Attendees included Macy Gray, Wyclef Jean, and Savion Glover…
On Saturday, May 16, The Jazz Foundation of America celebrated its 24th Annual Jazz Loft Party at Hudson Studios in celebration of the rebirth of New Orleans ten years after it was hit by Hurricane Katrina. This party invited a wide range of talented performers to come show off their craft to attendees all while supporting the Jazz Foundation of America’s great cause. This year it was to support the victims, musicians and civilians alike who were affected by Katrina. This year’s party featured more than 60 musicians with jazz bands switching in and out every half hour. Some of the performances of the night included Grammy Award winner Macy Gray as well as Grammy nominated Hot 8 Brass Band from New Orleans.
The night started off with guests attending the cocktail and reception portion of the night, walking around, eating the small samples of food. The festivities began first when the Jazz Foundation honored David Freeman, a radio host in New Orleans who did so much to help the people affected recover in a timely manner. After his award was given, the amazing and talented tap dancer Savion Glover took the stage to perform an incredible tap selection for the audience to appreciate. Next up was the talented Henry Butler who took the piano and paid tribute to the late and great BB King. And after that, every 30 minutes, bands would come in and out and perform their own pieces. What was even better was that there were two rooms in which bands could play so amazing music could be heard everywhere. Dinner was also served at this time, some of the dishes were a beef stew over dirty rice and another was some salad, polenta, and braised short ribs. Macy Gray then came to perform later on in the night and she did not fail to amaze everyone in attendance with her voice. All in all, the 24th Annual Jazz Loft Party was a huge success and supported a great cause too.
Q: What is it like to be at this event tonight?
A: I mean, it’s incredible. I got the chance—my background; you know the best kept secret about Wyclef is probably the fact that I was a jazz major in high school and I competed very strongly. I got a chance to play the Montreux Jazz Festival a couple of times so for me this is home. So the cause which is the most important thing for me with New Orleans and coming from Haiti with the whole Creole background, I support charities that are all about not just words but also in action. And this is action and this goes in line with my beliefs and stuff.
Q: And there are so many great performers here tonight. Who are you most excited to see perform?
A: Well I am a big fan of Macy Gray. I look forward to seeing Macy Gray pay tribute to the king BB King. Really, when I come to these events I am more excited because for me if I never made it this would still be a great space for me too.
Q: What is it like for you to be at this event tonight?
A: Well, I am honoring or paying tribute to the great Jimmy Scott. So, anytime or anywhere I am able to represent my art form especially of this magnitude, I am far beyond honored to be able to do that. I am happy that the dance, tap dance, is able to represent for, not only for the dance itself, but the wonderful, fabulous, and great Jimmy Scott.
Q: And how would you say that jazz music has influenced your craft?
A: Tap dance and the free music have always been parallel—they have always gone hand in hand. Where there was a drummer, there was a tap dancer. Where there was a tap dancer, there was a pianist. So I am just continuing on the tradition.
Q: Anything else coming up for you then?
A: I will be doing a collaboration with the great George Wolfe. We are working on a Broadway musical due to come out next season.