Monday, August 30, 2010

PRESS RELEASE - 15th Annual Mississippi Jazz + Heritage Festival (9/2/2010-9/6/2010)


15th Annual Mississippi Jazz & Heritage Festival


Contact: Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Artistic Director
             Mississippi Jazz & Heritage Festival
             662-247-3364    662-247-1471
             web sites:

 Mulgrew Miller
Ron Myers
Ron Myers
15th Annual Mississippi Jazz & Heritage Festival
Continues in Belzoni, Indianola, Greenville & Greenwood, Mississippi

Mississippi Jazz & Heritage Festival
Honors Hank Jones, Lester Young and Mulgrew Miller

(Belzoni, Indianola, Greenville & Greenwood, MS) - The 15th Annual Mississippi Jazz & Heritage Festival, celebrating Mississippi's great jazz legacy, will take place in the Mississippi Delta on Labor Day weekend, from Thursday, September 2, through Monday, September 6, 2010, in Belzoni, Indianola, Greenville and Greenwood, Mississippi. The festival is a celebration of Mississippi's great jazz legacy. Woodville, MS native, and father of the modern jazz saxophone, the late Lester Young, Vicksburg, MS, native, master jazz pianist, the late Hank Jones and Greenwood, MS native, one the finest jazz pianist in the world, Mulgrew Miller, will all be honored.

"We are returning to Greenville and Greenwood, and bringing the festival to Belzoni and Indianola for the first time over the Labor Day weekend," states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Artistic Director of the Mississippi Jazz and Heritage Festival and accomplished Belzoni jazz pianist and trumpeter. Myers was a featured guest jazz artist at the 2006 Miles Davis 80th Birthday Concert in East St. Louis and performs concerts throughout the country as the National Juneteenth Jazz Artist. "Mississippi has a rich jazz legacy that also includes Shelby, MS native historic jazz composer Gerald Wilson, Jackson, MS native world renowned jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson, and Vicksburg, MS native and father of the modern jazz bass, Milt Hinton," continues Dr. Myers.

The festival is sponsored by the National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP) and is a part of the "June is Black Music Month!" - CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH JAZZ - "Preserving Our African American Jazz Legacy!" national concert series. Dr. Myers is also the Founder and Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF).

"Jazz is African American Classical Music, created from the hearts, lives and souls of black folks in America," states Rev., Dr. Myers, also Founder and Chairman of the NAJJP, the Fellowship of Creative Christian Jazz Musicians (FCCJM), the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC) and the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign. "The preservation of our unique African-American jazz music legacy is what Black Music Month and the celebration of Juneteenth is all about." 

The festival is dedicated to the late Vicksburg, Mississippi native and master jazz pianist Hank Jones, who died recently, on May 16, 2010, at the age of 91. Jones was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 31, 1918. He was raised along with his brothers Thad and Elvin in the Pontiac, Michigan area, where their father was Baptist deacon and lumber inspector. All three brothers went on to prominence as jazz musicians. Hank, the eldest, was the last one to pass on.

Jones was known for his light touch and his embrace of bebop's fast pace and complex phrasing. He played "as though he were plucking the piano's strings instead of striking its keys, and his gracefully restrained single-note style are a reformulation of their aesthetic in modern jazz.," wrote David Rosenthal in "Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music, 1955- 1965."

He made his New York debut in 1944 with jazz trumpeter Oran "Hot Lips" Page at the Onyx Club on 52nd Street in New York. He went on to make hundreds of recordings with the likes of Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald, playing venues from nightclubs to Broadway. Along the way, he was nominated for five Grammy awards before winning a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2009. He also received the National Medal of Arts and the National Endowment of the Arts' Jazz Masters Award.

The festival is also dedicated to the late Woodville, Mississippi native and jazz legend Lester "Prez" Young. "Lester Young is the father of the modern jazz saxophone and was born August 27, 1909 and died in 1959, after a historic career as one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time," states Dr. Myers. "Billy Holiday gave him the title 'Prez', short for President of the tenor saxophone." 

Dr. Myers will be performing original compositions from his critically acclaimed jazz CD, "Doctor's Orders." The CD includes popular original Mississippi Delta jazz compositions like "Song For Tchula," "Message From the Country" and "Blues For Tchula." 

Jazz bassist "extraordinaire", Dr. London Branch, retired professor of music and former Director of the Jackson State University Orchestra, will be performing along with Cuban percussionist Earlton Batles Manley and Jackson, Mississippi native, percussionist Wilton Knott. Also performing will be Greenville, MS natives Derrick Brown on bass, Aaron Smith on alto sax and Rod Shannon on percussion and vocals, along with Mound Bayou MS percussionist, Joe Johnson and Jackson, MS jazz drummer Noah Jelks.

All performances will start at 6:00pm. Locations include, Thursday, September 2nd, Belzoni, MS at the Myers Family Pavilion, 27 Weeks Drive; Friday, September 3rd in Indianola, MS at Betty's Place, 301 Main Street; Saturday, September 4th, Greenville, MS at the Edwards Center, 749 Main Street; and Monday, September 6th, Labor Day in Greenwood, MS at Bo's Bar-b-Que & Grill, 507 Carrollton Avenue.

Admission is free and donations are appreciated. For more information contact Dr. Myers at 662-247-3364, 662-247-1471 e-mail:; web sites: and

The Mississippi Jazz & Heritage Festival is a cooperative effort sponsored by:
National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP)
The Myers Foundation    The Black Arts Music Society
The Smith Robertson Museum & Cultural Center

 National Holiday Observance 

"June Is Black Music Month!"
"Preserving Our African American Jazz Legacy!"
Report - 1st Annual 
2009 WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance 
 "Together we will see Juneteenth become a national holiday in America!"
Juneteenth Flags 
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman
 National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP)
662-247-3364    662-247-1471 

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