Forget genres like indie rock, metal, and the like. Of all the misunderstood and dramatically underrepresented musical genres in South Florida, jazz may take top honors. After the closing of Arturo Sandoval’s Jazz Club in Miami a few years ago, Miami in particular has lacked a dedicated jazz venue, and most supposed “jazz” venues in Broward and Palm Beach Counties are largely devoted to bar-friendly piano fare.
For the more intricate, harder to crack stuff, though, there is a big friend in the Jazzonian, a straightforwardly named nonprofit formed in 2009 by local jazz great Bobby Ramirez. Eventually, the plan is to found a brick-and-mortar museum in the area devoted to this music. In the meantime, though, Ramirez and the organization have set about briskly boosting the genre throughout the tri-county area. To date, the Jazzonian has raised money for jazz scholarships, started a youth band, organized a piano jazz festival and a local jazz summit, and undertaken many more historical preservation projects.
Tonight and tomorrow mark a new first for the organization, with an inaugural event, this time with a tight focus: celebrating the music of saxophone-playing legend Charlie Parker. The festivities start tonight at Radio-Active Records (which, incidentally, boasts a pretty good selection of jazz on vinyl), where you’re invited to bring your favorite Parker records for listening and sharing from 7 to 9 p.m. Then, tomorrow night at ArtServe, enjoy a concert of Parker classics by some of the best saxophonists in the area: Ramirez, of course, alongside other artists like Ed Calle, Hana Dolgin, and nearly a dozen more.
Heartwarmingly, this event is presented with no government assistance — just volunteer labor and a little financial love from individuals. On top of that, your $10 suggested donation for admission goes to one of Jazzonian’s pet projects — the Jazzonian Young Jazz Leaders scholarship fund.
Head to Radio-Active tonight to kick off the mini festival, or visit the Jazzonian’s web site to learn more about the event and the organization.
The First Annual Celebrating Charlie Parker Festival. Listening party from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, August 28 at Radio-Active Records, 845 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free. Call 954-762-9488.
Celebrating Charlie Parker concert 7 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, August 29 at Artserve, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Admission costs $10 by suggested donation. Call 305-298-2380.