– All-Stars hail from Corona, Hollis Hills Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Rego Park, and Bethpage, Long Island –
While New Orleans may be known as the “birthplace of jazz,” Queens can proudly claim that it has been home to countless jazz legends, like Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong.
For 40 years, Flushing Town Hall has celebrated jazz’s history, founded the Queens Jazz Orchestra, published a Queens Jazz Trail map, presented some of the most popular jazz events in the region starring NEA Jazz Masters (many appearing on stage for the first time together, exclusively), and held monthly Jazz Jams where novice and experienced artists come to jam together.
Now the landmark arts and cultural venue is about to embark on a new chapter of jazz history, presenting its first-ever Jazz Jam All-Stars event on Sunday, August 4, when 10 musicians – from Queens and Long Island – will take the stage together. And then all will assemble on the steps of Flushing Town Hall for a portrait echoing the famed black-and-white image, “A Great Day in Harlem,” that featured 57 jazz musicians. The event will help raise funds to keep the monthly Jazz Jams free to musicians.
“I’m so thrilled for all of the All-Stars!,” says Gabrielle M. Hamilton, Flushing Town Hall’s Director of Education and Public Programs. “When Flushing Town Hall first launched our monthly Jazz Jams eight years ago, a small group of amateur and professional musicians and fans gathered. Over time these wonderful artists have developed their artistic skills and formed professional alliances, even as our artists and audience members have grown and bonded. Now our jams feature amazing performances from all of our artists and a strong sense of community and fellowship. The All-Stars concert is a fundraiser in celebration of their talent and our Flushing Town Hall Jazz Jam ‘family’ and I invite all music lovers – from Queens and beyond – to join us in this communal musical spectacular!”
The 10 musicians all have been among the hundreds this year who’ve been part of Flushing Town Hall’s Monthly Jazz Jam: Celebrating the Legacy of Louis Armstrong, held the first Wednesday evening every month by accomplished jazz musician Carol Sudhalter of Astoria. Sudhalter has watched the monthly sessions double in attendance since she stepped in in 2016.
“This concert is a landmark event in the history of jazz in Queens. No one should miss this presentation of some of our most promising artists,” said Sudhalter, who will emcee the August 4 concert.
Sudhalter, who teaches jazz improvisation, flute, sax, clarinet and piano, and masterclasses in jazz and in “English Diction for Singers” throughout the United States and in Italy, has pioneered several jazz series in Queens.
The concert will feature some of the music of Louis Armstrong and close with a group jam. The event will begin with a reception at 6:00 PM, followed by a concert at 7:30 PM. Starring in the show are:
- Sharif Kales (trumpet) of Flushing
- Sarah Turkiew (baritone saxophone) of Bethpage, Long Island
- Keith Jordan (guitar) of Hollis Hills
- Iga Flyree Mrozek (vocals) of Jackson Heights
- Frank Robinson (vocals) of Jamaica
- Gary Davis (vocals) of East Elmhurst
- Jose Luis Armengot (trumpet) of Rego Park
- Victor Acosta (alto saxophone) of Kew Gardens
- Glen Lowe (drums) of Corona
- Mamoru Tashiro (guitar) of Astoria
Accompanying the Jazz Jam All-Stars – and joined by Sudhalter – are house band members Joe Vincent Tranchina, Eric Lemon, and Scott Neumann.
Performance tickets are $20, $15 for Members and free to students and teenagers (between 13 and 19 years old). Tickets can be purchased at www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.
Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train, and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd. in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available.