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Friday, April 5th 2013

3:52 PM

"Jazz April" in Queens

What's going on in Queens in Jazz Month??

I need to say that a lot is going on. And always has been. I used to think of myself as a pioneer, back in the 1980s and 90s, when I thought up a bunch of new parks and other venues where jazz could be played for all  these Astoria folks from their many different countries, who didn't have that much exposure to the art form.

Then I interviewed bassist Leonard Gaskin, and found out that Queens was riddled with clubs dating back many decades, all the way up and down Roosevelt Ave., and all over Jamaica; and these places were really cookin'! But that's another story. At least I did contribute to getting some stuff going in Astoria, one small but significant part of Queens.

One impressive event going on this April is something created by two good friends of mine, both excellent musicians, drummer Brian Woodruff and guitarist Amanda Monaco (along with others). Their organization is called the Queens Jazz OverGround (QJOG), a nonprofit collective that promotes jazz performance and education in the borough of Queens. They are having a 'Spring Jazz Festival 2013': a free, daylong series of jazz workshops and performances at Flushing Town Hall on Saturday, April 27 from 12 noon to 10:30 pm (for kids too!!). You can see the details at www.queensjazz.org. It sounds fabulous and I think I'll go.

As for me, I'm pursuing some of my passions this month. One is my eternal effort to found and fund a series of House Concerts,  an age-old but new phenomenon , something I've grown to love being part of. I've organized and given them in Vicenza, Italy; Harlem; Coventry, U.K., and ! really want to get this off the ground in Queens.
I've actually got one in Brooklyn this month: 'Brownstone Jazz', April 26. That series is bassist Eric Lemon's brainchild and a very successful one!

Second of the two passions is working with and performing for senior citizens, many of whom are a great inspiration to me. I will be doing a trio jazz performance at the NORC Queens Community House Senior Center on Tuesday, April 30 at 1:15, with guitarist Andrew Lim and bassist Shawn Lovato, both from Queens. I've been working with the seniors who attend the NORC center, acompanying (on flute and sax) their marvelous poetry, painting, songs, written logs of thoughts and memories. They are something else...active and offering fresh perspectives right into their 90s. (Details at my website, http://sudhalter.com. )


"For more ways you can participate in jazz activities this month, wherever you are, visit http://jazzapril.com     
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