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2012's Jazz In The Arts feature Violinist Jairus Daigle. (Special to the American Press)

2012's Jazz In The Arts feature Violinist Jairus Daigle. (Special to the American Press)

Jazz in the Arts to preform on Sunday

Last Modified: Friday, September 13, 2013 12:09 PM

By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

A jazz jam session infused with some history and art will be presented Sunday at Jazz in the Arts, a performance designed to raise the profile of the jazz genre in the area.

The event will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday in the Central School Arts and Humanities Center.

The Jazz in the Arts Foundation puts on four shows a year and gives an annual scholarship to help students advance their studies.

“The mission statement is to bring awareness to jazz music in this area and to the musicians,” said founder Chester Daigle.

“Once every three months we give a concert and feature local or semi-local jazz artists. We try to get painters in, dancers, spoken word, whatever, mix it all up and put it up for the public to check it out. We also have an educational area where we do a workshop every year for junior high and high school students.”

Daigle said learning to play jazz sparks creativity and can improve work and study habits.

“Jazz is unlike any other music because of the self-expression you need to make it work,” he said.

“In classical music you read it and interpret it, your goal is to interpret it as close as possible, which takes a lot of work. Jazz music is expression. The written music is just a place to start. The self-expression makes up most of the performance. To express yourself, you have to learn your craft at the highest level you can. You have to learn your notes, scales, all the foundation of music, you have to learn that. When you are playing jazz and improvising, you don’t have time to think about what you are going to do. It has to be there. You have to practice. Involving those skills, it helps the child beyond the music. The same skills you have to develop to play jazz, you have to have to be successful in general, like good study habits.”

This edition of the series will help provide a history lesson, with music from the Civil Rights Movement being featured.

“When I started to do research into the movement, I noticed that Rev. Martin Luther King, Ralph Abernathy and Andrew Young all used certain songs to inspire,” said Foundation member Darol King.

“All of the songs were jazz-oriented, such as ‘Strange Fruit’ by Billie Holiday, ‘Keep on Pushing’ by Curtis Mayfield, instrumental songs by John Coltrane and other artists that sprang to life when I did the research. It was the lyrics that really inspired me, and the music secondly. I questioned how that music was able to cut through at that time when you had Motown that was so popular, and Elvis and the Beatles and all that. It is because of the jazz music that backed it all.”

The event will feature a variety of performers.

“It is going to be an awesome time of jazz music, and inspiring and educational,” King said.

“You can sit down and relax and listen to these prolific musicians. There will be spoken word, poems from Langston Hughes and Lorraine Hansberry, people of strong influence at those times. It brings back memories for those that lived through the movement, but also an opportunity for the younger set to hear and learn the music of that time.”

Tickets are $10 for the event, which will be held in the Central School Theater. For more information, call 439-2787 or visit www.jazzinthearts.com.

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