Tribute to Max Roach: Dr. Mary Umolu Jazzy Jazz Festival Summer 2016

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Festival Pays Tribute to Max Roach

Founded in 1996 by the late Dr. Mary Umolu, the Medgar Evers College Jazzy Jazz Festival, sponsored by the Department of Mass Communications, Creative and Performing Arts and Speech, is celebrating its 20th year of free concerts to the Crown Heights and surrounding communities.  Every year members of the community have made this festival into a Brooklyn summer tradition.

The festival has become the stage for a series of exceptional musicians who engage and share their talents with local residents.

Medgar Evers College is once again pleased to announce that its 2016 Summer Jazzy Jazz Festival will be held on eight Friday evenings from July 8 to August 26 in front of the College’s Academic Complex building at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Crown Street.  The program is from 7:00 to 10 pm.  Seating is on a first come basis. This event is FREE to the public.

The Dr. Mary Umolu Jazzy Jazz Festival will pay tribute to the great jazz drummer the late Max Roach, an honoree doctorate recipient from Medgar Evers College.

A native of Bed-Stuy Brooklyn,  by the time he was 18 years old Max was in the avant-garde movement of change with the likes of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and under the influence of Kenny Clarke. Later he interfaced with the progressive-minded Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and a brief stint with Duke Ellington. In his quest to move the art form of jazz forward.

Max Roach used cymbals as gongs and play mesmerizing solos on the tom-toms, creating and atmosphere rarely experienced before in jazz.  He   propelled jazz to new levels.  Above all though, Max Roach ought to be admired for never being curtailed by the idea of non- acceptancy because of his social and political consciousness, which made him a rarity among jazz musicians. This year’s lineup of performers include: Steve Cromity and friends; Roman Mitchell and MEC Jazz Ensemble; George Gray Jazz Quartet; Brandee Younger, harpist; Patience Higgins Sugar Hill Quartet; Mark Whitfield & Sons; TK Blue, jazz saxophone; and Pantastic Steel Orchestra.

Originally created as the Jazzy Jazz Festival, the festival has been renamed the Dr. Mary Umolu Jazzy Jazz Festival in honor of the late Dr. Mary Umolu, professor and chair of the department of Mass Communications, Creative and Performing Arts and Speech at Medgar Evers College.  Dr. Umolu was committed to educating a new generation about the history of the only uniquely American art form created in the 20th century—Jazz—thus ensuring that the entire community heard the music.

“The department is carrying forth the legacy and goal of this extraordinary educational and cultural program.  Attendees can relax in style to the rhythms of Jazz in the cool and friendly outdoors. We do not envision Jazzy Jazz as simply a summer concert event. This festival and its performers will become embedded in the educational life of the community,” says Dr. ClintonCrawford, current chair of the department.

The mission of the Department of Mass Communication, Creative and Performing Arts and Speech (MCCPAS), located in the School of Liberal Arts and Education, is to provide high-quality instruction in the media and performing arts which will enable students to experience personal growth, broaden their cultural perspectives and develop the talents that create opportunities for both graduate study and employment.  Currently, the Department offers an A.A. in Liberal Arts degree and awaits approval for a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree to further enhance the department’s academic offerings in the media and the performing arts.

Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Medgar Evers College is a growing institution offering both Associate and Baccalaureate degrees.  The nearly 7,000-member student body is primarily comprised of those who are the first in their families to attend college.  A senior college within The City University of New York (CUNY) system, Medgar Evers College was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community.  With a commitment to students who desire a sound academic foundation as well as an opportunity for personal development, Medgar Evers College seeks to provide high-quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education. 

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