Harlem Is... Music - The Spirit of Community Honoring Jazz Icon Olu Dara


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New York, NY (February 2008) - On Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 7 pm, Community Works, a leading city-wide non-profit arts organization, will present a special invitation-only gala inaugurating the newest exhibition of its harlem is...MUSIC series. Entitled The Spirit of Community, this newest display of Harlem musical excellence honors jazz icon Olu Dara, along with the late master jazz percussionist Max Roach, and the legendary Harlem nightclubs The Cotton Club, Lenox Lounge, Minton's Playhouse, St. Nick's Pub and Showman's. Harlem's prestigious Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street) provides an apt setting for the gala's performing artists: Olu Dara and his Band, The Jitterbug Kids and the Cotton Club Dancers, and 2008 Best Song Oscar nominee IMPACT Repertory Theatre.

Olu Dara, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and lyricist, combines his Mississippi blues roots with African rhythms and jazz, giving his 4-piece Natchezsippi Dance Band a unique distinction. Most often heard on coronet and trumpet, Dara began singing at age 40. He reflects, “...when I started singing in my band it brought everything into perspective as far as my music was concerned." Dara's musical “From Natchez to New York," aired on National Public Radio and was performed live with choreographer Diane McIntyre at the Smithsonian Institute. “Bridging the Gap," is a video release by Dara and his son Nas, a critically acclaimed rapper, it combines hip hop with Dara's special blend.

The recent passing of percussionist extraordinaire Max Roach will be honored in the exhibition with a reprise of his segment of Community Works' harlem is...It's People, their 2003 exhibition.

Community Works will host a PRESS pre-reception at 6 pm at the Schomburg Center, for exhibition viewing and to introduce the honorees and youth who are part of the oral history project. harlem is...Music, which debuted in 2006, engages youngsters from 10 partner public schools in Harlem research and documentation. Their work contributes to a signature public art exhibition that commemorates the rich history, culture and individuals of this world-renowned community. An expansion of the multi-layered exhibition will be on display for a 2-month period at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, before making a city-wide tour.

About Community Works: Founded by Barbara Horowitz, Community Works is a leading arts-education organization founded in 1990, with the mission to build bridges between diverse cultures and neighborhoods by using the arts as a tool for social and personal change, and sharing community stories that connect us all. The organization currently serves over 300,000 people throughout NYC each year through acclaimed performances, workshops and exhibitions.

For further information on harlem is... MUSIC, to arrange interviews, or obtain photographs,

Contact Community Works/Shaun Rasmussen at 212-459-1854.

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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