Washington, DC: Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, will once again serve as the Honorary Host Jazz Issue Forum and Concert that will take place during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.'s 41st Annual Legislative Conference, September 21 -24, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (WCC), 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW, Washington, DC 20001. The Jazz Issue Forum, entitled The Legacy of Modern Jazz Masters and Black America's Quest for Freedom" will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, in Room 209-B of the WCC. The panel discussion will focus on the powerful musical, spiritual and social legacy established by jazz masters such as John Coltrane, Max Roach, Abby Lincoln and Dr. Billy Taylor and their impact on the modern civil and human rights movements. The panelists will include Dr. Leonard Brown, Northeastern University; Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin, Columbia University; Dr. Katrina Hazzard-Donald, Rutgers University; Dr. Maurice Jackson, Georgetown University; Jessica L. Boykin Settles, Howard University; National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master Randy Weston and Willard Jenkins of Open Sky Jazz. Cedric Hendricks will serve as Moderator and Mr. Conyers will make remarks. The Forum will also include an update on H.R. 2823, Mr. Conyers' new legislation entitled the National Jazz Preservation and Education Act.
The Jazz Concert will be held from 7:00 to 10:30 pm, in Ballroom A of the WCC. This event will open with a Meet the Artist session featuring Bassist Ben Williams and his mother, Bennie Williams. WPFW's Willard Jenkins will moderate the session. Following it will be the opening performance featuring Ben Williams and Sound Effect, with Marcus Strickland, Christian Sands, Matt Stevens and Jamire Williams. Ben Williams is the 2009 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Bass Competition. His debut album, State of Art, was released in June 2011 on the Concord Jazz label.
Headlining the concert will be Pianist Randy Weston and African Rhythms, with T.K. Blue, Billy Harper, Essiet Essiet, Neil Clarke and Lewis Nash. Randy Weston is an internationally renowned pianist, composer, bandleader and cultural ambassador, whose compositions encompass the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa. Randy Weston has received awards and acclaim at home and abroad, including the prestigious Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2001. He has also received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, in June 2006. In 2009 he was added to the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame. On May 11, 2011 Weston received the award of Royal Wissam of National Merit of the Order of Officer by command of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI of Morocco for his lifelong commitment to Morocco. His memoirs, African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston, composed by Randy Weston and arranged by Willard Jenkins, was published in 2010.
Both the Jazz Issue Forum and the Jazz Concert are free and open to the public.