Member and Donor Responses Tremendous!

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.

The winner will be announced live at the JAMM Scholarship Group’s
Lansing Jazz Festival performance on Saturday, Aug. 4th at 4:30.
See full schedule and details at link above.
One last time, these are the finalists:

Gary Allen-nominated for his contributions to jazz, his mastery of guitar and for the lives he’s influenced. Through the love of his art, and his affable, inclusive personality, Gary is generous with his music and his encouragement. He is a seasoned master jazz musician and a good friend to many. A Founding Member of JAMM, he has been a Stockbridge, MI resident for the past several years, Gary has played all over the country and in Europe in bands big and small, and has rubbed shoulders or played with such jazz masters as Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Paul Gonsalves, Ira Sullivan, David Sanborn and more. For a series he created at the Stockbridge Public Library, where residents appreciate him very much, Gary has discussed episodes of his own life in music as well as selected aspects, eras and artists of jazz and blues. A portion of every session has been devoted to Gary playing a few tunes for an appreciative audience on his 1952 Gibson electric guitar.

Jeff Shoup-nominated for founding the series, “Jazz Tuesdays at Moriarty’s Pub” and his weekly stewardship of stellar jazz musicians featured each week. Besides being an MSU Jazz Studies graduate and a great jazz drummer, Jeff has spent countless hours supporting JAMM by working with the Board to host the JAMM Member Mixer on the Second Tuesday in January, organizing the 2013 JAMM Tribute Honoree Concert for his mentor and teacher Randy Gelispie, and, as artistic director of Lansing JazzFest, making sure that the JAMM Scholarship Band and the current JAMM Tribute Honoree get a gig each year.

Mike Stratton-nominated for his extraordinary support of the jazz community in Mid-Michigan and beyond. A Founding Member of JAMM, Mike has given of his time emceeing at jazz festivals for many years. He has been educating audiences on radio, a voluntary role, on LCC Radio for 21-plus years on a weekly basis on LCC Radio, with his Vinyl Side of Midnight program. Live on Sunday nights, the show has a vast listenership in mid-Michigan and beyond. Thanks to the Internet and the rebroadcast of his show on Taintradio.org., Mike gives exposure to countless mid-Michigan musicians through interviews on his show and playing of their music. He’s a lifelong student of jazz, always aware of who has a new CD or is doing something groundbreaking. The love and knowledge of jazz history in Mike’s heart and mind are almost enviable!

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:

Gary Allen, Jeff Shoup, and Mike Stratton
Congratulations to all three of you!

 

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.

If you are not sure you are a paid and up-to-date member, email jazzjamm2018@gmail.com to find out. To become a member or to renew a past membership, visit www.jazzjamm.com. Simple, easy process.

 

JAMM Members Do More Than Play Music!

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!

UrbanBeat Event Center in Old Town Lansing

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.”

Dave Sharp, jazz bassist

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:
https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3432500

 

JAMM Members to Perform at East Lansing Summer Solstice Jazz Festival!

Photo by Alexus McClane

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!

 

Whitaker, seen here, with students during 2017 summer sessions.

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 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!