John Mayer Trio, Jon Batiste & More to Perform at Jazz Foundation's 'A Great Night in Harlem'
The organization also announces launch of $1 million emergency relief fund campaign after flooding in southern Louisiana.
The Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) announced on Tuesday (Oct. 4) a campaign to raise $1 million in relief funds for musicians needing assistance in the wake of the devastating floods in southern Louisiana. In addition, the JFA will host its 15th annual “A Great Night in Harlem” gala benefit on Oct. 27 at New York’s Apollo Theater. Among the performers paying tribute to gala honoree Dr. John will be the John Mayer Trio and Jon Batiste.
The flooding damaged more than 60,000 homes and displaced 20,000 people. lJFA executive director Wendy Oxenhorn notes that affected musicians’ immediate needs over the next six months fall into three major categories: paying mortgages, replacing instruments and decontaminating homes. “It's hard enough to be a musician in these times when everyone listens to music alone, on a device, and live music is always fighting to keep its head above water,” she explains. “But when you have a disaster such as this, just like with Katrina, we can't possibly keep up with the need without raising extra funds.”
Among the musicians being helped is 91-year-old Henry Gray, a blues piano player and singer whose credits include performing with the Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf plus 58 albums including recordings for Chess Records. Because of the floods, Gray had to walk away from his beyond-repair home—which he purchased only a few years ago.
There’s also Kevin Harris, tenor saxophonist with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year. The floods hit two days before his intended move date back to New Orleans. “The JFA has done a good bit for not only me but for so many other musicians, making it possible for us to continue to do what we need to do,” says the 61-year-old.
Toward that end, the JFA is once again presenting its annual benefit gala “A Great Night in Harlem.” In addition to the aforementioned John Mayer Trio (featuring Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan) and Batiste, among other performers paying tribute to New Orleans icon Dr. John will be McCoy Tyner, Robert Cray, Bruce Willis and Robert Randolph. Jordan will also double as musical director. The evening will be hosted by Joe Morton (Scandal) with emcee/fellow actor Danny Glover. Gala proceeds will support JFA’s ongoing programs and initiatives.
Tickets and more information are available at JazzFoundation.org/Apollo2016. Additional details about how to support the foundation’s $1 million emergency relief effort can be found at JazzFoundation.org/donate.