The Dr. Mary Umolu Jazzy Jazz Festival, being held on eight Friday evenings from July 8 to August 26, pays tribute to the great jazz drummer Max Roach this year. Roach holds an honorary degree from Medgar Evers College.
The 2016 Summer Jazzy Jazz Festival takes place in front of the College’s Academic Complex building at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Crown Street, in Brooklyn. The program is from 7:00 p.m. to 10 p.m., rain or shine. Seating is on a first-come basis. This event is FREE to the public.
This year’s lineup of performers include: Steve Cromity and Quartet; Roman Mitchell and the MEC Jazz Ensemble; George Gray Jazz Quartet; Brandee Younger, harpist; Patience Higgins Sugar Hill Quartet; Mark Whitfield & Sons; T.K. Blue jazz saxophone & Quintet; and Pantastic Steel Orchestra.
A native of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, Max Roach was in the avant-garde movement of change by the time he was 18 years old, along with the likes of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He was also influenced by Kenny Clarke, interfaced with the progressive-minded Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter, and had a brief stint working with Duke Ellington. In his quest to move the art form of jazz forward, Roach used cymbals as gongs and played mesmerizing solos on the tom-toms, creating an atmosphere rarely experienced in jazz. He propelled jazz to new levels. Above all though, Roach should be admired for never being curtailed by the idea of non- acceptance of his social and political consciousness, which made him a rarity among jazz musicians.
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 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.
Here is the line-up for this year:
07/08 Steve Cromity
07/15 Roman Mitchell & MEC Jazz Ensemble
07/22 George Gray Jazz Quartet
07/29 Brandee Younger, Harpist
08/05 Patience Higgins Sugar Hill Quartet
08/12 Mark Whitfield & Sons
08/19 TK Blue, Jazz Saxophone
08/26 Pantastic, Steel Orchestra
For more information, please call 718.270.5140 or 347.243.6907