The Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival has grown from a nine day neighborhood event to a highly anticipated borough wide music series. This celebration of an art form created by African Americans is the longest continuous running festival dedicated to jazz in New York City. The festival’s schedule included: Community Day Gala Concert (Co- Produced with International African Arts Festival) with Pharoah Sanders, poet Louis Reyes Rivera, Omi Yesa, and surprise guest Gary Bartz; some Latin flavor by Papo Vazquez; legendary Papa Lou Donaldson; nationally known acts Ahmed Abdullah, Bob Cunningham, Eric Frazier, Ed Stoute; Pucho and His Latin Soul Brothers; Billy Bang and the great Houston Person to name some. Mix this in with local venue money makers Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch, Steve Cromity, Kim Clarke, Sabor, Rudi Wongozi, Jeff King, just to name a few, and its no wonder why tourist and neighborhood folks flocked to performances spaces such as Afroart Designs, Jazz966, Parlor Jazz, Rustik Tavern, Sistas’ Place, Sugar Hill Restaurant, Two Steps Down and the Brooklyn night life scene in general this April. In fact nearly sixty (60) bands participated in festival 2010 and an economic impact was realized by community businesses also as tourist from Belgium, China, Finland, Japan, Ohio, Philadelphia and Rhode Island sampled local products. Or as phrased by Jazz Journalist Association President Howard Mandel, “. . . the roots of the borough’s jazz, where action is concentrated during the 11th Annual Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival throughout the month of April, run from Flatbush up Fulton Avenue (Street) through the neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Ocean Hill to Bushwick. This is the area that gave birth to Max Roach and Randy Weston some 80 years ago, . . . .”
This observance of jazz month in Brooklyn consisted of programming not only to entertain but to inform and perpetuate the music. Events such as Celebrating Cal Massey at Brooklyn College; memories of Eubie Blake; Icons of Brooklyn Jazz with Cecil Bridgewater, Kiane Zawadi, James Spaulding, and Brooklyn Jazz Hall of Fame ceremony held at Brooklyn Historical Society educate the public of Brooklyn’s rich jazz legacy. Panel discussions, Jazz: The Women’s View Point and “Where is Jazz Going?” gave insight about issues surrounding Jazz not in the foreground. Brooklyn hipsters and school aged youth were turned on to Jazz by attending Eco Soul concert with Ayanna and Melvin Gibbs at Weeksville Heritage Center and the Youth Jazz Jamboree at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza. A unique component of the Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival is its ecumenical participation. Faith based institutions Janes United Methodist Church and Our Lady Of Victory Roman Catholic Church presentations give credence to the relevance of Jazz in the black church.
The 11th Annual Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival was produced by the 48 voracious member individuals/organizations of CBJC. This music series was also supported by Brooklyn Tourism and Visitors Center (an initiative of Borough President Marty Markowitz), Brooklyn Arts Council - Black Brooklyn Renaissance Project, Long Life Referral Network, and Pizzazz Meeting & Events Planning Group. CBJC thanks festival partners Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Public Library, Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College, International African Arts Festival, New York Aquarium, and Weeksville Heritage Center.
Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium founded in 1999, is an amalgam of patrons, entertainment venues, faith based institutions, community organizations and musicians. Over the past eleven (11) years CBJC has presented an annual spring festival, established a Brooklyn Jazz Hall of Fame and Museum (TM); produced yearly programs that feature local jazz talent. CBJC is a nonprofit corporation committed to preserving, promoting and supporting live music within the under served communities of Brooklyn.