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Atlanta to Seattle, Minneapolis to New Orleans, Brooklyn to San Diego -- jazz activists everywhere

26 Jazz Heroes in 20 U.S. locales announced, with parties

Apr 21st, 2017 | By

More than two dozen “Jazz Heroes” — Americans exerting unusual positive musical influence on their communities, and not only by being musicians – have been named 2017 JJA Jazz Heroes group image be celebrated in 20 U.S. locales throughout April, Jazz Appreciation Month 2017,  the Jazz Journalists Association announces in collaboration with jazz community grassroots groups, institutions and supporters nationwide.

The complete list of Heroes, with photos, bios and information on public events at which they’ll receive engraved statuettes, at the JJA’s 2017 Jazz Heroes web page.

In Atlanta, Baltimore, Brooklyn and Manhattan, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, San Diego, St. Louis, the San Francisco Bay Area, Tallahassee, Tucson and Washington D.C., individuals identified by local jazz stakeholders as “activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz” and further certified by a JJA reviewing process launched in 2001 will receive engraved statuettes at public, mostly free presentations, sometimes accompanied by official proclamations from municipal and/or state officials.

This year’s roster includes Jazz Heroes of Asian and Mexican immigrant backgrounds as well as the Redhouse Family Jazz Band of Native American siblings who draw on Indian traditions and jazz  developments. Women among the Jazz Heroes are revivifying the music with  orchestral strings (Tomeka Reid), documenting it photographically and online (Andrea Canter), archiving it and generating activities (Judith Korey) and sustaining its humanitarian legacy (Fran Morris Rosman of the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation). Hero Adam Gaffney teaches jazz appreciation from his perspective as a blind listener; Lew Shaw has been writing about jazz for more than 50 years, about as long as Richard Henderson has been a musicians’ mentor, only twice as long as J. Michael Harrison has been spinning new and unusual jazz as a radio show host.

Veteran presenters Jack Kleinsinger, Marty Ashby, Viola Plummer, Sam Yi and Jason Patterson are being recognized as heroes, as are pianists Wayne Horvitz and Darrell Grant, trumpeter Gilbert Castellano and Morgan State University’s bandmaster Melvin Miles, Jr., for encouraging new generations of players and providing playing opportunities. All the heroes work to advance jazz beyond the conventional requirements or duties of their employment.

Local organizations and establishments hosting this year’s Jazz Hero events include the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Louisiana State Museum, the Mason Tavern (Atlanta), Jazz in the Neighborhood (San Francisco), Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago), B Sharps Jazz Café (Tallahassee), Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar (St. Paul), Panama 66 (San Diego), Portland PDX Jazz Festival, the Arizona Classic Jazz Society, the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation and the Calvin Jones Big Band Festival at University of District of Columbia. Sponsors of the Jazz Heroes initiative (and subsequent 21st annual JJA Jazz Awards) include Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Century Media Partners, Sunnyside Records, Scott Thompson Public Relations, High Note/Savant Records, Motéma Music, Braithwaite & Katz Communications, Thirsty Ear Records, JazzPromoServices, the Tucson Jazz Festival, the Jazz Institute of Chicago and the Jazz Foundation of America.

The Jazz Heroes slate has evolved from the JJA’s announcement of members of an “A Team” (for “activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz”), begun in 2001. Jazz Heroes may be nominated by U.S. residents working locally with jazz journalists and media activists interested in organizing celebrations for their heroes.

For more information on the JJA Jazz Heroes, contact Howard Mandel, President@JazzJournalists.org.

See the JJA’s previous Jazz Heroes and “A Team” members by year of induction.

2016 Jazz Heroes

  1. Albuquerque NM: Tom Guralnick
  2. Atlanta: Joe Gransden
  3. Baltimore MD: Todd Marcus
  4. Bay Area (SF-CA): Elena Serrano
  5. Boston: Yedidyah Syd Smart (l)& Leonard L. Brown (r)
  6. Capital Region (NY): Leslie Callen Hyland
  7. Detroit: Marion T. Hayden
  8. Chicago: Bradley Parker-Sparrow & Joanie Pallatto
  9. Fayetteville AK: Robert Ginsburg
  10. Los Angeles: Edythe L. Bronston
  11. Fort Bragg CA: Douglas Moody
  12. Miami: Maggie Pelleyá
  13. New Orleans: Germaine P. Bazzle
  14. New York City: Rio Sakairi
  15. Philadelphia: Don Gardner
  16. Pittsburgh: Geri Allen
  17. Phoenix: Herb & Lorene Ely
  18. Portland OR: Bobby Torres
  19. Seattle: Laurie de Koch
  20. St. Louis: Dennis Owsley
  21. Syracuse NY: Frank Malfitano
  22. Tallahassee FL: Clarence L. Seay
  23. Washington DC: Brian Hamilton (l) & Dick Smith

2015 Jazz Heroes

  1. Ann Arbor MI: Don Chisholm
  2. Baltimore: Charles Funn
  3. (SF)Bay Area: Avotcja Jiltonilro
  4. Bloomington IN: Monika Herzig
  5. Boston: Mark Sumner Harvey
  6. Chicago: Tatsu Aoki
  7. Madison: Howard Landsman
  8. Memphis: David C. Bradford, Sr.
  9. Memphis: Jack N. Schaffer
  10. New Brunswick NJ: Virginia DeBerry
  11. New Orleans Dr. Michael White
  12. NY Capital Region Lee Shaw
  13. New York City: Kim A. Clarke
  14. Philadelphia Mark Christman
  15. Pittsburgh: Dr. Nelson Harrison
  16. Portland OR: Mel Brown
  17. Santa Cruz CA: Tim Jackson
  18. Seattle: Mack Waldron
  19. South Florida: Nicole Yarling
  20. St. Louis: Don Wolff
  21. Tallahassee FL: Carole & Stan Fiore
  22. Washington D.C.: Charles Fishman
  23. Woodstock NY: Dr. Bruce Milner

2014 JJA Jazz Heroes

  1. Atlanta: Joseph Jennings
  2. Baltimore: Dr. John R. Lamkin II
  3. Bloomington IN: Janis Stockhouse
  4. Boston: Emilio Lyons
  5. Chicago: Jennifer Johnson Washington
  6. Columbia MO: Jon  W. Poses
  7. Detroit: Bill Foster
  8. Durham NC: Larry Reni Thomas
  9. Kingston NY: Peggy Stern
  10. Kingston NY: John Bilotti
  11. Litchfield CT: Vita West Muir
  12. New Orleans: Harold Battiste
  13. New York: Meghan Stabile
  14. Newark: Cephas Bowles
  15. Pittsburgh: Bill Strickland
  16. Portland OR: Thara Memory
  17. Portland OR: Wayne Thompson
  18. SF Bay Area: Faye Carol
  19. Santa Cruz CA: Raymond Brown
  20. Schenectady NY: Thomas Pierce
  21. Seattle: Jim Wilke
  22. Tallahassee: Geraldine Seay
  23. Toronto: Patrick Taylor
  24. Washington DC: Bobby Hill

2013 JJA Jazz Heroes

  1. Beegie Adair-Nashville,TN
  2. Craig Alston- Baltimore, MD
  3. Robbin Ahrold- New York City
  4. Scotty Barnhart- Tallahassee, FL
  5. Marcus Belgrave, Detroit
  6. Karl Berger & Ingrid Sertso- Woodstock, NY.
  7. Mwata Bowden- Chicago
  8. Sonny Buxton- San Francisco Bay Area
  9. Arni Cheatham- Boston
  10. Tim Coakley- Schenectady, NY
  11. Roddy Ellias- Ottawa, Canada
  12. Jeff Haskell- Tucson, AZ
  13. Willard Jenkins- Washington, DC
  14.  Edward “Kidd” Jordan- New Orleans
  15. Randall Kline- Western Jazz Presenters Network Jazz Hero
  16. Marty Liquori- Gainesville, FL
  17. Lissa May- Bloomington, IN
  18. Jim Miller- Philadelphia
  19. Dr. James Hardy Patterson- Atlanta
  20. Dr. James Polk– Austin, TX
  21. Julian Priester- Seattle
  22. Bill Royston- Portland OR
  23. Ken Tittelbaugh– Nogales, AZ
  24. Jim Wadsworth- Cleveland
  25. Melissa Walker- Newark, NJ

2012 JJA Jazz Heroes

Leon Anderson Jr., Jazz Studies program, Florida State University College of Music, Tallahassee;

Lamont Arthur, organist, teacher, mentor, Tucson Jazz Institute;

Robin Bell-Stevens, president and CEO of Jazzmobile, NYC;

Pauline Bilsky, executive director of JazzBoston;

John Calloway,multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, educator and cornerstone of the Bay Area Latin and world music scenes;

Orbert Davis, trumpeter, co-founder of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Clinical Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, public school clinician;

Bert Dearing Jr, entrepreneur/club owner and operator, Detroit

Adrian Ellis, former executive director Jazz at Lincoln Center, arts consultant NYC

Jacques Edmond, Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Jazz Ottawa, broadcaster, Ottawa Arts Council

Danny Harper, trumpeter, weekly jam session host at Churchill Downs, Atlanta

Gary Langford, Professor of Music Emeritus, Director of Jazz Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville

Roger Manins, saxophonist, non-profit program director, jazz educator, Auckland, New Zealand

Bill McCann, broadcaster WCDB, board of director A Place for Jazz, Schenectady

Catalina Popescu, founder and operator of Catalina’s, Los Angeles

Sam Reed, saxophone stalwart, Philadelphia

2011 JJA Jazz Heroes
Omrao Brown, Bohemian Caverns, Washington D.C.;

Peggy Cafritz, co-founder Duke Ellington High School of the Arts, Washington D.C.;

John Gilbreath, director of Earshot Jazz, Seattle;

Dr. Maitreya Padukone, New York City;

Don Z. Miller, founder Jazz in Az, Phoenix;

Ed Reed, singer and drug counselor, Richmond, CA;

Mike Reed, drummer, festival organizer, and AACM co-president, Chicago;

Roger Spencer and Lori Mechem, Nashville Jazz Workshop, Nashville;

Elynor Walcott and sons Paul, Frank and Lloyd Poindexter, proprietors of Wally’s Jazz Café, Boston.

2010 Jazz Heroes and A Team Members

Khalil Shaheed, trumpeter; founder of the Oaktown Jazz Workshop, advisor to San Francisco Symphony’s Aim Program, Stanford Jazz Workshop and the San Jose Jazz Society;

Fred Taylor, entertainment director Scullers Jazz Club, board member Jazz Boston, former Artistic Director of the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, past manager of the Jazz Workshop and Paul’s Mall, talent scout;

Geraldine de Haas, organizer of Jazzfest at the South Shore Cultural Center (Chicago), founder of Jazz Unites, Inc., organizer and educator;

Joe Segal, owner/operator of the Jazz Showcase, Chicago;

Jordan Hirsch, outgoing director of Sweet Home New Orleans;

Eric Overmyer and David Simon, producers and creators of  the HBO television series Treme;

Sue Mingus, director of Charles Mingus repertory ensembles, record producer and author (Tonight At Noon);

James Jordan, retired director of the Music Program at the New York State Council on the Arts, adviser/producer for Ornette Coleman;

Virginia Wicks, pioneering jazz publicist;

John Norris (posthumously) and Bill Smith, co-founders of Coda Magazine, the Jazz and Blues Centre of Toronto, and Sackville Records;

Yvonne Ervin, executive director of the Western Jazz Presenters Network, vice president of the Jazz Journalists Association, former executive director of Tucson Jazz Society, consultant to the National Jazz Service Organization, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Kennedy Center for the Arts.

2009 JJA A Team Members

Herb Alpert, musician, producer, jazz supporter;

Dr. Agnes Varis, Angel of the Jazz Foundation of America;

Bruce Lundvall, recordman, Blue Note, Columbia, Elektra/Musician;

David N. Baker, jazz educator, University of Indiana;

Timuel Black, cultural historian of Bronzeville, Chicago;

Steven Saltzman, Chicago jazz advocate;

Ruth Price, the Jazz Bakery;

Clarence Acox, Garfield High School (Seattle) Jazz Band leader;

Scott Brown, Roosevelt High School (Seattle), Jazz Band leader;  

Peter Levinson, (posthumously) author and publicist

Richard Sudhalter, (posthumously) author, journalist and musician.

2008 JJA A Team Members

Dr. Valerie Capers, pianist, composer, educator (Dept of Music and Art at CUNY Bronx Community College);

Lauren Deutsch, photographer and executive director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago;

Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts;

Susan Muscarella, pianist-composer-arranger-presenter (Downtown Berkeley Jazz Festival), educator (UC Berkeley Jazz Ensembles, Jazz School);

Phil Nimmons, clarinetist, father of Canadian jazz education efforts;

Wendy Oxenhorn, executive director of the Jazz Foundation of America;

George Russell, music theorist, composer, orchestra leader, educator (New England Conservatory);

Dr. Richard Wang, educator (University of Illinois-Chicago), mentor, archivist, historian, co-founder of Jazz Institute of Chicago;

Dr. Herb Wong, founder of the Palo Alto Jazz Alliance, Berkeley public schools jazz program, broadcaster (KJAZZ), record producer, writer, past president of the International Association of Jazz Educators.

2007 JJA A Team Members

Leslie Johnson, publisher, The Mississippi Rag;

Bob Koester, Delmark Records and the Jazz Record Mart, Chicago;

Orrin Keepnews, recording producer, chronicler and author;

Donald Harrison, alto saxophonist, Mardi Gras Indian chief, Tipitina’s Foundation, New Orleans;

Bill Taylor, Tipitina’s Foundation, New Orleans;

Clint Rosemond, The World Stage;

Mark Masters, The American Jazz Institute;

Dr. F. King Alexander, California State University, Long Beach; Chairman of the Board, KJAZ

Jose Rizo, program host, KJAZ;

Jan Perry, councilwoman, City of Los Angeles.

2006 JJA A Team Members

Dollie McLean, co-director with husband Jackie McLean of Artists Collective, Hartford CT;

Phoebe Jacobs, Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation and Michael Cogswell, Louis Armstrong House and Archives;

Gretchen Valade, co-founder of Mack Avenue Records and angel of the Detroit International Jazz Festival;

Sheldon Meyer, editor emeritus, Oxford University Press;

Bill McFarlin, executive director of the International Association for Jazz Education;

Jonathan F.P. Rose, chair of the Building Committee, Executive Committee, Jazz at Lincoln Center;

Sandy Jaffe, co-founder of Preservation Hall, New Orleans, and her son Ben Jaffe, present director and bassist with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band;

Ann Ward, director of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) School, Chicago.

in Los Angeles:

reeds player-civil rights and labor activist Buddy Collette;

performance poet and community arts activist Kamau Daaood;

multi-arts, multi-reeds performer-educator Vinny Golia (CalArts);

Terri Hinte, de facto curator of Fantasy Records;

Ginny Mancini, encouraging young musicians through the Henry Mancini Institute;

Ken Poston, director of the Los Angeles Jazz Institute;

Poncho Sanchez, conguero and Latin jazz devotee.

2005 JJA A Team Members

Olga Garay, Doris Duke Foundation;

Dr. Marc Brenner, “Podiatric Specialist to the Jazz Stars”;

Chicago Jazz Partnership (Bank One, The Boeing Company, Chicago Community Trust and Kraft Foods, Inc.);

Jazz brothers Jimmy, Percy and Tootie Heath;

Martin Mueller, New School Jazz and Contemporary Music program;

Lauren Roberts, Jazz Foundation of America;

A.B. Spellman, author, deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts;

Kenny Burrell, guitarist, professor, director of Jazz Studies at UCLA;

Charlie Haden, bassist, founder of the California Institute of the Arts jazz program;

Gerald Wilson, composer, orchestra leader, broadcaster (KCBA-FM), educator (San Fernando Valley State College);

Wadada Leo Smith, trumpeter, AACM sustainer, educator (CalArts, University of New Haven, Creative Music Studio, Bard College);

Dr. Craig Springer, USC Los Angeles Spectrum Cultural Arts emeritus and executive director, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

2004 JJA A Team Members

Les Paul, guitarist and inventor;

Rudy Van Gelder, recording engineer;

Arthur H. Barnes, HIP Health Plan of New York;

Bethany Bultman, New Orleans Musicians Clinic;

Jarrett Lilien, Jazz Foundation of America;

Sandy Jackson, Veritas Therapeutic Community/Friends of Charlie Parker program;

Horace Silver, piano scholarship founder, composer-bandleader;

Chuck Niles (posthumous), radio voice of Los Angeles;

Larue Brown Watson, volunteer in jazz education;

Dr. Paul Martin and Dr. Margaret Ray, liver cancer specialists for drummer Billy Higgins.

2003 JJA A Team Members

Jim deJong, independent community-development/musician relations, Chicago;

Dr. Dave Hinkamp, Cook County Hospital;

Anna Immanuel, God Bless the Child Organization, Daniel Pearl Music Day, Jerusalem and Arnie Lawrence, peace through music advocate-educator-saxophonist;

Barry Harris, pianist, educator, conservator;

Dorthaan Kirk, community outreach coordinator, WBGO-FM;

Robert Litwak, Mr. Sinai Hospital;

Dr. Daniel Kane, Englewood Hospital;

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich);

Davey Yarborough, director of music, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, D.C.;

Lewis Marshall, interest to jazz musicians, Washington D.C.;

Dr. David Morwood, volunteer chief surgeon for Rotoplast, Monterey, CA;

Bruce Forman, guitarist and educator, Jazz Masters Workshop, Monterey Peninsula.

2002 JJA A Team Members

George Avakian, producer and historian;

Cobi Narita, independent presenter and supporter of jazz;

Dr. John Minichetti, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center;

Dr. David Feldman, Englewood Hospital.

2001 JJA A Team Members

Dr. Billy Taylor and Herb Storfer, co-founders, Jazz Foundation of America;

Dr. Frank Forte, Dizzy Gillespie Cancer Institute, Englewood Hospital.



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