Jazz Power Initiative kicks off 20th anniversary season with the Intergenerational Jazz Power Jam series

 Curtis Stewart at Intergenerational Jazz Power Jam, National Jazz Museum in Harlem
(Photo by Jim Cummins/JPI)

New York City, September 27, 2023 – Jazz Power Initiative (JPI), an Inwood-based non-profit organization founded in 2003 with the mission of transforming lives through jazz music, arts education and performance, kicks off its 20th anniversary season with the acclaimed Intergenerational Jazz Power Jam series starting in October.

Held twice monthly, the Intergenerational Jazz Power Jam presents professional and emerging jazz artists with a different featured guest, offering audiences cross-cultural and multidisciplinary sets of new works and jazz standards; the audience is then invited to join in and “jam,” bringing together artists, community members and general audiences of all ages, “to experience the power of jazz, community, and swing!”

The Intergenerational Jazz Power Jam series opens up with Jazz Power Initiative’s 2023 Community Artist-In-Residence percussionist Annette A. Aguilar & Stringbeans, presenting “A World of Afro-Latin Percussion. The “jam” will be held Wednesday, October 18, 2023 7-9 PM at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center and Saturday, October 21, 2023 4-6 PM at National Jazz Museum in Harlem. This program highlights Afro, Latin jazz and Brazilian percussion, and features special guest, percussionist Warren Smith on 10/18. Additional artists include percussionists Renato Thoms and Joel Guzman (10/18), drummer Benny Koonyevsky, pianist Nicole Denner, pianist/vocalist Ariacne Trujillo Durand, vocalist Deborah Resto, flutist Karen Joseph, violinist/trombonist Eddie Venegas, violinist Rob Thomas (10/21), and bassist/cellist Jennifer Vincent.

Hosted and led by JPI’s Managing and Artistic Director, pianist Eli Yamin (aka “Dr. E”) Jazz Power Initiative first launched its Intergenerational Jazz Power Jam series in 2017 in partnership with, and presented at, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. The first house band included emerging jazz stars, saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, bassist Endea Owens.

Since then, thousands of audience members have witnessed 100 professional artists, and over 250 “jammers” participating in the Jam. These include over the past three years our Community Artists-In-Residence: vocalist Antoinette Montague (2022); percussionist and bandleader Annette A. Aguilar (2023), and trumpeter, composer, and bandleader, Steven Oquendo (2024); as well as performances by composer/vibraphonist Nikara Warren,  tubist and violinist Bob and Curtis Stewart, clarinetist Evan Christopher, vocalists Charenee Wade and Catherine Russell, saxophonists Claire Daly, Jon Irabagon and Knoel Scott, percussionist Chembo Corniel, trombonist Ray Anderson, trumpeter James Zollar, bassists Lonnie Plaxico, Melissa Slocum and Jennifer Vincent,  and dancers Mickey Davidson, Max Pollak, and Kim Holmes, as well as students from LaGuardia High School Jazz Band directed by Kevin Blancq, and Harlem Samba directed by Dana Monteiro.

Dr. Eli Yamin, JPI’s Managing and Artistic Director, notes: “The Intergenerational Jazz Power Jam is a heap of fun for jazz fans and anybody you know who might be moved by the sound of surprise, renewed by the feeling of soul and embraced by a diverse community of people who love music!”

Join and celebrate our 20th anniversary (2023-24) season, highlighting emerging and veteran jazz artists, including over 100 diverse musicians and performers presented in the series since 2017. The schedule for our Intergenerational Jazz Power Jam upcoming concerts is:

OCTOBER 19th 7-8:30 PM at Alianza Dominican a Cultural Center
OCTOBER 21st 4-6 PM at National Jazz Museum in Harlem

“A World of Afro-Latin Percussion” featuring Annette A. Aguilar & Stringbeans hosted and produced by Eli Yamin (aka “Dr. E”).

Additional dates

• NOVEMBER 15th 7-8:30 PM at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center
• NOVEMBER 18th 4-6 PM at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem
DECEMBER 13th 7-8:30 PM at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center
• D
ECEMBER 16th 4-6 PM the National Jazz Museum in Harlem
FEBRUARY 14th 7-8:30 PM at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center
• F
EBRUARY 17th 4-6 PM at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem
MARCH 13th 7-8:30 PM at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center
MARCH 16th 4-6 PM at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem
APRIL 17th 7-8:30 PM at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center
APRIL 20th 4-6 PM at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem


National Jazz Museum in Harlem, 58 W 129th St, New York, NY 10027 – Suggested Donation: General $10, Students/Seniors $5
Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center, 530 W 166th St, New York, NY 10032 – No charge for admission

Intergenerational Jazz Power Jam is produced by Jazz Power Initiative, a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2003, is made possible in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; the Howard Gilman Foundation; the Hispanic Federation; the National Jazz Museum in Harlem; Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York and the New York City Department of Youth & Community Development; the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone; the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and our individual donors. Thank you for your support!

About the artists:

Jazz Power Initiative’s 2023 Community Artist-in-Residence Annette A. Aguilar, multi-percussionist, recording artist, producer and bandleader, was born in San Francisco into a Nicaraguan family and currently resides in New York City. She began playing music at the age of 11 and by the time she turned 16 was sitting in with renowned Latin artists like Santana and Cal Tjader. Ms. Aguilar has led her Latin Brazilian Jazz group Annette A. Aguilar & StringBeans since 1992, and has released three albums to wide acclaim. The band toured three times as Latin Jazz Ambassadors for the U.S. Department of State performing and teaching in South Africa, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar including a performance for the President. Aguilar has also toured and shared the stage with many top groups including Darlene Love, The Four Tops,  Stevie Wonder, Tito Puente, The Grateful Dead, Mose Allison, Bernice Johnson Reagon and is currently working with Arturo O’Farrill BronX BandA. She has worked on award winning Broadway shows including Paul Simon’s “The Capeman”, Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights.” Aguilar earned a Bachelor in music from San Francisco State University, a Masters in performance from Manhattan School of Music, and a Masters in music education at Lehman College, City University of New York. She serves on the faculties of The Jazz Power Initiative, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music and Lehman College.

Warren Smith is an American jazz percussionist, a founding member of Max Roach’s M’boom ensemble and leader of the Composer’s Workshop Ensemble. Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois, into a musical family; his father played saxophone and clarinet with Noble Sissle and Jimmy Noone, and his mother was a harpist and pianist. He studied clarinet under his father from age four, graduated from the University of Illinois in 1957, then earned his master’s in percussion at the Manhattan School of Music in 1958. One of his earliest major recording dates was with Miles Davis as a vibraphonist in 1957. He found work in Broadway pit bands in 1958, and also played with Gil Evans that year. In 1961 he co-founded the Composers Workshop Ensemble, a New York-based jazz composition and performance ensemble which released two albums for Strata-East Records. In the 1960s Smith accompanied Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Lloyd Price, and Nat King Cole; he worked with Sam Rivers from 1964-76 and with Gil Evans again from 1968 to 1976. In 1969 he played with Janis Joplin and in 1971 with Tony Williams Lifetime. He was also a founding member of Max Roach’s percussion ensemble, M’Boom, in 1970. Through the 1970s Smith played with Andrew White, Julius Hemphill, Muhal Richard Abrams, Nancy Wilson, Quincy Jones, Count Basie, and Carmen McRae. He continued to work on Broadway into the 1990s, and has performed with a number of classical ensembles. He taught in the New York City public school system from 1958 to 1968, at Third Street Settlement from 1960 to 1967, at Adelphi University in 1970-71, and at SUNY- Old Westbury from 1971.

Managing and Artistic Director and Jazz Power Initiative co-founder Eli Yamin is an award-winning pianist, composer, singer, producer and educator who has been spreading the joy of jazz through his work for 30 years including 10 years as founding director of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy. Dr. Eli has released eight CD’s featuring his compositions, published three youth centered jazz musicals in four languages and has performed at The White House, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and over 20 countries as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. Dr. Eli sincerely believes learning about jazz should feel as creative as playing jazz and consistently shares this experience with students of all ages. He has written a book, So You Want to Sing the Blues, published by Rowman and Littlefield in partnership with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and recorded over 100 interactive videos for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz Academy reaching nearly two million views. He has a BA in Music from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, a Masters Degree in Music Education from Lehman College, City University of New York and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University, State University of New York (SUNY).

Jazz Power Initiative is a community-based performing arts and educational non-profit organization, founded in 2003. Jazz Power serves thousands of New Yorkers and visitors annually – students, teachers, artists, seniors and general audiences, ages 8-80+, to build more creative and inclusive communities. Led by our Managing and Artistic Director, Eli Yamin, and highly experienced teaching artists who are award-winning jazz, theater and dance professionals, we also offer multidisciplinary training, scholarships and performance opportunities to New York City youth, ages 8-22, from every economic and social milieu at low or no cost to families. With our extended outreach to students in under-served New York City public schools in Northern Manhattan, we currently engage hundreds of students and their teachers annually, providing after-school instruction mainly in Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood (where our offices are located) and the Bronx. Our programs include after-school youth workshops at the United Palace; our monthly Intergenerational Jazz Power Jam at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center; local community senior center workshops, and our annual Jazz Power Institute at Lehman College (CUNY) for artists and educators.

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is a museum dedicated to preservation and celebration of the jazz history of Harlem, Manhattan, New York City. Their vision is to make jazz accessible to everyone on the planet. They are a living, evolving museum for the people, center for jazz and a place in Harlem where visitors gather to enjoy history and music, and where artists come to play, rehearse, create or drop-in, even when no one else is there, just to be in the space that so many others have passed through.

Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center is a multi-disciplinary arts center in Washington Heights that showcases contemporary and classical Dominican and Latin American art, dance and music. Intergenerational learning, transnational and cross-cultural activities are the philosophical guidepost of the Center. Lessons and workshops in computer, arts making, popular and traditional dances and Afro-Latin percussion, as well as literary conferences, music and theatrical performances are provided free of charge. In addition, the Cultural Center is home to a state-of-the-art computer lab funded by Charter Communications.

Media Contact:

Janny Gonzalez Velasquez

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