Garifuna American Jazz Vocalist LUCY BLANCO and her AFRI-GARIFUNA JAZZ ENSEMBLE to Perform at Tribute to Brooklyn Educator and Activist JITU WEUSI on MONDAY October 21st 2013 in Brooklyn

Garifuna American Jazz Vocalist Lucy Blanco and her Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble in Harlem in 2011.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.

Garifuna American Jazz Vocalist Lucy Blanco and her Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble in Harlem in 2011. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.

Copyright 2013 by Teofilo Colon Jr.  (a.k.a. “Tio Teo” or “Teofilo Campeon”)  All Rights Reserved.  PHONE: (646) 961-3674.

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Brooklyn, New York:  Garifuna American Jazz Vocalist LUCY BLANCO and her Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble will join Jazz Vocalist REVALYN GOLD and her progressive jazz ensemble, Washington DC based Gold Standard Jazz; for a special tribute to Brooklyn Educator, Activist and Jazz Promoter JITU WEUSI, who passed away on May 22nd 2013 from kidney cancer.  They will also pay tribute to West Coast Jazz Musicians who also passed away recently and have guided and mentored both vocalists musical development.   This  tribute will take place on MONDAY, October 21st 2013 at 7pm as part of the For My Sweet Jazzy Mondays Series at Brooklyn’s For My Sweet Event and Garden Space.

Garifuna Jazz Vocalist Lucy Blanco in Harlem.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Jazz Vocalist Lucy Blanco in Harlem. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble features seasoned musicians who lead bands of their own and have come together for this performance include founding members Garifuna American Jazz Vocalist Lucy Blanco and Garifuna Musician James Lovell.  The remaining ensemble members include Violinist Eva Lou Vossmerbauemer, Dre Barnes on keyboards, Gary Fritz on percussion and Eric Lemon on bass guitar. The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble fuses the language, rhythm and percussive instruments of Garifuna music with Jazz, America’s classical music, to create a new sound.  The ensemble has performed at various venues throughout the city to well received audiences.

Gold Standard Jazz, takes a unique approach to the songs of Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Bobby Hutcherson and Charles Mingus.   This Jazz Ensemble features Revalyn Gold (lead vocals), Tuomo Uusitalo on piano, Luke Stewart on bass guitar, Terry Koger on alto saxophone, and Bernard Linnette on drums.  This Washington D.C. progressive Jazz Ensemble has performed to enthusiastic audiences in Washington D.C. and New York. The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble and Gold Standard Jazz invite jazz enthusiasts to celebrate the passion and love for music, education and the arts that is embodied in the work left behind by jazz giants Billy Higgins, Horace Tapscott, Al McKibbon, Dini Clark, Michael Andrews, Dr. Derrick Finch, Gerryck King, Dahl Scott-McDuff, Sidno Garner, Michael Rose, Carl Randall and jazz patron Baba Jitu Weusi of the Brooklyn Jazz Consortium.

When talking about Jitu Weusi and his professional relationship to the Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble, Lucy Blanco explained,

“What struck me as special about JITU WEUSI is that when I told him about what we are trying to do with our music; he gave the Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble a CHANCE, without even hearing what we sounded like.  He’s a big advocate of knowing your heritage and the arts and upon hearing us; he continued to support us and gave us a platform to introduce our music to a new community.   It’s an honor to pay tribute to him and in some small way pay back what BABA JITU WEUSI immeasurably gave to us.”  — Jazz Vocalist LUCY BLANCO 

Brooklyn based Educator, Activist and Jazz Promoter, JITU WEUSI.  Photo courtesy of NY1.

Brooklyn based Educator, Activist and Jazz Promoter, JITU WEUSI. Photo courtesy of NY1.

Jitu Weusi (born Leslie Robert Campbell) was an Educator, Community Activist and Jazz Promoter based in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.  He passed away after a battle with Kidney Cancer on May 22nd 2013.  According to Caribbean Life journalist, Vinette K. Pryce, a public school teacher in the 1960s Mr. Jitu Weusi was part of the “controversial stance to challenge the Board of Education by demanding community control of schools.  This indelibly placed him front and center in the struggle to decentralize schools in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville campaign.  He demonstrated a model of his alternative by establishing an independent school named Uhuru Sasa Shule”. — This cultural and educational center (‘Uhuru Sasa Shule’ is Swahili for ‘Freedom Now School’) in Bedford-Stuyvesant/Fort Greene, Brooklyn focused on its Pan-Africanist philosophy.  It was an extension of The East, which was formed when he was an advisor to an organization of Black youth in 1969 called The African American Students Association.  This cultural and educational center founded in 1969 lasted until 1985.

Brooklyn based Educator, Activist and Jazz Promoter, JITU WEUSI.  Photo courtesy of The New York Daily News.

Brooklyn based Educator, Activist and Jazz Promoter, JITU WEUSI. Photo courtesy of The New York Daily News.

Mr. Jitu Weusi was one of the founders of the Black United Front, the annual International African Arts Festival at Boys and Girls High School (initially known as the African Street Festival) and the Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival. — The special edition of the For My Sweet Jazzy Mondays series will take place on Monday, October 21st 2013 at 7pm.  Doors open at 6pm.  Admission is $10.  Food and Drinks are available for purchase.

For My Sweet Garden and Event Space

1103 Fulton Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11238

(C Train to Franklin Avenue or B25 Bus to Classon Avenue and Fulton St)

For more information, email [email protected] or call (718) 753-3302.

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— – Teofilo Colon Jr.

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