Living Jazz Legends | Honoring New Haven's Cultural Heroes

November 11, 2023

Join us for an evening of music and celebration in honor of “The Living Jazz Legends” project commemorating New Haven’s “Five Living Jazz Legends”: Willie Ruff, Houston Person, Jesse “Cheese” Hameen II, Hank Bolden, and James “Dinky” Johnson.

The evening will feature the unveiling of new art by local artists Susan Clinard, Jasmine Nikole, and Katro Storm created to memorialize the musicians; the screening of a short documentary about the project by Iman Hameen; and a jazz concert featuring Houston Person, Jesse Hameen II, and Hank Bolden, with Nat Reeves and Lafayette Harris.

More about the project:

Jazz in New Haven has a long and rich history dating back to the early 20th century. The Dixwell neighborhood was the heart and soul of jazz in New Haven, being home to some of the most popular jazz venues and best musicians from Connecticut. New Haven was a major stop on the touring circuit for jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane. The clubs were a hub for local musicians and traveling bands, which made it a vital space where younger musicians could learn from the more experienced musicians and where the established musicians from New Haven would share their knowledge with the traveling musicians. New Haven was one of the popular jazz schools on the “Chitlin’ Circuit,” the inside name for the African American community music scene.

This project is funded by a City American Rescue Plan Act grant award through the Arts Council and the Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism.

November 11, 2023
7 pm
9 pm
Neighborhood Music School, Recital Hall