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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Mar. 6, 200712:00 PM EST

Main Library hosts six weeks of jazz programming

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

The 2007 Jacksonville Jazz Festival won’t light up the stages at Metropolitan Park and the Florida and Ritz theaters until April 13-15, but America’s most honored home-grown musical art form will be in the spotlight at the Main Library for six weeks leading up to the annual celebration on the riverfront.

The “Looking at Jazz - America’s Art Form” interactive presentation series will begin Wednesday and continue through Jazz Festival weekend. Each week live performances, an art exhibit and the screening of Ken Burns’ PBS documentary about jazz are all part of the line-up.

It will, said Karen Jessee, senior librarian in the reference department, “provide a lifelong learning opportunity, cultural enrichment and take jazz education to a new level.”

The focal point of the series will be performances by many professional jazz artists and Jacksonville’s most talented music students from LaVilla School of the Arts, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida.

The comprehensive series is presented by Jacksonville Public Libraries and the University of North Florida Department of Music. Dr. Bill Prince, professor of music theory, composition and arranging at UNF, is the educational consultant for the series.

“Music faculty from throughout the city will be here,” said Jessee.

The series was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is sponsored by the American Library Association Public Programs Office, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Renew Media.

Nationwide, 50 libraries were awarded grants to present programming on jazz and Jacksonville is one of only three in Florida.

“The NEH and the ALA are collaborating to preserve jazz and make sure the history isn’t lost,” said Jessee.

The project has been in the planning stages for almost a year.

“We were awarded the grant in April 2006,” said Pam McClellan, resource development coordinator for partnerships & communication. “Part of our application was that the library would target the series to lead up to the 2007 Jacksonville Jazz Festival.

McClellan said another requirement for the grant application was to identify a local music scholar who would supervise that phase of the program. She said having a major jazz festival each year and Dr. Prince on board put Jacksonville Public Libraries in the perfect position to secure the funding.

“The stars really lined up on this one,” said McClellan.

Marketing Communications Manager Stacie Bucher pointed out the series is part of the library’s plan to become more of a community meeting place.

“We have programs scheduled at different times of the day to allow for the broadest appeal, including several presentations that will take place around lunch time during the week so Downtown office workers can take advantage of them. We also have elements scheduled early in the day on the Saturday (April 14) of festival weekend for people who want to expose their children to jazz, but might not want to take them to Metropolitan Park and keep them out late at night,” she said.

A collection of posters from past Jacksonville Jazz Festivals will be on exhibit at the Main Library through April 15. Many are part of the library’s Florida History Collection and others are provided by the City’s Special Events Office, the producers of the festival each year.

Theresa Price, director of the City’s Office of Special Events, said she thinks the jazz series will make a tremendous contribution to the festival.

“The library is providing a wonderful educational component for people who like jazz. They are really reaching out and providing new experiences. It’s exactly on target and a win-win for everybody,” she said.

“Looking at Jazz-America’s Art” Form schedule

Jacksonville Jazz Festival Poster Exhibit
Wednesday-April 15 • Main Library

• New Orleans Jazz, 7:30 p.m.
Main Library, Conference Level

March 15
• The Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance, noon. Main Library, Conference Level

March 22
• Jazz Vocalists, Musicians & Composers, 2 p.m.
Main Library, Conference Level

March 29
• The Jazz Swing Era, 7:30 p.m.
Main Library, Conference Level

April 4
• Jazz: Jacksonville’s Art Form - LaVilla School of the Arts’ Jazz Dance Ensemble, 11 a.m.
Main Library Auditorium
• Jazz Innovators: From Bebop, to Hard Bop, to Cool and More, 7:30 p.m.
Main Library, Conference Level

April 5
• LaVilla School of the Arts, Jazz Vocals, 11 a.m.
Main Library Auditorium
• Latin Jazz, 7:30 p.m.
Main Library, Conference Level

April 13
• Looking at: Jazz, America’s Art Form Film Series, 9:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Main Library, Auditorium
• Jazz: Jacksonville’s Art Form Collegiate Jazz Showcase, 12-4 p.m.
Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble
FCCJ Jazz Ensemble I
Jacksonville University Jazz Ensemble
UNF Jazz Ensemble II
UNF Jazz Ensemble III
Main Library, Auditorium

April 14
• Looking at: Jazz, America’s Art Form Film Series, 9:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Main Library, Auditorium
• Jazz: Jacksonville’s Art Form - Jazz Arts Jam, 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. Featured artists will demonstrate visual arts while Eclectic Jazz Pianist Tom Bennett and local jazz musicians play live jazz. Main Library, Multipurpose Room, Conference Level
• Looking at: Jazz, America’s Art Form Film Series for Teens, 2 p.m.
Main Library-Teen Department
• Looking at: Jazz, America’s Art Form Activities for Kids, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Main Library-Children’s Department

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