Tuesday, December 2, 2014

By Deardra Shuler

The founder of the H.A.D.L.E.Y Players, Gertrude Jeannette, who was born November 28, 1914, celebrated her 100th birthday at the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem on Sunday, November 30th where theater people, friends, press and community folks came out to honor Gertrude and remember her birthday.

A playwright, actress, director and producer in her own right, Gertrude has appeared on both stage and screen.   She appeared on radio and performed on Broadway in Tennessee Williams “Vieux Carre.”  Also in “The Skin of our Teeth,” “The Great White Hope,” “Lost in the Stars.” “Amen Corner,”  “Nobody Loves an Albatross “and “The Great White Hope,” et al. 

In film, Ms. Jeanette was memorable in “The Legend of Nigger Charlie,” “Black Girl,” and appeared in “Shaft,” “and “Cotton Comes to Harlem.”   She has lent her talents to both film shorts and documentaries.  A playwright in her own right, Gertrude wrote plays like:  A Bolt from the Blue, Light in the Cellar, Glady’s Dilemma, This Way Forward, and Who’s Mama’s Baby, Who’s Daddy’s Child?  She has also featured and directed the works of other playwrights.  

Born in Urbana, Arkansas, Gertrude made Harlem, NY, her home.  An innovator, in 1935 she became the first woman to get a license to operate a motor cycle and later became the first female cab driver in New York City.  Jeannette received the Harlem Business Recognition Award from the National Council of Negro Women.  She was honored as a Living Legend by the National Black Theater Festival in Winston Salem, NC .  She received the Outstanding Pioneer Award from AUDELCO in 1984.  She also received the AT&T and Black American Newspaper 1987 Personality of the Year Award.  She was inducted into the Hatch-Billops Oral History Collection by the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture.  As well as inducted into Philadelphia’s Bush­fire Theatre Walk of Fame.  The Giving Back Corporation endowed her with their 2004 Giving Back Award, and Gertrude was given the 2006 Professional Women’s Award from the Riverside Club/National Negro Business and Professional Women organization.  She received the Standing on Our Shoulders Award from the Delta Sigma Theta, Bronx Chapter, and the Lionel Hampton Legacy Award for her outstanding work in the Harlem community.   In 2002, Gertrude Jeannette received the prestigious Paul Robeson Award from Actor’s Equity.  She was also honored by Harlem Is…Living History, an educational project by Community Works.

Letters wishing Ms. Jeannette “Happy Birthday” came from Congressman Charles Rangel, Assemblyman Keith Wright, State Senator Bill Perkins and Councilwoman Inez Dickens.  The Master of Ceremony was producer Voza Rivers.  Ebony Jo-Ann sang “You Will Never Grow Old.”  The Classical Productions led by Patricia Hancock Rogers sang a medley of Gertrude’s favorite songs.  The invocation was done by actress, comedian and reverend Dorothy Fox.   

Among the guests were former HADLEY Players Artistic Director Ward Nixon, actors Albert Eggleston, Ralph McCain, photographer Ronnie Wright, Don Thomas (NY Beacon), Woodie King (New Federal Theater), Patricia White, Elizabeth Van Dyke, David Downing,  Hazel Smith,  Vinie Burrows,  organizer Margaret Jackson, Sirlouis Jones, Shirley Scott, Micki Grant, Mary B. Davis, Johnnie Mae, Joe B. Hunt,  Barbara Horowitz, Larry Thorp, June Terry, Janice Jenkins,  Louise Mike,  Dee Dixon, director Eric Coleman, Margery Johnson, Kimberly Monroe, playwrights Roger Parris and J.E. Franklin. 

 Many of the attendees have presented their plays and/or appeared in some of the Hadley Productions.  Others were supporters and long time friends.  People such as actress Joan Valentina, Cherryl Thomas, Ms. Bobbi Willis, Kim Weston-Moran, journalists Joan Allen, Peter Cooper and Michael J. Feeney, actress Johnnie Mae, Tommie Thompson, Kelly Marie Berry, costumer Kathy Roberson, Ed Lawrence, Debbie McIntire, Ajene Washington, Alice Garcia, Michelle Wilson (Ms Jeannette’s great niece), Alvin Alexis, Juanita Howard, Loretta Abbott, and Lillian Harrison came out to celebrate Gertrude’s 100th birthday milestone.  

Ms. Jeannette appeared to have a lovely time and invited all her guests back to her 110th birthday party to do it all over again.  God willing Gertrude, we’ll all be there.

Monday, November 10, 2014

“A Sharp Edge in the Dark” Sliced with a dull Razor

By Deardra Shuler

Murder is being committed and holding in suspense the audience of Creative Arts Unlimited, located at Varick Community Center (part of Mother AME Zion Church) at 151 West 136th Street in Harlem.  “A Sharp Edge in the Dark,” written by John Ellerbree and directed by Charles E. Wise has all the elements that come with a murder mystery: deceit, greed, malice, schemes, false friends, suspects, and a knife wielding killer.

The play begins with Lil Phillips beautifully singing “Friends Are Forever,” in such sultry tones, I was sure her song was the precursor to a stimulating play and murder mystery.  The action centered around Juliette Novack (Vanessa Michelle Charles), the rich widow of millionaire Frank Novack, who was murdered mysteriously a year or so previously, leaving behind his widow, daughter and Juliette’s step daughter, Tiffany (Atika Greene), his secretary and Juliette’s best friend, Della LaRue (performed by Florence Mills). They were also mentioned in his will along with landlady and partner, Mrs. Gerber played by Gloria McNeal and a chauffeur named Tony Andrews (Hayze Barfield). All but Juliette were dissatisfied with their inheritance.  Anger, jealousy and greed ensue when the daughter and chauffeur are left with nothing and Juliette is given the bulk of the estate.

With so much potential, unfortunately the play veers off into a tangle of characters too many to keep up with – there is the disgruntled Peter Simmons (Samuel Roberts) whose threats against Tiffany and Juliette make him a prime suspect.  There is Glynnis, the lounge owner, acted by Jo-Hanna Daughtrey and the Police Commissioner Joshua Logan (James Ealy) who is courting Juliette.  Other cast members are Omar Cooke, Anthony Lucas, Kevin Lamar Brown and Allen Craig Harris who plays the dual role of a doctor and lawyer; all are tossed together in a gumbo of unnecessary scenes, lengthy production pauses and amateurish stiff and lifeless acting.  However, I must add that Samuel Roberts as the angry suspect and Florence Mills as the scheming friend stand out as effective and interesting characters.  Unfortunately, several of the actors spoke too low and stumbled over their lines. The inability of several of the actors to project caused the audience to miss dialogue that led to essential clues. 

The direction of Mr. Wise was scattered. He did not weave the play together in a congruent fashion to best highlight the suspense or mystery.  He missed many of the fine points that the audience picked up immediately. He or an administrator didn’t list on the playbill the character’s names in association with the actors; or note the reading of the will being read over a year after the death of Juliette’s husband, nor camouflaged set props to enable the audience to distinguish between the homes of the varied characters.  Why was Tiffany ringing the doorbell to her own home? Five minutes or more passed between scenes while the actors made unnecessary wardrobe changes; the pointless setting up of a mike in a nightclub scene gave an actor credit for singing “Friends Are Forever,” when he did not use the mike or even sing the song.  At one point, while the audience awaited another lengthy scene change, the stage manager walked in front of the audience to instruct those removing props.   It was also disconcerting to see the actors repeatedly drinking out of empty glasses pretending to pour liquor out of unopened bottles.  I refrain on pointing out other inconsistencies since it involves the plot.

There were numerous threats against various characters and against Juliette and Tiffany in particular.  The initial murder at the play’s beginning was unexplained or as I later found out was explained, but the actors spoke so low (even though I was in the front row), neither I nor the audience heard why the murder took place.  Since dialogue is essential in leading the audience to its conclusion, actors who do not project or seem unanimated provide the audience with no other recourse but to leave unsatisfied and perplexed.

Having said all of this, I think I was invited prematurely to review the play. The show did not start on time therefore the time factor necessary to the play was thwarted.  Due to starting late, the play ran into the time slot of another booking and thereby the play was concluded without showing its ending. Thusly, the confused audience never got a resolve since the production ended abruptly with no announcement explaining to the audience they didn’t see the true ending.  Thereby, the audience never found out who the murderers were or why they murdered.  The actors’ I’m told never had a dress rehearsal and was doing the play in its entirety for the first time.  I think had the director done a few rehearsals of the play prior to showcasing it, he may have caught some of the discrepancies and been aware of the time needed to run it in advance of premiering it. 

The numerous mistakes made it hard to give this play a fair review.  I do think “A Sharp Edge in the Dark” has possibility.  I can only suggest that the director view a few murder mysteries so he has a better understanding of how to weave the play.  I do not put the entire blame on the director however since I do think all concerned played a role in the murdering of this play.  I suggest the writer and the director return to the drawing board with all concerned taking heed of my critique.  Hopefully they will make corrections before their next performance on Saturday, November 15th at 2:00pm wherein at such time they resurrect the play giving it the life it deserves. 




Friday, October 31, 2014

Richard Alleyne, Dies of Cancer

By Deardra Shuler

Richard Alleyne passed due to cancer complications on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, at 6:45 p.m., in Westwood, New Jersey, at Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley, after a lengthy illness.  Still grieving over the loss of his mother, Mr. Alleyne passed just 1 year and 14 days after his mother, jazz icon, Gloria Lynne's death on October 15, 2013.  Ms. Lynne is best known for her signature song, “I Wish You Love.”

Richard, fondly known to his friends and family as P.J., was born in Harlem, NY, and raised in Englewood, NJ.  He was often cared for by his grandmother who nurtured him during those times his mother was performing or touring on the road.  In fact, due to his mother’s musical career, P.J., was exposed to the likes of Dizzy Gillespie (who lived around the corner from him), Miles Davis, Quincy Jones who worked with Gloria Lynne on one of her albums, trumpeter Harry “Sweets,” Edison and Lionel Hampton, etc.  

P.J.  attended Eron Preparatory school and went on to graduate from business school.  However, since music was always his passion he pursued music.  He appeared on the Apollo Amateur Hour in the 1980’s with his rock band and spent time in California working with rock music.  He also tried his hand at acting eventually appearing on TV programs such as “Charlie’s Angels,” “Cagney & Lacey,” et. al. 

A musician, composer, producer and arranger in his own right, and a partner with his mother in their company, Family Bread Music, P.J. , helped produce several of his mother’s songs, working on the arrangements of songs like “Mountain Greenery.”  PJ was also working with percussionist, music composer and producer, Jay Dittamo, prior to his death on “To Be In Love” and ”I Wish It Would Snow,” the only Christmas song ever sung by his mother, the legendary Gloria Lynne.

Gloria and PJ had many admirers and friends such as Harry Belefonte, Sue Simmons, Aretha Franklin, Bill Cosby, B.B. King, Liza Minelli, David Guest, Dionne Warwick, Smokey Robinson, Valerie Simpson, Chuck Jackson, Lloyd Williams, Ann C.  Rubino, Mary Ann Niehaus, Janet Zuckerman, Jimmy Sabini, Geoffrey Eaton, Vince Ector, Roy Merriweather, Wendy Oxenhorn, Abiodun Oyewole, Todd Barkin, Jay Dittamo, Voza Rivers, Billy Mitchell, Congressman Charles Rangel, Percy Sutton, Mayor David Dinkins, East Orange NJ Mayor Robert Bowser, Dr. Ramesh Sawhney, Maxine McCray, Dell Long, Roz Nixon, Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts, Catherine Willis, Cobi Narita, Tina Mcrae, Cosmo, Karen Chilton, Grassella Aliphant, Joe Fields, Duke Wade, Tom Daugherty, Robert and Susan Gleason, John DeMartino, Greg Skaff, Leon Dorsey, Deardra Shuler and numerous others.

It was the wish of Mr. Alleyne to be cremated.   At the time of this reporting a Memorial is pending.

 Richard Alleyne is survived by an uncle, John Wilson who lives in Yonkers, NY, and 2 step sisters Robin and Carol.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Extraordinary Psychic Dr. Ernesto Montgomery deceased

 By Deardra Shuler

I just learned an extraordinary man whom I met back in the 1990s transitioned on July 4, 2014. Dr. Ernesto Moshe Montgomery granted me an interview back in the early 1990s.

Jewish by religion and born in Kingston, Jamaica, on October 2, 1925, Ernesto Montgomery was the spiritual leader of Beta Israel African-American Jewish Temple in Los Angeles. An exceptional psychic by nature with great gifts of prognostication, Dr. Montgomery told me about 911 years before it happened. He did not call it 911 but merely said he saw an early morning terrorist attack on or near the East River in NYC. It would come suddenly without warning. At the time, it sounded so outlandish, I did not elaborate on it in my article about him. He wanted me to warn the UN but at the time I thought no one would believe me, I could hardly fathom such an attack myself. But as we all know, his prediction came to pass.

He sent me proof of his prediction concerning the death of Princess Di, wherein he warned the Royal Family he saw her death. According to the date on the letter it was a few years before Di's death and before she left Prince Charles. He showed me the Royal letterhead wherein the Queen Mother thanked him and responded to his warning. Promising him that they would not allow the Princess to be in Paris the month and year he saw her death. However, fate had changed Di's circumstances and she was no longer married to Charles at the time of her death. Thus was in Paris the month and year Dr. Montgomery predicted she would die in a Paris tunnel.

Ernesto Montgomery was gifted as a child in his native land of Jamaica and became quite well known for his predictions. So much so, he caught the attention of British authorities who approached him at age 16, asking Ernesto to join a secret group of MI-5 psychics using their psychic abilities to spy during WW2. In order to protect their identity Montgomery and the other psychics, (one who later became a very famous author), used code names. Years later, a book was written about Montgomery entitled "Psychic Spy" which accounts his service to Winston Churchhill, Eisenhower, et.al., during WW2. After the war, then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill presented Montgomery with the British Star, campaign, war and defense medals presented for meritorious army services to the Allied Forces. Ernesto Montgomery's predictions were essential to D Day and for that reason the Royal Family respected him and knew of his service, so told him they would take his warning about Di seriously.

He mentioned to me at one point that actress Shirley MacLaine had taken an interest in him after learning about his meta physic ministry, healing practices, clairvoyant gifts and astounding predictions.

Given some of the things he told me and were written about him in local and national newspapers, I can only say he was a very gifted man. He was humble and kind. He was quite elderly when I first interviewed him and when I called him years later to do another interview, although his spirit was willing, it became clear his advancing age would not allow for a second interview. 

A humanitarian at heart, Montgomery was a graduate of the University of Judaism/Department of Continuing Education in Los Angeles,  He was a retired Jamaican police commander who went on to serve in the Los Angeles Police Reserve Corps and on the Newton Street Division Clergy Council of the Los Angeles Police Department.

It seems he slipped from the world in a very quiet fashion, no fanfare or articles acclaiming his unusual powers. Perhaps that is the way he would have wanted it. But when the world has such an unusual man among us, I must at least take this moment to thank him for the gifts he shared with the world. He told me he faced racism and skepticism sometimes. However, his faith in the Divine and the guides and angels that opened his eyes to see, were all he needed to navigate this world. He had a powerful life more extraordinary than most men. He was not rich nor did he use his gifts to become rich or wield power. Perhaps that is what made Montgomery and his psychic gifts so exceptional.

Farewell to you, Dr. Montgomery. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of knowing you and meeting someone of your psychic abilities and great and humble spirit. I know there were those you left behind who loved you and will miss you.  Blessings to your soul as you continue onward in your magnificent journey.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Interview with A Champion

 Richard Skipper Photo Credit, Stephen Mosher
Marge Champion Photo from the Marge Champion Photo Collection

I am in favor of covering the stories of individuals who have been in their careers so long they have made quite a history for themselves and therefore their stories are worth detailing.  That is why interviewers like Richard Skipper are important, because he brings people to the fore-front who were the champions of their day, such as 95 year old former dancer, Marge Champion.

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1919, Marge Champion was the daughter of Ernest and Gladys Baskett.  She started dancing at an early age and by 12 became a dance instructor.  Walt Disney noticed her and hired her to model as his character Snow White.  She later modeled for Disney, posing as Maid Marion via Disney’s animated film, “Robin Hood.”  She also posed as the dancing hippo in Disney’s popular film “Fantasia” and modeled as the Blue Fairy in “Pinocchio.”  In fact, Marge’s first husband was Art Babbitt a Disney animator who created the Goofy character.   She later married Gower Champion, enjoying a 26 year marriage until they divorced.  Her third and last marriage was to actress Katey Segal’s father, director Boris Segal.

The Champion dance team of Gower and Marge Champion made quite the name for themselves in Hollywood circles in the 1940s and 1950s, appearing in musicals such as “Show Boat,” “Everything I Have Is Yours” and “Lovely to Look At.”  They did a remake of Roberta in 1935.  The team went on to do their own TV situation comedy series entitled The Marge and Gower Champion Show which featured song and dance numbers.  Drummer Buddy Rich was featured on the show.   Marge appeared in The Red Skelton Hour and years later, appeared in the television program “Fame” and in a Broadway revival of “Follies.”  She also co-authored two books with actress Marilee Zdenek, entitled Catch the New Wind and God Is a Verb.

In 2013, Marge Champion received The Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award at the Fred and Adele Astaire Awards Ceremony.

Ms. Champion will share her long and illustrious career with interviewer Richard Skipper at the Spiral Theater, giving him a rare interview into her life, career and Hollywood history on Sunday, October 5th, beginning with cocktails at 5:00 pm and the actual interview at 5:30 pm.  A Meet and Greet will follow.  

For tickets call 845-365-0720.  Tickets are $35.00. A portion of the proceeds from the evening will go to benefit the Spiral Theater Studio.  The Spiral Theater Studio is located at 300 West 43rd Street (off of 8th Avenue), Room 603, in Manhattan. Seating is limited so get your tickets early. An RSVP is highly recommended.  

To find out more about the interviewer Richard Skipper, see http://www.richardskipper.com/bio.html

If you are interested in Old Hollywood and the stars and movies of that era, you will love this opportunity to meet Ms. Champion.  I know I will be there and I hope you will be there, too.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Charles Bobbitt: James Brown, The Man and his Music

With the James Brown movie entitled “Get On Up,” being released this weekend, I was fortunate enough to speak with his long time friend and manager, Charles A. Bobbit.

“I knew at 7 years old that I would be involved in show business.  I could not sing or even dance, but I knew one day I would be the power behind an entertainer.  My opportunity came when I saw James Brown at the Apollo.  I told my wife, Ruth, I would work for James Brown one day. My future was with him.  I asked Mr. Brown for a job but it took a few meetings before he hired me. The day he hired me he invited me to his home and it was there he read me.  He told me I would be with him until the day he died.  He told me about myself, my ambitions and knew things about me he couldn’t possibly know.  I met him in 1966, but it wasn’t until 1967 that he hired me.  However, during all that time he was secretly training me to be his personal manager.  He explained there would be too much jealousy if he told people I was his personal manager so he would train me from the ground up.  He started me off as his personal valet and I went everywhere with him while he taught me about the good and bad of show business.  Mr. Brown’s training was so intense, I called myself having attended the University of Brown,” said the 84 year old Mr. Bobbit.

 According to Charles Bobbit, James Brown was an unusual man, changing mood and temperament on a dime.  Although not a bad man, Brown was complex and someone who couldn’t be debated or argued with nor taken for granted.   He was a humane individual that favored education. And he knew music, even though he couldn’t read or write music.  It was all in his head.  Brown insisted his music came directly from God.  Bobbit never saw James rehearse his dance moves, he simply could move fast.  He was limber and had small feet and tiny legs.  Brown came up with the idea of using a cape after watching the wrestler Gorgeous George wrap a towel around his self.  The cape became an integral part of Brown’s act.

Over the years, Brown’s knees became arthritic from dropping to the floor during his songs.  “His knees sometimes would bleed and were scarred and busted up but he didn’t share that with people.  He was a very private and proud man,” explained Charles. “Mr. Brown was traditional.  He insisted on being called Mr. Brown and he himself called people either “Mr” or “Miss.”  Mr. Brown’s word was law. People got along with him as long as you let him be right.  That was the way it was. Everyone knew this.  He wasn’t always correct, but I will tell you something, Mr. Brown was talking about satellites in 1966.  We thought he was nuts but later on all the things he predicted came to be.”

Charles Bobbit also worked with Michael Jackson for three years and advised West African President Omar Bongo and his family.  He has a book entitled, “Making it Happen.” A book tour is planned for the new book due out in 3 weeks. “I know that things are said in other books that are not always true. I was with James Brown for nearly 40 years and I have documented all he said and did, so mine will be an accurate book,” said Bobbit who dubbed Brown the Godfather of Soul.

“You know James Brown scored the movie “Black Caesar,” with Fred Williamson without even watching the movie.  I told him about it and based on what I told him about the movie, Mr. Brown scored it.   I also saw the current movie, “Get On Up,” and even though they left me out and other people close to Mr. Brown out, I thought it was a good movie.  It’s more about his music than his life but I encourage people to see it.”

Brown was starting to have health problems.  He recovered from prostrate cancer but started to feel the effects of aging, diabetes, etc., and decided to slow down touring.  He began coughing, and looked weak although he would not admit to it.  He lost weight. Mr. Bobbit became concerned when James was due to get dental work and asked a doctor to be at the dentist office to examine James before he was gassed for oral surgery.  The doctor told James that he needed to go to the hospital after examining him. This was Christmas Eve. Mr. Bobbit stayed in the hospital room with James when the doctors left after telling Brown they had to drain fluid from his heart. Bobbit discussed with Brown, Brown’s upcoming tour, his movie, and the album James was recording.  James gave Bobbit instruction concerning what to do when he passed. Bobbit assured Brown he was fine. But James said “No, I am leaving here tonight.”  Bobbit insisted Brown would be fine. James repeated he would be leaving that night.  He then clutched his chest, said he was on fire and burning up, fell back on the bed, sighed 3 times, opened his eyes and mouth wide, and died that morning, Christmas Day, at 1:21 am.  Mr. Brown died of congestive heart failure.

One cannot pack a lifetime into a 2 hour movie or even into this article.  For further info about Charles Bobbit’s 40 years with James Brown listen to my show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blakeradio/2014/07/29/topically-yours--charles-bobbitt-james-brown-mgr

Monday, June 23, 2014

Legendary Jazz Musicians Share the Stage for Jazz Forum at 35!

Jazz may have birthed out of slavery but over the years it has taken on many forms. While some say jazz is difficult to define, most agree its key component is improvisation. A music that took shape from the repetitive call and response hollers of African American slaves working on plantations to embody their blues, jazz has grown into a force to be reckoned with.  Eventually, Dixieland jazz was conceived in New Orleans, and then the swing era brought in the big bands, although later bebop shifted the music back to small groups.  Cords and rhythms changed offering freedom of composition as various harmonies and rhythms developed that defined the altering styles that denote jazz as a truly American creative art form defying boundaries.

On Saturday, June 28th at 8:00 pm nearly 30 jazz greats will come together to offer one of the greatest tributes to jazz experienced on a single stage.  Trumpeter, Executive Director and Jazz Forum Founder, Mark Morganelli, is bringing together jazz alumni to honor the Jazz Forum he established on June 29, 1979 in the East Village in Manhattan. This collection of renowned jazz musicians consisting of artists the likes of Lee Konitz, Larry Willis, Michele Rosewoman, John Burr, Marion Cowings, Charli Persip, T.S. Monk, Candido, David Amram, Bobby Sanabria, Wallace Roney, Steve Turre, Ronnie Cuber, Valery Ponomarev and Bob Mover, to name a few, will celebrate the 35th anniversary of Jazz Forum via Jazz Forum at 35! as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival held at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, located at 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square in Manhattan.

“When I established the Jazz Forum back in 1979, which is almost 35 years to the date of the June 28th show, it was to create opportunities for musicians who at the time weren’t playing many gigs in more established clubs like the Village Vanguard, Fat Tuesday’s or Sweet Basil which were booking the likes of Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and major artists like that.  When I first opened, I started off with trumpeter Dizzy Reece the first weekend and booked Clifford Jordan the second week.  Before long I had jazz going 7 nights a week, a Sunday Singer’s Brunch and even had Barry Harris conducting a jazz workshop at the loft that contained the Jazz Forum for 3 years before we moved to a bigger loft on Bleecker Street.,” recalled Mark who later established Jazz Forum Arts.

The monies from the show will help benefit Morganelli 33 free concerts in 6 venues on Wednesday evenings in Dobbs Ferry and a show in Tarrytown on a 67 acre site for 8 Thursday evenings in July and August.  He does a musical series at Pierson Park on Fridays in August, as well as shows in White Plains, Greenwich, CT and at John Jay College in NYC.  Interested parties can find out more about these show by visiting www.jazzforumarts.org

"I am delighted to participate in the Jazz Forum at 35! event," said T.S. Monk.  "You know financially a career in show business does not leave individuals, especially jazz professionals much to lean on because they are farther down on the financial ladder.  There is a misconception that fame comes with great wealth.  This is show business.  People see the show but they do not see the business.  The business is tough and will continue to be tough.  On the positive side, Mark through the Jazz Forum, has been a launch pad for so many great artists with many wonderful evenings at the loft.  There were so many great events at the Jazz Forum it is difficult to isolate on particular evening.  There is a great deal of room for so many wonderful memories," stated the famed drummer/vocalist/composer.

A child of the 1960s, T.S. Monk was a young jazz musician of the 1970s.  As jazz clubs diminished in numbers there was no place for jazz musicians to work.  "We played the boogaloo gigs which were basically R&B gigs. It was the infusion of the young jazz musicians that created the classic era that culminated with bands like Earth Wind and Fire.  The music expanded exponentially as the result of Herbie Hancock bringing the electric piano to the music, the likes of Wes Montgomery bringing a whole new kind of rhythm sound and by the harmonic innovations created by the likes of my father, Thelonious Monk.  The most influential period of jazz on American music actually came during that period some believe was the dead period for jazz," continued Monk who started his career as an R&B artist during the period that jazz artists found work in jazz scarce.  T.S. Monk's most recent recording is entitled Verbiest and Monk, Father and Son.

Tickets for Jazz Forum at 35! on Saturday, June 28th can be purchased at the NYU Skirball Center Shagan Box Office by calling 866-811-4111.  For additional information on Jazz Forum Arts call 888-99-BEBOP or visit www,jazzforumarts.org

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