@JazzPowerON YOUTH

We will weather the storm…
from Brian Fender, Youth Program Coordinator.

We are living in very unprecedented times. We were planning to begin a 12 week youth workshop in April, with new and returning students, at United Palace in Washington Heights – just as all of New York City’s schools were closed and social-distancing required. While we are not able to gather at the Palace as we wish we could, we are committed to staying connected to the community we serve, now more than ever.

We are very proud of the children joining us for Jazz Power Youth On line, now in its fourth week. We have two sessions — one for beginners, and one for returning students. JazzPowerON Youth is giving students the opportunity to continue their artistic education, and connect with teachers and peers online, while learning history and further training in voice, dance, and theater.

So far we’ve highlighted jazz and blues icons Nat King Cole and Bessie Smith. Our students are also doing their own research, integrating the music of these legends into their repertoire, and leaving with theater activities to keep them creative during the week.

Our latest activity was taught to me by Sweet Honey in the Rock founding members Carol Maillard and Louise Robinson and called “I Come From.” I asked our students to write 8 lines, with each line starting with “I come from…” And I asked them to not use a physical place. Here is what Jazz Power student Imanie shared.


Our featured INTERGENERATIONAL JAZZ JAM this week celebrates the centennial of CHARLIE “BIRD” PARKER. Find out the origin of Bird’s composition “Dewey Square” and hear a masterful performance by one of the original members of the Sun Ra Arkestra, saxophonist Knoel Scott, alongside guitarist Bruce Edwards, bassist Jennifer Vincent, drummer Dwayne “Cook” Broadnax, and pianist Eli Yamin with audio recording by Jeff Jones “The Jedi Master”. Produced by JPI.


We continue drawing INSPIRATION from the “Empress of the Blues”, Bessie Smith, with her “Backwater Blues“, a song that she wrote in response to a flood of the Cumberland River that struck Nashville, Tennessee on Christmas Day 1926, with the purpose of encouraging resilience to locals to surpass those difficult times. This is the song we are teaching this week in JazzPowerON Youth. You could sing it too!
When it rains five days and the skies turn dark as night,
When it rains five days and the skies turn dark as night,
Then trouble’s takin’ place in the lowlands at night.


Have you been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and left without work and you need support?

Jazz Road Quick Assist Fund, a program of South Arts, are providing grants to freelance jazz musicians who have lost work throughout March, April, and May 2020. A limited number of $1,000 grants will be distributed . Enrollments open TODAY. Please see the website for additional details on deadlines for applications.

National YoungArts Foundation has launched Artist Relief, providing unrestricted $5,000 relief grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to the impact of COVID-19, as well as a list of resources.

The Recording Academy is here for you year round, by providing emergency aid through MusiCares! Apply for assistance here.

If you need additional information, refer to our artist relief resources article.