A Brooklyn summer tradition, the Dr. Mary Umolu Jazzy Jazz Festival has become the stage for exceptional musicians who engage and share their talents with the community
Medgar Evers College has returned with the Dr. Mary Umolu Jazzy Jazz Festival, this year paying tribute to Brooklyn’s own Lena Horne. You may have missed its kick-off in the beginning of July, but don’t fret – there are more shows happening every Friday night, until September 1, reported Caribbean Life. A Brooklyn summer tradition, the festival has become the stage for exceptional musicians who engage and share their talents with the community.
“The department is carrying forth the legacy and goal of this extraordinary educational and cultural program,” said Dr. Clinton Crawford, chair of Medgar Evers College’s Department of Mass Communications, Creative and Performing Arts and Speech.
Founded in 1996 by the late Dr. Mary Umolu, professor and chair of the department of Mass Communication, Creative and Performing Arts and Speech at the college, the Jazzy Jazz Festival is now celebrating its 20-year run of providing free concerts to the local community of Crown Heights and beyond. To honor Dr. Umolu’s commitment to educating younger generations about the history of jazz, the only uniquely American art form created in the 20th century, the Jazzy Jazz Festival was renamed after her.
This year’s lineup includes the MEC Jazz Ensemble, Hillard Greene and The Jazz Expressions, Melba Joyce and Friends, Ngoma’s “Not Your Average String Thing”, Rhythm Healing featuring Bashiri Johnson with Frances Elizee, and Alex Blake & Collective.
On August 25, jazz lovers will be in for a special treat when the extraordinary vocalist Jazzmeia Horn is taking center stage. The winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition will wow the audience with a maturity and vocal confidence far beyond her years, and with a message of social uplift and glowing optimism she conveys through her music – just in the spirit of the festival and its late founder, confirms Crawford.
“We do not envision Jazzy Jazz as simply a summer concert event,” Dr. Crawford said. “This festival and its performers become embedded in the educational life of the community.”