The Great Celebration: CBJC’s Brooklyn Jazz Festival


CBJC’s Board and members. Shown front row, left to right: Michael Howard, Viola Plummer, Clarence Mosley, Bessie Edwards. Back row, left to right: Wayne Winston, Sue Yellin, Linda Sylvester-Fisher, Carolyn Jenkins, George Johnson, Dwight Brewster, Bearether Reddy, Steve Cromity, and Bob Myers.

Brooklyn’s music legacy dates from the Fisk Jubilee Singers performing “spirituals” in 1871 at Plymouth Church to Randy Weston’s African rhythms of today.
The jazz shrines of central Brooklyn have hosted the likes of Robert Glasper to Freddie Hubbard. The borough’s jazz scene is a 365 days occurrence but “The Music” takes center stage every April — while the nation celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month, Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium (CBJC) produces the 18th edition of its annual festival April 14 through May 14.
“Black Music” has fueled the American entertainment industry from Ragtime to Rap. Seminal scholars such as Dr. Alain Locke and J. A. Rodgers noted the importance of African-influenced art forms on the cultural footprint of America.
Municipalities from Pori to Portland; Montreux to Montreal benefit annually from festivals featuring the music of African Americans. Business Improvement Districts along Fulton Street, Marcus Garvey Boulevard, and other strips are the
beneficiaries of the traffic generated by the live music performed in art galleries, cultural centers, and nightlife establishments.
Local government’s interest in the Black arts is, partially, revenue drive and it is rare a grass roots music series endures without legislative support. The backbone
of community creative festivals, such as Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium’s, are the local businesses, residents, and artists. By participating in the community’s cultural life local businesses enhance the neighborhood. Non-corporate festivals allow for greater artistic originality and development of new voices. Corporate philanthropy, alone, cannot be relied upon to support the creative community, especially the “Black Arts.”
CBJC actively solicits local enterprises and contracts with these outfits for supplies and services. Contracting with community businesses helps develop new talent in
the workforce. Some of these workers may not be employable by larger corporations.
Media marketing is key for any successful event. Advertising in a manner attractive to the public requires more than “guerilla marketing” or passing out flyers and postcards. Print publications such as the Bedford Stuyvesant based DGB Media and the full-service branding company ACA on Marcus Garvey Boulevard are engaged to deliver and display the right message to prospective patrons; family operated firm Creative Advertising, in southern Brooklyn, is a provider of recognition items for CBJC.
CBJC has grown its festival from a nine (9) day event to a highly anticipated month-long celebration of Brooklyn Jazz. This growth shares its wealth among companies and sole proprietorships throughout Brooklyn. Restaurants such as
Clinton Hills’ Buka-New York and Rustik Tavern provide catering services, much-desired beverages, and meals. Festival tourism creates economic activity in mom-
n-pop operations, also, patrons desire the “Brooklyn Experience” from sunset to sunrise and they consume products ranging from fashion to ethnic dining. Interim Executive Director, Medina Sadiq, of the Bed-Stuy Business Improvement District states, “Bedford Stuyvesant is known for many reasons. Artists of all disciplines helped to make this central Brooklyn community a world-wide destination.” Little known fact; this neighborhood is the “Natural Hair Capital of America.” Black women, nation-wide, come here to, fashionably, have braiding work done.
The membership of Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium dedicates festival 2017 to the memories of recently deceased members: Bob Cunningham, Jo Ann Cheatham,
and Harold Valle.
Bob Myers
Festival 2017 Coordinator
Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium



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