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NEA grants fund Northern California jazz and blues projects

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The National Endowment for the Arts has announced its 2014 Art Works grants awards and, I am happy to say, the recipients include a number of jazz- and blues-rooted Northern California projects. Full disclosure: I collaborated with Healdsburg Jazz Festival artistic director Jessica Felix and bluesman Charlie Musselwhite to write that organization’s winning proposal.
Here is a rundown of the regional jazz and blues projects the NEA is funding.

Healdsburg Jazz Festival ($20,000)
To support the Blues at the Roots themed 2014 Healdsburg Jazz Festival. The two-day annual event will showcase blues harmonica player and bandleader Charlie Musselwhite to inform audiences about the history of the blues and its impact on jazz and Afro-Caribbean music. Other committed artists include Joshua Redman, Orestes Vilato, Perico Hernandez, and John Santos.

Berkeley Society for the Preservation of Traditional Music, a.k.a. Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse ($10,000)
To support the Genre Bending Innovators series. Concerts and workshops at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse will feature local and touring musicians seeking to create cutting-edge new forms within traditional genres such as bluegrass, blues, jazz, klezmer, and old time. Past performers who are expected to return to the series include mandolinist Mike Marshall, jazz clarinetist Don Byron, and composer/vocalist Amy X. Neuburg & the Cello ChiXtet.

Living Jazz ($10,000)
To support In the Name of Love, a musical tribute honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bassist and composer Marcus Shelby will be commissioned to create a new suite of songs to premiere at the 13th annual event at which he and his Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra will perform along with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and others. The Oakland Children's Community Choir also will participate in the concert.

Monterey Jazz Festival ($37,500)
To support the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival. Highlighted performers at the 57th annual festival will be the artist-in-residence and the annually selected Commission and Showcase Artists. Musicians under consideration include Anat Cohen, Robert Glasper, Vijay Iyer, Guillermo Klein, Charles Lloyd, and Brad Mehldau.

San Francisco Jazz Organization, a.k.a SFJAZZ ($45,000)
To support the SFJAZZ Collective's 10th anniversary retrospective tour and outreach. During its 2014 tour, the ensemble will present a retrospective of original works by Collective members and reinterpretations of jazz masterworks. Other project components include school concerts, residencies, workshops, and master classes for young musicians. Project activities also will consist of open rehearsals and pre- and post-concert talks.

Jazz at Lincoln Center ($60,000)
To support concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center during the 2013-14 season. NEA Jazz Master Dave Brubeck will be honored in two concerts. A three-concert Jazz and Popular Song Series, curated by Music Director Michael Feinstein, will explore the music of George Gershwin and Cole Porter as well as Legends of the Jazz Age. In addition, two concerts within the the Roots of Americana series, curated by Bill Frisell, will focus on the beginnings of American music.

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