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Bronx Rising: Jazz Appreciation Month
April 12 @ 6:00 AM - 8:30 PM| Free, $5 suggested donation
Akua Dixon & Quartette Indigo
The Maxine Sullivan Women in Jazz Series is curated by Valerie Capers, Elena Martínez & Bobby Sanabria
Pre-concert roundtable discussion, “Women & the NYC Jazz Scene”
Maxine Sullivan was a jazz vocalist who lived nearby on Ritter St. and founded the House That Jazz Built. She came to NYC in 1937 from Pennsylvania. In her first week in NYC he played in 52nd St, clubs and made her debut recording with Claude Thornhill Orchestra. Thornhill suggested she do a swing version of the Scottish folk song, “Loch Lomond.” This song gave her international acclaim. In 1940 she was performing with John Kirby (a bandleader and her husband) on a national radio program called “Flow Gently Sweet Rhythm.” They were one of the first Black jazz musician to have their own radio program. In 1938 she as in the movie Going Places with Louis Armstrong. She started to stay home and raise her daughter and did a lot of community organizing from her home. Jam sessions at home. The house on Stebbins Avenue was 2 story home which had been converted to a boardinghouse for musicians like trombonist Vic Dickenson and drummer Marquis Foster. When her 4th husband pianist Cliff Jackson died in 1979 Sullivan wanted to open a jazz community center and museum dedicated to her late husband at Stebbins Avenue house. She called it The House That Jazz Built and the grand opening was July 19th, 1975.
Akua Dixon bio: Cellist-composer-Conductor, is a native of New York City (and former Bronxite). A graduate of the famed H.S. of Performing Arts, she studied cello with Benar Heifetz and composition with Rudolf Schramm. Akua studied bass concepts with Reggie Workman and Jazz Practice Techniques with Jimmy Owens, at the Collective Black Artists Institution of Education. She is the 1998 recipient of “The African American Classical Music Award”, given by the Northern New Jersey Spelman Alumnae Association. Among the many noted artists she has performed with a few are: Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Max Roach, Betty Carter, Ray Charles, Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Eubie Blake, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Diana Ross, Bob Hope, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Liza Minnelli, etc. She has been engaged at many Broadway shows, including: Doonesbury, Barnum, La Cage aux Faux, Evita, Jerry’s Girls, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Cats, and Dreamgirls. Her first professional job was as a member of the famed Apollo Theatre Orchestra. In 1973, she founded her own string quartet, Quartette Indigo. They have been called “jazz’s leading string quartet” by some critics. The quartet’s repertoire features original works and arrangements of jazz classics, by Akua. In 1978, she founded the Akua Dixon String Ensemble, which has supplied string sections for Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Carmen McRae, Woody Shaw, Frank Foster, Jimmy Heath, Pharaoh Saunders, Buster Williams, and Antonio Hart. In 1974, she was the Director of New Music for “The String Reunion,” a New York based string orchestra formed by Noel Pointer. She supplied originals and arrangements of jazz classics for this.
Pre-concert discussion will include violist Maxine Roach, saxophonist Carol Sudhalter and others.