Last Saturday, the Charlottesville Jazz Society and Fellini's #9 (a great restaurant and my neighborhood pub) hosted an all night jazz jam session to benefit the George Melvin Educational Fund. George, who passed away last year, was a truly beloved figure on Charlottesville's musical scene -- a wonderful teacher and mentor, and one of the great masters of the Hammond B3 organ. The money raised will help students pay for lessons and instrument repairs, and it will allow the Jazz Society to provide resource packages to local schools.
John D'earth (trumpet) and Pete Spaar (bass). 23 July 2011. [All photos copyright John Edwin Mason, 2011.]
I didn't last much past midnight (the jam really did stretch into the wee, small hours of the morning), but I managed to hear some terrific music.
Devonne Harris. 23 July 2011.
But it wasn't just about the music. I also ran into a lot of friends at the jam. It seemed that everyone in Charlottesville who cares about jazz (and who cared about George) turned out to support the fund raiser -- musicians, fans, producers, radio hosts, writers, and at least one photographer.
Pete Spaar. 23 July 2011.
Donations were gladly accepted. 23 July 2011.
Michael Elswick (sax) and Graham Daby (drums). 23 July 2011.
Tommy Bibb (flugelhorn) and other members of Jazz Collective #9. 23 July 2011.
Bob Hallahan (left) and Gary Funston (right). 23 July 2011.
WTJU, a local radio station that airs a lot of jazz, was broadcasting from Fellini's during the jam. Here Gary Funston interviews pianist Bob Hallahan, who performed during the jam.
Regggie Marshall. 23 July 2011.
Reggie is a booking agent with an impressive list of clients, including Cindy Blackman-Santana and Patricia Barber, both of whom I saw last March at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
Fans. 23 July 2011.
Jeff Decker (sax) and a band member. 23 July 2011. [Update: That's Jim Ryan on bass. Many thanks to Gary Funston for the ID.]
Jeff opened his set with a brilliant, moving performance of "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime." It was an unusual choice, but appropriate, on all sorts of levels.
(By the way, you probably noticed that I wasn't able to identify all the musicians by name. If you can help, please shoot me an email or leave a comment.)