BY HRAYR ATTARIAN
The idea of a bus tour that takes patrons to six venues hosting live jazz over the course of an evening is both inventive and intriguing. Putting together the said excursion to raise money for youth music programs and engaging communities in cultural events is positively admirable.
The West Suburban Jazz Bus Tour will shuttle ticket and button holders on July 25th 2018 among T & JJ's in Maywood, Hemmingway's Bistro and Beyond Properties in Oak Park, Friendly Tap in Berwyn, Healy's Westside and Kagan & Gaines in Forest Park. These establishments will feature Chicago musicians such as D-Erania, Chris Greene, Audley Reid, Alyssa Allgood, Julie Ann Larsen among others. For the schedule please see inset below.
The non-for-profit organization behind the Jazz Bus Tour is the brain child of saxophonist D-Erania and her husband Steve Stampley. It is called Jazz Desires and its mission is stimulate and promote enthusiasm for this uniquely American art form. D-Erania told me “As an artist I couldn’t help but notice that so many young people, in particular African Americans, don’t know about one of our greatest legacies and cultural contributions that we have been a vital part of. There has been a disconnect in America”. She continued “…part of it is because our educational system has eliminated a large portion of funding of the arts. As an artist and a mother, I realized that to reestablish that connection we have to reach young minds and hearts.”
Joining the Stampleys in this worthy endeavor are CPA Janice Oda-Gray, musician Tony Cazeau and professional grant writer Cynthia Oda. All five have extensive experience in the nonprofit aspects of the music industry. This association plans to create music and art youth programs as well as bring cultural events to Chicagoland communities. In addition, Jazz Desires hopes to demonstrate the global reach and impact of jazz by inviting international musicians to join local ones in performances and workshops. In addition to the core group mentioned above the Stampleys’ son Jahari, an emerging and talented pianist, serves as a liaison to the younger generation and other area musicians and business owners help this work thrive.
D-Erania came up with the Jazz bus tour to take the music to listeners and connect the four near western suburbs through it. Both the venue owners and the public greeted the concept with excitement and there are intentions to expand it in coming years. In addition to annualization of the bus tour the Costa Rican Embassy and The Ministry of Culture has invited Jazz Desires to do workshops at the SINEM School in Costa Rica. Jazz Desires also plans a quarterly D-Erania Jazz Series that will feature international guest musicians and include free music workshops.
With its innovative design, well delineated and thoughtful agenda Jazz Desires promises to be successful both in its immediate and long-term objectives.
For more information about Jazz Desires and the bus tour please visit www.jazzdesires.org