All Things Jazz: Wrap Up of 2015

2015 ran the spectrum from good to bad. Here is an industry roundup:
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Jazz venue gains and losses

WAIKIKI: The Blue Note Entertainment Group opened a new Blue Note Jazz Club venue in late December in Hawaii, with a formal grand opening set for January. It is located in the former Society of Seven showroom inside the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. The club will feature jazz, blues and Hawaiian music. The Hawaiian venue joins existing Blue Note clubs in New York, Washington D.C., Milan and two locations in Japan. Blue Note also said it plans to open a new venue on the southeast corner of Tiananmen Square in Beijing in March 2016, followed by additional clubs in Shanghai and Taipei within three years.

NEW ORLEANS: In February, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra opened its new home, modeled in many ways after Jazz at Lincoln Center. The $10 million project converted the long-abandoned Gators department store into the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market, a contemporary and versatile jazz performance space and permanent headquarters for the orchestra, founded by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield. The main performance space, seating 360, includes a partial wrap-around balcony, and a retractable stadium seating section. The lobby’s Bolden Bar includes a small performance space to host live jazz.

NEW YORK: The Apollo Theater in Harlem unveiled a new artistic partnership in April 2015 with trumpeter and composer Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to develop “a range of annual themed events and programs that will celebrate the origins of jazz, the continued innovations within the genre and build a younger audience for the art form.” Under the multi-year agreement, Mayfield is Jazz Artist-in-Residence, overseeing multiple presentations on the Apollo’s Mainstage, its Soundstage space and in New Orleans at the NOJO’s new home, the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market. The partnership includes newly commissioned works by Mayfield, an extension of the Apollo Music Café series with presentations in New York and New Orleans, and a celebration of the city of New Orleans’ 300th birthday in 2018.

Cameroon-born musician Richard Bona and restaurateur Laurent Dantonio opened Club Bonafide on 52nd Street in Manhattan in September. The new venue is an intimate listening room with seating for 75, a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system and a separate bar area. “I decided to create a club where the musicians can make money playing, where they can sell their CDs and get 100% of the revenue,” Bona said. “I want to do something different and I believe we can run a club where everybody can make money.”

Cabaret singer and pianist Michael Feinstein and the supper club 54 Below (underneath the former Studio 54 disco) announced a partnership in September to make “Feinstein’s/54 Below” the successor of the singer’s former “Feinstein’s” at the Loew’s Regency Hotel, which closed three years ago. Feinstein’s/54 Below is the second nightclub to carry his brand. Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco opened in May 2013 and has four shows a week plus special events.

SAN FRANCISCO: The Addition, formerly known as Yoshi’s San Francisco, suspended operations on Jan. 14, 2015. Artistic director Peter Williams cited financial hardship since the club was taken over in July 2014 by the Fillmore Live Entertainment Group, which cut its volume of jazz programming sharply. The 28,000 square-foot club and restaurant opened in 2007 as a satellite of the long-standing Yoshi’s jazz club in Oakland.

ETHIOPIA: A January 11, 2015 fire at the Taitu Hotel, a historic landmark in Addis Ababa, destroyed its famous club, the Jazz Amba Lounge. The city’s deputy mayor, Abate Sitotaw, said efforts would be made to restore the hotel. Since the fire, its regular performers have taken musical refuge at Mama’s Kitchen, a new restaurant that stages several concerts each week and may evolve into a new hub for the local music scene.

GERMANY: The Jazzclub Tonne in Dresden closed because of water damage in its Königstrasse building. It reopened in October at a larger site in Kurlander Palais that had been its home from 1981 to 1997.

International Jazz Day, Take Four

The City of Light became the city of music on April 30 when UNESCO Headquarters in Paris hosted an all-star global concert highlighting International Jazz Day on April 30. The many featured performers included Dee Dee Bridgewater, Till Bronner, Igor Butman, Eliane Elias, Femi Kuti, Annie Lennox, Gregoire Maret, Hugh Masekela, Claudio Roditi, Isfar Sarabski, Wayne Shorter and Dhafer Youssef.

Herbie Hancock, UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, told the audience: “I’ve seen and experienced musicians from opposing sides, enemy nations, unite to create the most beautiful music and tell the sweetest stories. Let’s celebrate International Jazz Day each April 30, but let us pledge to follow its values and reasons for existence every single day of the year.” Other Paris events also included jam sessions, master classes, round-table discussions, a boat cruise and film screenings. Jazz Day events took place in more than 190 countries around the globe. Hancock announced the 2016 all-star concert will be held in Washington, D.C. International Jazz Day has become a splendid way to conclude April’s Jazz Appreciation Month.

Awards and honors of note

NEA JAZZ MASTERS: Pianist-composer Carla Bley, saxophonists George Coleman and Charles Lloyd, and Chicago jazz club owner Joe Segal were honored in April 2015 as NEA Jazz Masters. Segal, owner of the Jazz Showcase, received the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy, which is bestowed upon an individual who has contributed significantly to the appreciation, knowledge, and advancement of the art form of jazz. The 2016 NEA Jazz Masters class includes vibes player Gary Burton, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp, and musicians’ advocate Wendy Oxenhorn. She will receive the 2016 Spellman Award. The 2016 celebration is scheduled April 4 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ 50th anniversary celebration.

GRAMMY AWARDS: Winners of jazz-related categories at the 2015 Grammy Awards on February 8 included Chick Corea “Fingerprints” from Trilogy (Concord Jazz, 2014) )—best improvised jazz solo; Dianne Reeves Beautiful Life (Concord, 2014)—best jazz vocal album); Chick Corea Trio Trilogy (Concord Jazz, 2014)—best jazz instrumental album; Gordon Goodwin‘s Big Phat Band, Life in the Bubble (Telarc International,2014)—best large jazz ensemble album; Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, The Offense of the Drum (Motéma, 2014)—best Latin jazz album; Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek (Streamline/Columbia/RPM/Interscope, 2014)—best traditional pop vocal album; Rubén Blades, Tangos (Sunnyside, 2014)—best Latin pop album; Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm-Jamal Warner “Jesus Children” track from: Black Radio 2 (Blue Note, 2014)—best traditional R&B performance; Ashley Kahn, John Coltrane‘s Offering: Live at Temple University (Resonance/Impulse!, 2014)—best album notes.

Also, saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award from The Recording Academy, and Newport Jazz Festival founding producer George Wein was honored with the academy’s Grammy Trustees Award for outstanding contributions in areas other than performance.

Singer (Little) Jimmy Scott‘s widow Jeanne Scott fired off an open letter berating The Recording Academy for not including him in its televised In Memoriam segment at the 57th Grammy Awards. She said the snub compounded the credits he was denied by recording “industry slicksters” during his career. Scott was included on a longer In Memoriam list on the Recording Academy’s website, along with other music figures not mentioned in the broadcast.

LATIN GRAMMY AWARDS: There were several Latin jazz-related winners at the 16th annual Latin Grammy Awards held November 19 in Las Vegas. They were Paquito D’Rivera, Jazz Meets the Classics (Sunnyside/Paquito, 2014)—best Latin jazz album; Ed Calle and Mamblue, Dr. Ed Calle Presents Mamblue (Mojito, 2015)—best instrumental album; Rubén Blades with Roberto Delgado and Orquesta, Son de Panamá (Rubén Blades, 2015)—best Salsa album. Tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

HONORS—AND A SNUB—FOR “BIRDMAN” SCORE: Drummer Antonio Sanchez won the Critics Choice Movie Award for best original score for his soundtrack for “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” It also won top soundtrack honors from the Venice Film Festival and a half-dozen regional critics groups. The Academy Awards disqualified Sanchez’ “Birdman” work from consideration on eligibility grounds that seemed dubious at best.

MONK VOCAL COMPETITION: Dallas native Jazzmeia Horn took top honors at the Thelonious Monk Institute’s International Jazz Vocals Competition November 15 in Los Angeles. Horn, who won the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition in 2013, received a guaranteed contract with Concord Music Group. Veronica Swift O’Brien, a scholarship student at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, finished second. Vuyolwethu Sotashe finished third among the three finalists from the 11-singer Monk Competition. The native of South Africa won the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Vocal Competition in 2014. The Institute honored Quincy Jones with its Herbie Hancock Humanitarian Award.

JJA AWARDS: The Jazz Journalists Association honored pianist Randy Weston with its Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Award at the 19th annual JJA Awards at the Blue Note in New York on June 16. Among the many performance category winners, pianist Jason Moran was named musician of the year, while Kenny Barron was named pianist of the year and his album with bassist Dave Holland, The Art of Conversation (Impulse!, 2014) was voted record of the year.

JJA winners in the Journalism and Media categories for work published or broadcast in the year 2014 included Wall Street Journal contributor Marc Myers for his blog Jazz Wax; Herbie Hancock and Lisa Dickey for their book “Herbie Hancock: Possibilities”; Ashley Kahn for his liner notes to John Coltrane‘s Offering: Live at Temple University (Resonance/Impulse!, 2014); Nate Chinen, columnist for JazzTimes and contributor to the New York Times for excellence in writing; and Christian McBride as broadcaster of the year for hosting “Jazz Night In America.” Chicago-based jazz journalist and broadcaster Neil Tesser was honored with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism Award.

HALL OF FAME: Saxophonist Dexter Gordon and pianists James P. Johnson and Lennie Tristano were inducted into Jazz at Lincoln Center‘s Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame on July 1. The posthumous induction was based on popular votes cast by jazz fans around the world. To date, Jazz at Lincoln Center has inducted 48 members into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame.

WALL OF FAME: The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers inducted George Wein, Henry Threadgill, Hoagy Carmichael and Jelly Roll Morton to the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame. Singer-songwriter Lizz Wright received the ASCAP Foundation’s Jazz Vanguard Award at the June 15 event.

COLE PORTER FELLOW IN JAZZ: Pianist Sullivan Fortner won The American Pianists Association’s 2015 Jazz Fellowship Award. Fortner was selected from a field of five finalists at the March competition in Indianapolis. He was given a $50,000 cash prize, the opportunity to record with Mack Avenue Records and will receive career development for two years. The other finalists were Christian Sands, Zach Lapidus, Emmet Cohen and Kris Bowers.

BMI COMPOSITION HONORS: Pianist Miho Hazama won the 16th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize for the best original work created in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. Her piece, “Somnambulant,” was selected by musicians Bill Kirchner, Gil Goldstein and bassist Rufus Reid, who was the workshop’s first composition prize winner. The BMI workshop is a noted creative forum for big band jazz composition. Hazama received a $3,000 commission to write a new work for premiere at BMI’s 2016 Showcase Concert.

2015 GUGGENHEIM FELLOWS: Composer/big band leader Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, trumpeter Etienne Charles, saxophonist Steve Lehman and trombonist George Lewis were the jazz-related recipients among 2015’s class of 175 fellows honored by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation .

DORIS DUKE AWARDS: Pianist and AACM co-founder Muhal Richard Abrams, saxophonists Steve Coleman and Yosvany Terry, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, big-band leader Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society and cellist Okkyung Lee received $275,000 awards as Doris Duke Performing Artists in Jazz. The program was developed by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to make “deepened investments in the artists’ personal and professional development and future work.”

Also, seven jazz artists received 2015 Doris Duke Impact Awards. Pianists Kris Davis and Matt Mitchell, bassists Mark Dresser and Reggie Workman, drummer Milford Graves, and multi-instrumentalists Tyshawn Sorey and Henry Threadgill each received unrestricted gifts of $80,000. The two sets of Duke awards were launched in 2011 as a special 10-year initiative to empower, invest in and celebrate artists by offering flexible, multi-year funding in response to financial challenges in the performing arts.

LIVING LEGACY: Saxophonist and educator Gary Bartz received the BNY Mellon Jazz 2015 Living Legacy Award at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. on October 16. The award honors living jazz masters from the Mid-Atlantic region who have achieved distinction in jazz performance and education.

HONORING A NATIVE SON: Pianist McCoy Tyner received Philadelphia‘s equivalent to the keys to the city on April 6, when Mayor Michael Nutter gave him a miniature Liberty Bell as Philly’s Jazz Legend Honoree for 2015. “McCoy has changed the way everyone after him has played the piano,” said local record-label owner, producer and composer Aaron Levinson. “His percussive approach and sense of harmony signaled a new frontier for the instrument. And his embrace of African, Asian and Afro-Cuban ideas puts him in the league of Duke Ellington.”

REMEMBERING THE GREATS: Hundreds turned out for the September 12 unveiling of a sculpture of trumpeter Miles Davis in his birthplace, Alton, IL. It took two years to raise funds for the work by sculptor Preston Jackson. In August, the U.S. Postal Service announced it will add singer Sarah Vaughan to its Music Icons series of commemorative stamps sometime in 2016. A huge canvas mural of Bix Beiderbecke was unveiled in June at the German American Heritage Center in the cornetist’s hometown, Davenport, IA. The Apollo Theater in New York celebrated Billie Holiday‘s 100th birthday on April 7 by adding her to the Apollo Walk of Fame. A local arts group in Geneva, NY announced plans in April to honor bassist Scott LaFaro with a life-size statue. Sculptor Ted Aub offered to donate his labor for free. The City Council has already declared April 3 as Scott LaFaro Day annually and renamed a downtown street Scott LaFaro Drive. A Scott LaFaro memorial scholarship has also been established at Geneva High School. LaFaro moved to Geneva with his family when he was 3.

On the record

MORE ACQUISITIONS: Through its latest expansions, the Concord Music Group, which began with Carl Jefferson’s Concord Jazz label in 1973, is becoming less of the “largest independent music company” it likes to call itself. Concord acquired the Vanguard and Sugar Hill labels from the Welk Music Group, adding to its country and folk music collections in April. A month later, it acquired the Fearless and Wind-Up independent rock music labels. Concord now has 24 subsidiary labels or imprints in its catalog, including the Contemporary, Fantasy, Head’s Up International, Milestone, Prestige, Riverside and Telarc jazz labels.

BLUE ENGINE: Jazz at Lincoln Center launched Blue Engine Records to release recordings from its 28 years of presenting concerts, as well as issue new studio and live recordings. Its archives include a studio recording featuring pianist Chick Corea and a musical Mass with a gospel choir written for the 200th anniversary of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York. The first release, Live in Cuba (Blue Engine, 2015), explores the connections between American jazz and Afro-Cuban music from bebop to bolero. It was recorded over three nights at the Mella Theater in Havana in October 2010 by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Jazz at Lincoln Center is releasing its Blue Engine recordings as CDs and digital downloads and to streaming music services, with a few titles in vinyl format.

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT: Trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s eighth studio album, Stretch Music (Ropeadope/Stretch Music, 2015) was accompanied by the launch of the first interactive Stretch Music App. The app, powered by Tutti Player, was described as an interactive music player giving musicians the ability to completely control their practicing, listening and learning experience by customizing the player to fit their specific needs and goals.” It includes the capability to mute, solo, pan and fade any instrument chosen along with tempo control, looping and sheet music for each part.

On the legal front

A SHADOW LOOMS LARGE: Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield found himself in the spring with a higher profile than he’d like. The tireless advocate for jazz in his native New Orleans, club owner and moving force behind the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, modeled after the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, was under a federal microscope. As head of the New Orleans Library Foundation, he and business partner Ronald Markham allegedly directed more than $800,000 in Library Foundation funds to support the nonprofit orchestra, largely to help support for its ambitious $10 million Peoples Health Jazz Market performance-community-cultural space. After the feds subpoenaed financial records, NOJO vowed to repay all of the grant money. There was little new on the case at year’s end, though Mayfield resigned from the Library Foundation, and from his professorship at the University of New Orleans.

COLEMAN CASE: A federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ornette Coleman against trumpeter Jordan McLean of the Afrobeat band Antibalas and drummer Amir Ziv, claiming the saxophonist never authorized release of material they recorded at his home that surfaced on the album New Vocabulary (System Dialing, 2014). The suit was filed in May by Coleman’s son and legal guardian, Denardo Coleman. Ornette Coleman died of cardiac arrest on June 11. McLean has claimed he had permission to release the material.

GETZ’S SAMANTHA TRUST: Actress Samantha Cesena, who was engaged to saxophonist Stan Getz when he died in 1991, filed suit in January 2015 seeking removal of trustee Marvin Zolt from a trust that Getz established on her behalf. Cesena’s lawsuit on Los Angeles Superior Court said she had not received her $2,500 monthly payments from the Samantha Trust since July 2013.

Have Jazz, Will Travel

Blue Note Records partnered with the Cunard cruise ship line for a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 featuring performances by Blue Note artists. The lineup for the October 29 cruise included pianist Robert Glasper, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott. Blue Note president Don Was}} also made the seven-day cruise from New York to Southampton.

The Blue Note Entertainment Group, which operates several Blue Note Jazz Clubs and other music venues, has launched Blue Note Travel, a new division that will curate music travel experiences to global destinations. It said it will offer trips with VIP amenities to various music festivals around the world, as well as rare travel opportunities with world-renowned musicians and personalities.” Cuba is Blue Note Travel’s first planned destination.

Batiste in a huge spotlight

Louisiana-born multi-instrumentalist Jon Batiste signed on as musical director for “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” which premiered Sept. 8 on CBS. Batiste is using his regular performing band, Stay Human, plus occasional special guests, on the high-profile network television gig.

Music journalism takes a hit

Newspaper belt tightening had a significant impact at several prominent newspapers in September. The New Orleans Times-Picayune, the lead newspaper in the birthplace of jazz, laid off music writer Allison Fensterstock and asked her colleague Keith Spera to focus on general metro news instead of the music scene. Spera left as well, but both quickly found work across town covering music for the rival New Orleans Advocate. Jim Farber was laid off by the New York Daily News, where he had covered the music beat since 1990. Longtime Nashville-based music writer Brian Mansfield left the national daily USA Today after 18 years on staff to become content director at the Shore Fire Media public relations firm.

Newport’s venue evolution

The best businesses—and arts organizations—find ways to enhance what they do. The Newport Jazz Festival added a fourth performance venue at Fort Adams State Park for its 2015 edition. The 100-seat Storyville performance space is located inside a brick building just inside the festival gate. It featured solo or small group performances by pianists Frank Kimbrough, Helen Sung, Christian Sands, Aaron Diehl, Giorgi Mikadze and Joey Alexander. The long line of festival-goers hoping to catch the 12-year old jazz prodigy Alexander stretched out the door and down the slope towards Newport Harbor. Some ambitious listeners hiked themselves up to peer in the building’s windows. The Storyville stage also featured two seminars each day focusing on Miles Davis, marking the 60th anniversary of the trumpeter’s first performance at Newport on July 17, 1955. Storyville is an ideal name for this club-like venue. It was the name of the Boston club that George Wein ran in Boston when he got into the jazz festival production business.

< b>Saving some Detroit jazz history, again Music-loving volunteers searched during the summer or anything salvageable from the former Graystone International Jazz Museum collection, which had been abandoned inside the long-vacant Book Building in downtown Detroit. The Graystone Ballroom, “billed as Detroit’s Million Dollar Ballroom,” was a great jazz venue hosting the top performers of its day, including Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. In the mid-1970s, retired bus driver James Jenkins set out to save the ballroom, which he hoped to convert into a museum to commemorate the city’s jazz heritage, but the Graystone was demolished in 1980. Jenkins’ museum in the Book Building struggled with funding after his death in 1994. Some of the collection was warehoused but the rest was left in the Book Building, where it was all but forgotten—and unprotected from the elements—after the building was vacated in 2009. The nonprofit Detroit Sound Conservancy began the recovery and preservation process with the help of the Detroit Historical Society. DFSC moved the relics to a storage warehouse to begin archiving and digitizing the collection.

Sharing Oscar Peterson items

Pianist Oscar Peterson‘s widow auctioned 25 of his personal items in August. The Oscar Peterson Auction on eBay included synthesizers, microphones, a high-end DAT recorder and a rare headphone set Peterson used in his home recording studio, as well as jazz books, his poster collection and his signature blue brocade tux jacket. “We want to commemorate Oscar’s 90th birthday and share some of these things with his fans,” Kelly Peterson said. “We also want to raise funds for World Vision Canada. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy parting with them. There’s something about each piece that makes it wrenching to me to see it go.” Her husband died in 2007 at age 82.

Jazz is on a roll

Pianist Jason Moran & his trio Bandwagon curated and performed at a 10-day “Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music and Media” festival in September at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Organizers called it a celebration of “a vibrant and influential American subculture by highlighting the creative ties and improvisational elements shared between skateboarding and live music in an open and collaborative environment.” The events also featured more than a dozen professional skateboarders.

Placing jazz above global politics

Tenor saxophonist Igor Butman, who holds dual citizenship in his native Russia and the United States, drew political fire drew fire from Washington and Kiev when he agreed to play at the Koktebel Jazz Party, a music festival held in the Crimean city of Koktebel, a major seaside resort during the Soviet era. The U.S. State Department warned him not to attend the August 28-30 event. Butman defied the request, saying music should never suffer because of politics. Butman said he wrote a letter to President Barack Obama saying that Kiev’s announcement that it could ban artists who perform in Koktebel from entering Ukraine for five years was “improper.” He said he planned to write Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko a letter with the same message. The international music event has been held in Koktebel since 2003, when Russian-occupied Crimea was still part of Ukraine.

“Collateral damage” in difficult times French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf was detained when traveling from Paris to perform at the London Jazz Festival a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris after being told that his name had flagged an Interpol alert. He missed two trains and had to cancel a day of promotional activities in London, arriving shortly before his scheduled concert started. Maloof said he considered himself “collateral damage” to France’s state of emergency after the attacks in Paris.

Investing in jazz for the future

GRETCHEN VALADE JAZZ CENTER: Detroit philanthropist Gretchen Valade, heiress to the Carhartt apparel fortune, continues to find new ways to support her love of jazz with big bucks. In mid-December, Valade announced her commitment tp give $7.5 million to Wayne State University’s jazz program. Her in initiative will include a new performance center on Cass Avenue, establish a $1.5 million endowed chair in jazz studies and a $1 million endowed jazz scholarship. Those recipients will oversee programming and other activities at The Gretchen Valade Jazz Center. The venue will transform the university’s current performance space, the Hiberry Theatre, into a metro Detroit jazz hub, hosting shows by touring musicians and local, and serving as a working space for WSU music students and faculty. Valade’s other jazz initiatives have included founding the Dirty Dog Jazz Café in Grosse Pointe and the Mack Avenue record label. She also gave the Detroit Jazz Festival $15-million in endowment funds that enabled the Labor Day Weekend event to flourish over the past decade.

NEIMAN FOUNDATION: Artist LeRoy Neiman, who died in 2012, was best known for colorful paintings and illustrations that presented scenes of sports and entertainment, including paintings of American jazz legends of the 1950s and 1960s. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History launched its Jazz Appreciation Month celebration in April with word of a $2.5 million LeRoy Neiman Foundation endowment to expand jazz programming. The foundation also donated Neiman’s painting, “Big Band,” a 9-by-13 feet epic jazz mural featuring 18 iconic jazz musicians. Continue reading > > >
By Ken Franckling for All About Jazz