On Saturday, February 3, the Southampton Arts Center will host the Keeping Live Jazz Alive benefit concert, a two-hour performance plus a meet-and-greet, with catered food from Sag Harbor’s Bay Burger and Southampton’s Union Cantina, and a special mystery guest. The event will be hosted by DJs Ed German and Brian Cosgrove of Long Island NPR station WPPB 88.3 FM and will feature a number of world-class musicians.
Keeping Live Jazz Alive is a collaborative project and is affiliated with both Keyed Up! and the Jazz Foundation of America, which provides aid for musicians in need. The foundation assists struggling musicians by offering pro bono medical insurance, housing, and emergency financial assistance. Keyed Up!, which partners with 25 music venues between New Jersey and eastern Long Island, bridges the financial gap between venues and talent, allowing musicians to receive a livable wage for their work. Musicians who have received assistance from Keyed Up! and the Jazz Foundation of America will be featured at the February benefit concert.
Complementary to the benefit concert, both Southampton Arts Center and Bay Burger are hosting an ongoing Jam Session series, co-founded by percussionist Claes Brondal. Mr. Brondal, who emigrated from Copenhagen in 1998, has lived on eastern Long Island since 2001, where, in addition to playing his own music, he teaches drums and percussion in Sag Harbor. Mr. Brondal has played drums for more than 30 years and views diversity in music and in culture as his personal mission—in addition to offering access to the community he calls home. “Our aim and vision,” Mr. Brondal said of the Jam Session, “is to produce as many high-quality, low-cost live jazz and Latin performances in our community as possible.”
Jam Session performances occur monthly at the Southampton Arts Center and weekly at Bay Burger. The Jam Session’s mission statement identifies it as a forum “to promote live progressive music,” “to create a consistent venue providing live, quality music,” “to provide a venue for up-and-coming professional musicians,” “to provide a place where musicians can network” and “to provide a place in the community where people of all ages and demographics can enjoy eclectic live music for free or low-cost.”
“The benefit is something that has been in the making for quite a while,” Mr. Brondal said. The goal—of both the benefit and the Jam Session—is to “make [jazz music] accessible to kids of all ages for cheap or free.” The monthly jazz concerts are a celebration of the marriage between Afro-Cuban and jazz music. “We try to showcase and celebrate many different styles of music, but all related to jazz: Afro-Brazilian, music from Mali, 1970s and 1980s fusion-funk … there’s so many sub-genres and styles of music that people will call jazz. It’s such a broad term that it’s not fair to brand everything as ‘jazz.’” Jam sessions are recorded live-to-tape for broadcast on WPPB 88.3 FM on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and the Keeping Live Jazz Alive benefit performance will be broadcast as well.
The next Jam Session performance will take place at Bay Burger on Thursday, February 1, at 7 p.m. and will feature the Bop Noir Band with Bob Hovey and friends. Subsequent Jam Session performances will be held weekly on Thursdays at Bay Burger from 7 to 9 p.m. These performances, with a rotating cast of local musicians, are free. “It’s really difficult to produce a high-quality concert on a regular basis for a low cost,” Mr. Brondal said. The Keeping Live Jazz Alive benefit concert will subsidize these efforts.
Of the benefit concert, Mr. Brondal said, “It’s a way of trying to get some attention to this style of music and these musicians. There is great, quality, world-class jazz in our community. Jazz is alive. It’s not dead. It’s right in our backyard.”
Tickets for the Keeping Live Jazz Alive benefit concert on Saturday, February 3 are $40 and can be purchased at southamptonartscenter.org. Attendees are urged to purchase tickets in advance, as they may not be available at the door. The benefit begins at 6 p.m. with a meet-and-greet; the performance will kick off at 7 p.m.
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