G” Gelispie. This was JAMM’s Fourth Annual Tribute Event and Randy was an easy choice when the time came to vote on who to celebrate. Some major swing, be-bop, funk and more, from people like Randy’s longtime collaborators Bill Heid and Perry Hughes , came pouring from The Avenue Cafe that day. The laughter and love were in abundance as well, all because Mr. Randy Gelispie allowed us to honor him with this much deserved tribute party.

2014 JAMM Tribute Honorees

Sunny & Ron

Ron & Sunny

Mark your calendar for the 2014 JAMM Tribute Concert featuring this years honorees Ron and Sunny! This 5th Annual JAMM Tribute Concert is sure to be a sellout. Don’t be left out–get your tickets today! Day of or at-the-door tickets are $10 more (that’s if there are any left)

Check out this photo montage video, with Sunny singing with only Ed Fedewa accompaniment on double bass.

As a couple, they have set very high standards for students studying jazz and are well worth the attention of listeners. As individuals, they have influenced the lives of many in the jazz world.  Ron Newman, a graduate of N. Texas State with a doctorate from MSU, has been on the faculty since the middle 70’s and has been a strong force in the Michigan jazz scene.  He developed Jazz Bands I & II from struggling ensembles into award winners and has been a successful instructor of jazz improvisation, arranging, pedagogy, history and a professor of music theory. Continue reading