One thing was evident at the second annual benefit for the Jazz Musicians’ Emergency Fund at the Apollo Theatre on Sept. 26: Harlem will always be a place where great music lives.
A Great Night in Harlem, hosted by Bill Cosby, Joe Piscopo and Gil Noble with special appearences by Rep. John Conyers (who was awarded the Global Contribution to Jazz award), Dr. Billy Taylor and others, brought together musicians spanning a wide range of ages and experience to perform in rarely seen collaborations. Among those honored at the event were doctors who have volunteered their services for jazz musicians, as well as musicians like Clark Terry, Abbey Lincoln and Jimmy Owens, who were presented lifetime achievement awards.
The Jazz Foundation of America, a Local 802 signatory, provided musicians performing at the concert with an honorarium which included scale wages for a recording and a pension contribution. The proceeds of the event are used to assist jazz musicians in a variety of emergency health-related and residential expenses.
Wendy Oxenhorn, the executive director of the Jazz Foundation, told Allegro, “As the myriad of issues facing jazz musicians become more evident, it is clear how important the union’s ability to win pension and health benefits for recordings and live performances can be to the future of jazz musicians.”