Wycliffe Gordon

Jazzmobile’s multifaceted 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 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 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 Peter Jay Sharp Children’s Glade and the 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 and after several years the festival became a two day event presented in two other NYC parks. 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 13, 2016 the 10th anniversary of GJGH will be presented.

Today
Over 5,000 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." Come with your own picnic basket or enjoy the delicious options from mobile food vendors and be prepared to enjoy the music of The Jimmy Heath Big Band, Jazz and Blues Vocalist, Alyson Williams and other special guests as we also celebrate Jimmy Heath’s 90th Birthday!

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

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 Gregory Porter, Queen Esther, Lynette Washington, Brianna Thomas, Antoinette Montague, Emily Braden, Alexis Cole, and the first winner, in 2004 French jazz singer Elisabeth Kontomanou.

The Jazzmobile Vocal Competition is scheduled to return in FY 2017.

For 5 years Jazzmobile partnered or collaborated with The Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage 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 celebrates new Shrines that are emerging in Harlem every year – such as Minton’s Restaurant, Ginny’s Supper Club, Sapphire, and Gin Fizz ..and the list keeps growing! Plans are underway for a festival celebrating the jazz shrines of Harlem, FY 2017!

Think of Jazzmobile and you probably think of our free Summerfest mobile 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 concerts our performances are held in large outdoor venues, such as Grant’s Tomb and Marcus Garvey Park and Central Park, drawing audiences from other boroughs and communities outside New York City.

Summerfest 2016 kicks off on July 6th and comes to a close on August 31st with a special indoor mini-festival, a first!

Join us for some hot Jazz on a cool night during our Jazzmobile Winterfest. Our Summerfest is so popular, we’ve been asked to bring the party indoors. Beginning in January for two months, we bring quality programming to clubs, cultural landmarks and other venues across Harlem.

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 presentations that include:

  • the history and evolution of Jazz
  • ways one can listen to and enjoy the music
  • a student discussion
  • an excellent performance by an artist the students would normally not get a chance to hear – for many it is their first time hearing a live musical performance outside of where they worship.

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 2016 SJW is focusing on young emerging jazz students still in school. It began with classes offered to middle school students, and phase two will be held this summer for ensemble students who following an audition will be selected to play in a Jazzmobile Youth Band and following master classes will perform as the opening act for Great Jazz on the Great Hill in August 2016.

Upright Bass All Levels Mickey Bass
Trumpet Intermediate Cecil Bridgewater
Trumpet Intermediate Jeremy Pelt
Vibes All Levels Warren Smith
Electric Bass All Levels Michael Fleming
Accompany Marion All Levels Sasha Perry
Percussion All Levels Roland Guerrero
Saxophone Beginners Gerald Hayes
Saxophone Intermediate Patience Higgins
Saxophone Advanced Charles Davis
Guitar Beginner Bruce Edwards
Guitar Intermediate Michael Howell
Guitar Advanced Rick Stone
Vocals Beginners Charenee Wade
Vocal Intermediate Nancy Marano
Vocal Advanced Marion Cowings
Piano Beginners Danny Mixon
Piano Intermediate Alan Palmer
Piano Adv Piano & Int. Theory Dan Kaufman
Drums All Levels Khalil Bell
Trombone All Levels Kiane Zawadi
Gateway & Strings All Levels Darnell (Jay) Starkes

Jazzmobile brings together some of the brightest minds in Jazz music, from acclaimed artists to academics to critics,to explore 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