- Please help me thank the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY High School Jazz Ensembles and their directors Justin De Chocho and Ron McCurdy (Lee-Isla Haze?)
Justin and Ron, Of course, two of our great volunteer leaders:
Justin De Chocho – the Assistant Dean of Jazz Studies at the Manhattan School of Music
Ron McCurdy – the Director of Jazz Studies at the U.S.C. Thornton School of Music
These all-star High School ensembles continue to thrive each year thanks to the best efforts of our volunteers and our GRAMMY Foundation Staff – especially David Sears, who produced a wonderful showcase for these beautiful young people last night at Catalina’s
Welcome to the Recording Academy’s first annual “Salute to Jazz” My name is Kurt Elling and I am proud to be the Academy’s national Vice Chair and your host for the evening – thank you all for coming.
This evening’s festivities are an exciting new expansion of the Academy’s long-standing commitment to the recognition and active support of great American music across all genres. I am thrilled to co-chair this event, along with my good friend and colleague, Blue Note Records President, Mr. Bruce Lundvall.
Tonight’s Salute honors two of the most beloved figures in Jazz: Mssrs Gerald Wilson and Clark Terry. In addition to the President’s Merit awards each will receive this evening, Both artists will be interviewed for the Academy’s “LIVING HISTORIES SERIES” – an ongoing effort by the Grammy Foundation to archive and preserve the historic legacies of our country’s greatest musical artists.
I speak for Bruce Lundvall and for the entire Jazz community when I thank our academy’s national chair Dan Carlin and our president, Mr. Neil Portnow for their active support of these efforts and their encouragement in the creation of tonight’s celebrations.
Here now to speak a bit about the Academy’s jazz ties and to introduce our president is our national Chair, my good friend, Mr. Dan Carlin.
- Here now to lead the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY High school Jazz Ensemble as they perform works from a lifetime of creativity – “Viva Tirado” and two movements from his “Theme for Monterey”— President’s Merit Award recipient and NEA Jazz Master, Mr. Gerald Wilson.
- The Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY High School Jazz Ensemble.
Please help me welcome now my Co-chair for this first Annual “Salute to Jazz”, Blue Note President, my good friend, Mr. Bruce Lundvall
- And now, joining the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY High School Jazz Ensemble to perform his own composition, entitled, “Sheba”, president’s Merit award recipient and NEA Jazz Master, Clark Terry.
- There is another aspect of tonight’s celebrations which are both fortuitous, historic and inspiring: More than sixty years ago, at the start of America’s involvement in WWII, black men in the Navy were usually relegated to being mess men, cooks or stewards. But from 1942 to 1945, at Great Lakes Naval Base, just north of Chicago more than 5,000 African-Americans trained together to be sent out in 25-piece bands to play at naval bases across the country. The bands helped elevate the status of black men in the navy. the musicians in them became de-facto ambassadors of de-segregation – forging the way for the civil-rights movement twenty years later with the disarming power of music. Among these double-heroes are both of tonight’s honorees.
Here, now, in a reunion performance of A Gerald Wilson original entitled “Blues for Count”, Clark Terry and Gerald Wilson.
- Thank you all for joining us this evening. On Behalf of Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY High School Jazz Ensemble, Justin De ChoCho, Ron McCurdy, David Sears, Doug Gore, Vicki Palmer, Jason and the entire Grammy Foundation