A Once-in-a-Lifetime Celebration of Trumpeter Mark Morganelli’s Jazz Forum Lofts
“It would be hard to pick one special moment at the Jazz Forum, because
there were so MANY special moments.” – Dr. Barry Harris
Jazz Forum Arts Executive Director Mark Morganelli invites jazz fans to witness history, as he presents a spectacular, one-night-only event, JAZZ FORUM @ 30, celebrating the Thirtieth Anniversary of his Jazz Forum lofts, where some of the greatest jazz artists in the world performed between 1979 and 1983. Twenty of those artists will reconvene for one special evening beginning at 8pm on Monday, June 22, 2009 at Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th Street, New York, NY. Jazz luminaries performing that night will be Barry Harris, Ray Drummond, Leroy Williams, Lou Donaldson, Jon Hendricks & Co., Cedar Walton, Buster Williams, Louis Hayes, George Coleman, Joe Lovano, George Mraz, Al Foster, John Scofield, Donald Harrison, Kenny Barron, Rufus Reid, Jimmy Cobb, Claudio Roditi and Paquito D’Rivera.
Mark Morganelli, then a 24-year-old trumpeter, established the Jazz Forum at 50 Cooper Square in New York City’s East Village in June of 1979 to provide opportunities for emerging and established artists and their groups to perform in a relaxed loft-setting. Just out of Bucknell University, he emphasized jazz education by renting his loft to Detroit piano icon Barry Harris, whose legendary classes grew from 25 to 150 students every Monday night for three years, before Dr. Harris relocated to his own Jazz Cultural Theatre. From Morganelli’s own rehearsal big band grew steady, weekly large ensemble presentations of Chuck Israels’ National Jazz Ensemble, Jaki Byard’s Apollo Stompers, and Charli Persip’s Superband. There were also weekly jam sessions led by drummer Jo Jones, Jr. During the period when the second Jazz Forum operated at 648 Broadway at Bleecker Street, from 1981 to 1983, the loft played host to many benefits for ailing musicians, several National Public Radio broadcasts, a few celebrated recordings, and the award-winning film “Music In Monk Time,” featuring Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae, Milt Jackson, and Jon Hendricks.
For ten days in the Fall of 1982, the Jazz Forum was the venue of choice for WBGO’s “Big Apple Jazz Live” NPR broadcasts of George Coleman Octet, John Hicks and Albert Dailey on Two Steinways with Ray Drummond and Charli Persip; live recordings by Bruce Lundvall’s Elektra Musician label of Red Rodney and Ira Sullivan; and Woody Shaw’s Quintet with Bobby Hutcherson; as well as the aforementioned film, “Music In Monk Time.” When the Jazz Forum closed in April 1983, after four short years, Morganelli had presented 1500 concerts, including memorable shows by Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris, Sphere, Roy Haynes, Pepper Adams, Al Haig, Lee Konitz, Bill Hardman and Junior Cook, Cedar Walton, Bob Berg and Tom Harrell, and countless other great artists.
In 1985, Morganelli established Jazz Forum Arts, a not-for-profit arts presenting organization, and launched the Riverside Park Arts Festival, which concluded in 1997. He has produced over 50 compact discs, most for Candid Records. Fifteen years ago, he inaugurated the Jazz at the Music Hall series in Tarrytown. He has produced numerous jazz festivals and concerts, including a piano series at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Dizzy Gillespie 75th Birthday concert at Carnegie Hall, and the “Jazz Beats Breast Cancer” concert at Avery Fisher Hall. He continues to perform with his Jazz Forum All-Stars.
Tickets for JAZZ FORUM @ 30 presented by Jazz Forum Arts, with support from The Stahl Organization, on Monday, June 22, 2009 at 8pm at Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, are $30 – $120 and can be purchased at the Jazz at Lincoln CenterBox Office (Broadway at 60th Street, Ground Floor) Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12pm-6pm, or through CenterCharge, 212.721.6500, or at www.jalc.org. For information about Jazz Forum Arts, call 888.99.BEBOP, or visit www.jazzforumarts.org.