Jazz Returns to Weekly Network Television after 40 Years - Combining Intimate Conversations and Performances by the World's Leading Musicians
Tony Bennett, Chick Corea and Ray Barretto Taped Final Episode on January 12th Coinciding with IAJE Conference in NYC
LEGENDS OF JAZZ with Ramsey Lewis will air on American Public Television beginning this April, announced LRSmedia, the Chicago based independent music entertainment company.
The much anticipated series, the first weekly network jazz related show in 40 years, will feature intimate conversations with performances by some of the world's leading musicians. GRAMMY Award-winning composer / pianist Ramsey Lewis will host the series, which is produced in multi-camera HDTV and Dolby Surround 5.1 audio in association with WTTW, Chicago's premier public television station.
The 13-week debut season will air nationally beginning in April 2006 on public television stations across America to coincide with National Jazz Appreciation Month. Each show in the series is theme based and includes conversation and performances by today's most important jazz and jazz related musicians, including: Tony Bennett, Chick Corea, Al Jarreau, Dave Brubeck, Dr. Billy Taylor, David Sanborn, Phil Woods, Pat Metheny, Jim Hall, George Duke, Marcus Miller, Lee Ritenour, Clark Terry, Roy Hargrove, Chris Botti, Ivan Lins, Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Dave Valentin, Keb Mo, Robert Cray, Jane Monheit, John Pizzarelli, Kurt Elling, Benny Golson, Chris Potter, Joey DeFrancesco, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and many more.
This is America's art form," Mr. Lewis said. Jazz continues to provide inspiration to musicians around the globe and to influence artists in a wide range of fields. This series is a foot-tapping tour through a variety of musical formats while also providing an extraordinary look at the history of jazz, what's hot now, and the promise of a prolific future."
The final episode in the series, the NEA Jazz Masters 2006, featuring Tony Bennett, Chick Corea, and Ray Barretto, was taped before a live audience on January 12, coinciding with the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) conference in New York City. The NEA Jazz Masters 2006 gala, which took place on Friday, January 13 at IAJE, included highlights from the LEGENDS OF JAZZ series.
Guest artists who have taped appearances on LEGENDS OF JAZZ have been uniformly effusive in their praise for the new series and highly enthusiastic about the return of jazz to national television.
Dave Brubeck, who joins Dr. Billy Taylor for The Piano Masters episode, said: This is a long overdue series that combines new and established artists sharing what they have most in common - a love for this music - and discussing some of the great musicians and people who have influenced their art. I'm honored to be included."
Al Jarreau, who appears in The Jazz Singers episode with Kurt Elling, said: This is a great series because it allows the artists behind the music to tell their stories - what influenced them, who influenced them, and what they are doing today. It brings the history of this art form to life. I can't wait to see the other episodes."
Chris Botti, who teamed up with Clark Terry and Roy Hargrove in The Golden Horns episode, said, It was a true honor to appear with Clark Terry and Roy Hargrove. Their music and playing have been so influential. The opportunity to sit and talk with them and Ramsey and to perform will remain a high point for me."
Marcus Miller, who joined Lee Ritenour and George Duke in The Contemporary Jazz episode, said: There's a depth to this series that people will really appreciate. Finally there's a place to go to hear today's musicians talking about what they do and what really got them going."
Nancy Wilson, an NEA Jazz Master and multiple GRAMMY Award winner featured in the one-hour special, The Jazz Masters, states: It's nice to know that LEGENDS OF JAZZ will be out there to honor these great musicians. And it is wonderful to see it being filmed for public television, so that audiences will get to know more about the people that make the music."
Larry Rosen, co-chairman of LRSmedia with Ramsey Lewis, and the executive producer and creator of the series, said, Our goal is to bring together some of the greatest jazz artists working today and allow them to combine conversation and performances in a way that shared their art while also providing some insight into what they do and how they do it. We're hopeful that the series will excite jazz lovers while also reaching others who may have not been fully exposed to this art form because of its absence from our airwaves for decades."
For details on each episode and for more information, visit www.legendsofjazz.net.
About American Public Television
For 44 years, American Public Television (APT) has been a prime source of programming for the nation's public television stations. APT distributes more than 10,000 hours of programming including JFK: Breaking the News, Simply Ming, Globe Trekker, Rick Steves' Europe, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, Battlefield Britain, Jungle, America's Test Kitchen, Lidia's Family Table and classic movies. APT is known for identifying innovative programs and developing creative distribution techniques for producers. In four decades, it has established a tradition of providing public television stations nationwide with program choices that enable them to strengthen and customize their schedules. For more information about APT's programs and services visit APTonline.org.
About LRSmedia, LLC
LRSmedia, LLC, founded by music industry veterans Ramsey Lewis, Larry Rosen and Lee Rosenberg, develops adult-oriented music brands and products, created in multi-camera HDTV and Dolby Surround 5.1 audio. LRSmedia markets its product through a 360 experience including television, national print, nationally syndicated radio, CD and DVD products, online entertainment, news and e-commerce, live concert tours and educational and community outreach programs. By creating music brands and leveraging interrelated programming to market artists and music under the brand umbrellas, LRSmedia reaches more consumers in a more compelling manner than traditional music companies. At present, LRSmedia's brands include - Legends of Jazz," Musical Stars of the Future," and Soundstage: The Archives" - with more in development. For more information, visit www.lrsmedia.net.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts has taken a leadership role in supporting jazz artists and organizations since 1970, providing millions of dollars in grants and awards. The Arts Endowment is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts - both new and established - bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, visit www.nea.gov.
About WTTW National Productions
The most watched public television station in America, Chicago's WTTW11, has four million monthly viewers and serves a four-state area. For 50 years, viewers have turned to WTTW11 for distinctive programming that informs, inspires, educates and entertains. Recognized for its renowned local and national productions, WTTW11 is committed to presenting the very best in cultural, nature, science, public affairs and children's programming. Award-winning children's series presented by WTTW National Productions have included Lamb Chop's Play Along and Kidsongs. In addition to Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis, WTTW National Productions has produced or presented such national shows as SOUNDSTAGE, The McLaughlin Group, Mexico: One Plate At A Time, CEO Exchange, Handy Ma'am and Mini-Med School TV. For more information, visit www.wttw.com.