Jazzmobile's mission is to present, preserve, promote and propagate America's classical music, Jazz.

Founded in 1964 by National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, pianist, Dr. Billy Taylor and philanthropist and arts administrator, Ms. Daphne Anstein, Jazzmobile is the first U.S. not-for-profit arts and cultural organization created just for Jazz. Since the beginning, we have been bringing high quality Jazz performances and education programs to area residents, tourists and other visitors, reaching over 4,000,000 people living or visiting New York City. Our national programs brought us to other cities in the US; and the 'Super Jazz Band' had us touring cities in Europe and Japan.

Whether on the street, in a park or at a major concert hall here or abroad, Jazzmobile works in partnership with like-minded organizations to present high quality Jazz performances that enrich the culture and imbue new life into the surrounding area.

Our workshops, master classes, lecture demonstrations, and arts enrichment programs train the next generation of Jazz vocalists and musicians; while also exposing youth to this vibrant art form. For jazz aficionados and other enthusiasts, our panel discussions increase the knowledge of our many adult followers. Our primary aim is to reach out to communities where Jazz was nurtured and new forms born.

We are very proud of being an inspiration to other organizations such as The Manchester Craftsman's Guild and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Robin Bell-Stevens
Director
Executive Producer

Sabrina Eady
Grant Writer

Gwen Gulliame
Production Stage Manger

Donna Long
Treasurer

Eddie Moncion
Production Assistant

Simon Nathan
Audio Productions

Audio

Ron Scott
Jazz Journalist

Co-Producer
Writer

Whitney Slaten
Slaten LLP

Audio Engineer

Linda Walton
Marketing Consultant

Robert Galinsky
Social Media

Madisyn Consulting Services, Inc.
Web Presence

Tim Greenfield, MBA
Chairman & Secretary

Donna Long
Treasurer

Robin Bell-Stevens
Director

Dr. Michael Jones
Director

Founder & Co-Founders
Dr. Billy Taylor
NEA Jazz Master
1921-2010
Founder
Chairman Emeritus

Ms. Daphne Arnstein
Patron of the Arts
1911-1990
Co-Founder

Mr. Jimmy Heath
NEA Jazz Master
Program Co-Founder

Kim Taylor-Thompson, Esq.
Chair Advisory Board

Camille Akeju
Retired Arts Administrator

Keith Danish, Esq.

John Dokes
Global Marketing Executive

Henry Goldstein
Fundraising Counsel

Darrell Gay, Esq.

Jill Mainelli
Retired Parks & Recreation Executive

Linda Manley, Esq.

John 'Butch' Purcell
Community Liaison

Among Jazzmobile's numerous awards and special citations are:

  • 2016 Congressional Black Caucus | Congressman John Conyers's JAZZ LEGACY AWARD
  • National Jazz Museum in Harlem & Great Harlem Chamber of Commerce 'Award for Excellence'
  • The Conspicuous Service Award (New York State Council on the Arts)
  • The Encore Awards (New York City Arts and Business Council)
  • New York City Service Award (Mayor Koch)
  • Community Service Award (CitiBank)
  • Mayor's Very Special Arts Award (Mayor Dinkins)
  • 'Jazzmobile Salutes Richard Rogers Day' (Mayor Bloomberg)

Jazzmobile has reached national and international audiences, touring locally, regionally, across the United States, Europe, Asia and Canada, and performing at such events as:

  • Created Jazzmobile's and Central Park Conservancy's Annual 'Great Jazz on the Great Hill'

  • New York City's longest continuous Jazz Festival : SUMMERFEST | Over 50 Years--
    We commissioned Wycliffe Gordon to create new music to the silent film 'Within Our Gates' by African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. It was premiered with a live orchestra in August 2011 at Columbia University's Miller Theatre and we presented it again in 2013 at Symphony Space where it was recorded. On April 1, 2016 - Gordon released his long awaited soundtrack Within These Gates of Mine.

  • The first JAZZ performance at Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors--
    Under the direction of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Leonard de Paur, the creator of Lincoln Center Out of Doors, we presented its 1st Jazz program in 1964.

  • The Winnipeg Art Gallery Program

  • 1980 Winter Olympic Games, Lake Placid--
    NEA Jazz master (saxophone) Frank Foster (1928-2011) was commissioned to compose 'Lake Placid Suite' which was premiered during the Olympic games. It was later broadcasted via live satellite on Billy Taylor's NPR 'Jazz Alive,' with a performance by the 23 piece Jazzmobile All-Star Orchestra.

  • Silver Bridge Concert celebrating Sister Cities New York and Tokyo--
    A once in a lifetime celebration performance at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.

  • 'Super Jazz Band' International and National Tour produced by Jazzmobile

Our concerts featuring acclaimed performers make musical magic, bringing Jazz to the streets and schools, parks and performance halls. Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Sarah Vaughan are some of the legends who have performed with Jazzmobile, as have:

  • Geri Allen
  • Monty Alexander
  • Jonathan Batiste
  • *Aaron Bell
  • Khalil Kwame Bell
  • George Benson
  • T.K. Blue
  • Will Calhoun
  • Lou Donaldson
  • *Duke Ellington
  • Queen Esther
  • *Ella Fitzgerald
  • Tia Fuller
  • George Gee Orchestra
  • *Dizzy Gillespie
  • Ghanniyya Green
  • Wycliffe Gordon
  • Harlem Renaissance Orchestra
  • *Lionel Hampton
  • Winard Harper
  • Allan Harris
  • Barry Harris
  • Lafayette Harris
  • Antonio Hart
  • Jimmy Heath
  • Solomon Hicks
  • Patience Higgins
  • Jay Hoggard
  • Cynthia Holiday
  • *BB King
  • Ray Mantilla
  • Branford Marsalis
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • *Carmen McRae
  • Thelonius S. Monk, Jr.
  • T.S. Monk, III
  • Antoinette Montague
  • *Gerry Mulligan
  • Arturo O'Farril
  • Jeb Patton
  • Jeremy Pelt
  • Houston Person
  • Gregory Porter
  • *Tito Puente
  • *Max Roach
  • Vanessa Rubin
  • Bobby Sanabria
  • Christian Sands
  • Cynthia Scott
  • Jay Stark
  • Rick Stone
  • *Billy Taylor
  • Brianna Thomas
  • Camille Thurman
  • Akiko Tsugura
  • *Sarah Vaughan
  • Charenee Wade
  • Lynette Washington
  • George Wein
  • Paul West
  • Randy Weston
  • Chris White
  • Nancy Wilson
  • Kiani Zawadi
  • James Zollar
  • *Deceased

Jazzmobile's multifaceted Jazz programming is the vehicle employed to support our mission while joining other arts organizations that are also affecting a positive economic impact on the communities we serve.

For over 50 years, we have brought Jazzmobile performance programs featuring acclaimed and emerging artists to neighborhood streets, parks, and community and senior centers in all five boroughs of New York City as well as local Harlem venues.

Are you a professional Jazz musician looking to take it to the next level? Do you enjoy singing or performing Jazz just for fun? Or are you seeking instruction for your child or school classes? Are you a lifelong student of Jazz and want to know the historical influence and the latest trends in today's Jazz music? Jazzmobile offers a variety of Jazz education programs for professional artists, New York City public school students and Jazz enthusiasts. Here, those who teach also do: many of our most popular Jazz performers also serve as our instructors.

Jazzmobile's core programs have become the model that others emulate across the United States.

One of our most popular annual events during SUMMERFEST is 'Great Jazz on the Great Hill' in beautiful Central Park. Each year, in partnership with the Central Park Conservancy we turn Central Park's Great Hill into a huge jazz 'Hall' complete with a wooden dance floor!

A Brief History
Created by Jazzmobile nearly 25 years ago, the first Great Jazz on the Great Hill concert was in tribute to the legendary Charlie Parker, also known as Byrd. Johnnie Garry, Jazzmobile's Production Coordinator for 30 years until 2012, wanted to celebrate the birth of his good friend a true legend who died way too young.

For two years Jazzmobile presented GJGH. The festival later switched to the hands of the Charlie Parker Foundation. They moved this celebration of 'Byrd' downtown. After several years of producing the festival with the CPF, Johnnie suggested they add a second day with a concert at Marcus Garvey Park.

After being dormant for 14 years, Robin Bell-Stevens and John Reddick (Assistant Vice President, Central Park Conservancy) met and together worked to bring back Great Jazz on the Great Hill. And on August 5, 2017 the 10th anniversary of GJGH will be presented.

Today
Over 5,500 men, women and children from neighborhoods near, far and wide converge on the Great Hill with family and friends for a 3 hour festival of great jazz! Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and a cooler for a true "New York City moment." The audience comes with their picnic basket or they enjoy the delicious options from mobile food vendors while enjoying 'A List' swing bands, vocalists, Latin, and blues bands. Many take to the special dance floor right next to the stage. For children and their families, there is always a special activity that is showcased during the festival!

Do you think you're the best Jazz singer in New York City? In 2004, Jazzmobile, Inc. was invited by (jazz singer) Cynthia Holiday to launch the " Best of the Best" Jazz Vocal Competition with the generous support of Anheuser-Busch Companies.

Contestants vie for the top spot in front of judges and a live audience. Winners are selected by a panel of industry professionals, including singers, producers, and radio personalities. Many of the winners and finalists have acknowledged Jazzmobile for launching their careers. Our list of competitors and winners are performing locally, nationally and internationally, singers such as the first winner, in 2004 French jazz vocalist Elisabeth Kontomanou. Other 1st place winners and top scorers have included:

Gregory Porter
Charenee Wade
Queen Esther
Lynette Washington
Brianna Thomas
Emily Braden
Alexis Cole

The Jazzmobile Vocal Competition is scheduled to return in 2017.

For 5 years Jazzmobile partnered or collaborated with The Apollo Theater Foundation, Harlem Stage | Gate House and Columbia University to present the HARLEM JAZZ SHRINES FESTIVAL. When it debuted May, 2011, JAZZ SHRINES became "The Apple's" latest entry into the annals of what makes New York the epicenter of the jazz global.

This 7-day festival celebrated the classic clubs and venues that made Harlem USA the jazz mecca - beginning in the 1920's. The festival serves to reimagine clubs such as Minton's Playhouse, Lenox lounge, the Savoy Ballroom, and The Palace. While it's a nostalgic look back at the greatness of the past, this festival's pulse is the present, showcasing an array of today's top and emerging talent and showing that what's happening right now in Harlem really is where it's at!

Today Jazzmobile also applauds todays Harlem Shrines including others that are emerging in Harlem every year 'such as Showman's, Minton's Restaurant, Ginny's Supper Club, Sapphire, Paris Blues and the list keeps growing! Plans are underway for a festival celebrating the jazz shrines of Harlem, 2017!

Think of Jazzmobile and you probably think of our free Summerfest mobile Jazz concerts, attended by tens of thousands of people annually from the New York Metropolitan area, tourists and other visitors. Together with our partners' neighborhood associations and the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Jazzmobile has brought top talent to under-served communities where many residents cannot afford to purchase tickets to the clubs and concert halls downtown. In addition to our neighborhood Jazz concerts our performances are held in large outdoor venues, such as Brooklyn Bridge Park, Grant's Tomb, Marcus Garvey Park and Central Park, drawing audiences from other boroughs and communities outside New York City.

Summerfest 2017 kicks off on July 5th and comes to a close on August 30th at Grants Tomb on Riverside Drive and West 122nd Street. Watch for summer season announcement in April 2017during National Jazz Appreciation Month!

'The Subject is Jazz' began as a televised Jazz music appreciation program created by Jazzmobile Co-Founder, Dr. Billy Taylor in the mid-1950s. Little did he know that about10 years later it would become the genesis for one of Jazzmobile's core Jazz programs, 'Lecture Demonstrations: Jazz in the First Person.'

In 1968, Dr. Billy Taylor developed a jazz appreciation curriculum to expose New York City elementary, junior high, and high school students to Jazz as an art form. School music programs come and go and often ignore Jazz. As funding allows, talented Jazzmobile performers descend on schools across the city, conducting free, 45 to 60 minute musical and oral Jazz presentations that include:

  • the history and evolution of Jazz
  • an introduction to the instruments; and the creators of the music: the composers and musicians
  • a question and answer session with students and their teachers
  • o an interactive live performance by jazz greats including legends and masters enabling the students to also participate with what they learned.

Part of our education programs: 'The Subject is Jazz,' Jazzmobile's Saturday Jazz Workshops were started in 1969. The sessions brought aspiring artists together with Jazz masters like Dr. Billy Taylor and Cecil Bridgewater and other talented performers in a supportive learning environment. It has been located and various New York City Public schools including the Wadleigh Secondary (High) School for Visual and Performing Arts in Central Harlem. SJW has attracted more than 8,000 students of all ages since it began. Many of our graduates have gone on to successful musical careers. The program attracts a diverse student population from the five-boroughs of New York City, nearby New Jersey, Southern Connecticut, Long Island, and Westchester County.

Students develop their technical and performing skills in:

  • harmony and theory
  • reading proficiency
  • composition
  • instrument technique development
  • ensemble and improvisational playing

In FY 2016-2017 SJW is focusing on young emerging jazz students still in school.

Jazzmobile's Symposia and panel discussions is one of our The Subject is Jazz education programs. This program brings together some of the brightest minds in Jazz music, from acclaimed artists to academics to critics; exploring historic and emerging issues in Jazz culture. Held in partnership with esteemed institutions, our seminars and panel discussions offer interesting takes on issues surrounding the music. Here is a sampling of previous programs:

  • Anatomy of a Tune - Be-bop Style
  • Barry Harris Workshop
  • Cannonball Adderley - His Life & Music
  • Charlie Parker - Genius - His Life & Music
  • Charlie Parker: Style, Analysis, Ideas for Improvisation
  • Clave The Key: A Rhythmic Journey from Africa to the New World
  • Clifford Jordan - His Life & Music
  • Conversation with Toshiko Akyoshi, Dr. Billy Taylor, and Randy Weston
  • Cuban Music, 30 Years Later
  • Duke Ellington & The Jimmy Blanton-Ben Webster Edition
  • Duke Ellington - The Columbia Years 1950s-60s
  • Improvisation in Everyday Life
  • Jazz in the Spirit: Freedom Now
  • John Coltrane: Style, Analysis, Ideas for Improvisation
  • John Coltrane: The Way In
  • Listen Up! How to Become a Better Listener
  • Louis Armstrong: A Conversation on the Music of "Pops"
  • Miles Davis: The Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis
  • Miles Davis: Miles Davis mid 1960s Quintet & Columbia Reissues
  • Oscar Peterson - Style & Analysis
  • Re-harmonizing Melodies
  • Thelonious Monk - His Life & Music
  • Working With Dizzy Gillespie
Jazzmobile Jazz Contact

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr State Office Building
163 West 125th Street
Harlem, NY 10027

(212) 866-4900
Hotline (212) 866-3616

Jazzmobile, Incorporated is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) art and culture organization.

Jazzmobile Jazz Sponsors

Jazzmobile thanks our contributors for their generous support! Our many Individual Donors and: NYC Mayor The Honorable Bill de Blasio, NYC Council Speaker Hon. Melissa Mark -Viverito New York City Council Members Hon. Inez E. Dickens, Hon. Darlene Mealey Hon I. Daneek Miller