30 Years of Jazz Forum Celebrated

-A +A

30 Years of Jazz Forum Celebrated

By Deardra Shuler

Mark Morganelli Photo by John Abbott


The Frederick Pete Rose Hall will open its Rose Theatre on Monday, June 22nd at 8:00 p.m., to Mark Morganelli, Jon Hendricks and a host of other jazz artists to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Jazz Forum.   This musical festival comprised of nearly 20 artists will be held within Jazz at Lincoln Center, located at 60th Street and Broadway.   Musicians such as Lou Donaldson, Cedar Walton, Buster Williams, Joe Lovano, George Mraz, Paquito D'Rivera, Barry Harris, Louis Hayes, Jimmy Cobb, Claudio Roditi, John Scofield, George Coleman, Rufus Reid, Al Foster, Leroy Williams, Ray Drummond, Mark Morganelli and Jon Hendricks will be on board to make this a sterling night.


Mark Morganelli established Jazz Forum in the East Village in 1979 when he was 24 years old.  “I graduated in 1977 and immediately went on the road.  Coming from a big band tradition, I hired a couple of guys from the Berkley School of Music who taught me bebop. I moved to NY and began working with the Bob January's Original Swing Era Orchestra at the Village Gate, playing all the stock Big Band charts.  Before I knew it, me and a few musician buddies joined forces and bought a loft.  We built bedrooms, sanded the floors and on June 17, 1979, opened the doors to the public with the great trumpeter Dizzy Reese and the house rhythm section.  We did the same the following weekend opening with Clifford Jordan.  The loft became a club or at least I called it that since I started selling beer and wine out of my refrigerator for a dollar,” chuckled Mark. “The Jazz Form was down at 50 Cooper Square on the northern part of the Bowery near Joseph Papp's Public Theater and between an Alcohol Rehabilitation Clinic and a Methadone Program,” continued the trumpeter and flugelhorn player.


Lambert, Hendricks & Ross started out in 1958/1959.  Their first album, “Sing A Song with Basie  revolutionized Jazz singing and changed it forever via creating a style that became known as vocalese.  “Vocalese became the name that represented putting words to jazz instrumentals and now vocalese is a recognized bona fide jazz culture art form,” explained Hendricks whose style inspired the Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices.


One of 17 children, Hendricks began singing at 7 years of age in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio.  Living 5 houses down from Art Tatum, he started working with Art at age 9.  When he was 12, Art got Jon a job at the Waiters and Bellman's Club, an after hours club where Art accompanied him on piano for 2 years.  “All the music I learned, I learned from Art even though I never learned to read music,” remarked Jon who formed a collaboration with vocalist Dave Lambert wherein they re-recorded the song “Four Brothers,” in 1957, later joining up with Annie Ross giving birth to Lambert, Hendricks and Ross as a full-time act.


'What we are going to do at the June 22 concert is debut the Lambert, Hendricks and Ross redo.  That same week Annie Ross and I are being honored by ASCAP.  We debuted our redo at Milan, Italy at the Blue Note where we got a standing ovation.  Everyone loves the sound of vocalese which is a potent force,” said Hendricks.


“We are starting the June 22nd show with Barry Harris, the great Detroit BeBop professor, who will be playing in a trio format with Ray Drummond on bass and drummer Leroy Williams. They will ultimately be joined by the great Lou Donaldson.  Jon will then come on with the Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross Redo debut, followed by Cedar Walton, Louis Hayes and Buster Williams who will perform as a trio.  Afterwards, they will form a quartet with the great tenor player George Coleman who played with the great Miles Davis in the 1960s,” said Mark. “We will take a break and then return with a second set, opening up with a nod to Sonny Rawlins and the late John Coltrane who did these cordless trio performances at the Village Vanguard whereby Joe Lovano, George Mraz and Al Foster perform as a trio.  Joe will go off stage and John Scofield will come out and perform with the trio. We will then add the New Orleans musician Donald Harrison who played the Jazz Forum with Art Blakey. Lastly, the final group will feature Kenny Barron, Rufus Reed and Jimmy Cobb who will ultimately be joined by Claudio Roditi and Paquito D'Rivera,” claimed Morganelli.


“I have been teaching for 8 years at the University of Toledo as a distinguished professor of Jazz Studies,” said Jon who believes that anyone involved with the medium of jazz programming should treat the jazz art form like the culture that it is.  “For example, Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven have been dead 400 years, so why should the fact that Dizzy is not here, Duke Ellington is not here, Miles is not here, keep them off the air,” remarked Jon.  “Seems to me that is motivation to keep their music on the air.  You cannot treat art forms like they are contemporary only.  People are going to get old and leave here and if they have done something of any merit, those who remain, have to play those people’s music to keep them alive. Jazz is the most vital art form on the planet and should be shown respect.  It's America's art form, white or black,” said Hendricks with great emotion while encouraging all to come out on June 22 to help celebrate Jazz Forum's 30th Anniversary.


For tickets to the 30th Anniversary of Jazz Forum call CenterChange at 212-721-6500, see www.jalc.org or visit the Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office, on the Ground Floor, at 60th Street and Broadway in Manhattan.


Also Check Out...

the new program specifically aims to address the larger question of what factors contribute to many Black and other minority bus
Black and minority-owned
Jimmie Lee Jackson and James Reeb––ignited the now historic march from Selma to Montgomery
New Book Chronicles 1965 Murders
“These are the conversations Black journalists are having amongst themselves every day,” says Schiavocampo.
Award-Winning Black Journalists
 federal agencies tapping protesters’ phones in Portland
Wyden presses DHS on “
Ethiopia, Algeria and Nigeria, have struggled with bigger outbreaks, most countries on
Africa has held off the worst of
Mobs of white citizens often burned down Black communities' schools while government officials stood by and watched.
Do America's Public Schools