All that Jazz (Houston International Jazz Festival)
The Houston International
Jazz Festival is one of the very few jazz festivals held in the United
States that focuses on primarily international jazz artists. Nearing its
20th anniversary, the Festival is held during Houston’s “August Jazz Month”
and takes place over the course of three days in early August. The event
calls downtown Houston’s Jones Plaza home and takes the stage at outdoor
and indoor venues around the district. Tito Puente Jr., Hiroshima, Arturo
Sandoval and Poncho Sanchez are a sampling of some of the world-wide flavor
that has been featured at the Houston International Jazz Festival.
Summer jazz workshops are also slated during the Houston International Jazz Festival and on the last day, a mayor’s scholarship jazz brunch takes place. The Summer Jazz Workshop is an intensive 5-week youth oriented program which focuses on the fundamentals of music and its associated business aspects. SJW's instructional program is open to middle school, high school and college students. Students are involved in a combination of master-classes, lectures, small & large ensembles, field trips and more. Tutored by seasoned faculty musicians, students are exposed to various subjects and concepts not fully covered by private and/or public school systems; including theory & composition, improvisation, leadership, public speaking, public performances and career management. To cap off the workshop, participating students have the opportunity to perform at the Houston International Jazz Festival. This program has trained over 8,000 teenage musicians in its 30 year history and many have gone on to become successful Jazz recording artist, politicians, teachers, lawyers and well-rounded, productive members of the community. Aspiring young musicians, along with those who just have a love for music and want to learn how to play an instrument, will benefit from the Houston International Jazz Festival. Proceeds from the festival, which runs Friday and Saturday, will benefit Jazz Education, Inc., an organization founded by Bubbha Thomas. Other events include performances by jazz education students at Discovery Green on Saturday. City leaders encouraged all Houstonians to buy a concert ticket or a ticket to the Sunday brunch. It's a chance to hear some great music and benefit students.
"I think this gives the city a new reputation and paints a new picture for us. We don't want to compete with New Orleans, but we also want to say we have a great musical culture right here in our great city," said City Councilman Jarvis Johnson, who is serving as chairman of the Jazz Festival.
Some of this year’s festival stars are Rachelle Ferrell (began singing at the age of six, which contributed to the "development of her startling almost five-octave range, received classical training on violin and piano, in Berklee College of Music in Boston she honed her musical abilities in arrangement, singing and songwriting; from 1975-90 Ferrell sang backup for Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Williams, and George Duke, her debut, First Instrument, was released in 1990 in Japan, five years prior to its U.S. release.), Grupo Niche (a salsa group founded in 1978 in Bogotá, Colombia, currently based in Cali, Colombia, enjoying great popularity throughout Latin America, known for both its vigorous, uptempo dance music as well as slower-paced romantic numbers) and Hiroshima (from it’s inception in 1980, the group has assumed the artistic mission of bridging cultural divides through the power of music, they borrowed from numerous cultures - Asian, Latin American, African American and more - and merged these influences into a unique and innovative whole that is solely their own; on May 22, 2007 group released Little Tokyo, their fourth album on Heads Up International).
Kicking off a month-long, city-wide jazz program, it features the very best in original and classic jazz, performed by popular local and national entertainers. The two days in the park is a family affair with music, arts & crafts, and food and beverages. Houston International Jazz Festival strives to continue its mission to preserve and share this great American music with fans around the world. You will be moving to the music and having a great time within minutes of arrival. Come on out and celebrate the birth of jazz with the rest of Houston! At Discovery Green.