Monday, September 2, 2013


Washington, DC – Rep. John Conyers, Jr., of Michigan, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, will once again serve as the Honorary Host of the 28th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) Jazz Issue Forum and Concert. The events will take place during the Foundation’s 43rd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), September 18-21, 2013, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (WEWCC), 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW, Washington, DC 20001.

 The Jazz Issue Forum, entitled, "Jazz Preservation and Education: The Kansas City Connection," will be held on Thursday, September 19th, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm, in Room 145A of the WEWCC. The panel discussion will focus on contemporary jazz preservation and education initiatives in Kansas City, MO and what implications those might have for the proposed National Jazz Preservation and Education Act, H.R. 2823.

The panelists will include Moderator Cedric Hendricks, ALC Jazz Executive Producer; Ms. Anita Dixon, Vice-President, Mutual Musicians Foundation-Kansas City; Gregg Carroll, Chief Executive Officer, American Jazz Museum – Kansas City; Dr. Larry Ridley, Jazz Education Consultant; Dr. James Hardy Patterson, Professor of Music, Clark Atlanta University; and Bobby Watson, Director of Jazz Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Issue Forum will also include Josh Kohn, Program Officer for Jazz & Traditional Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF), making a special presentation on the MAAF Project “Jazz.NEXT: Using Technology to Build A Healthy Sustainable Jazz Environment.”.

Cedric Hendricks will set the framework for the Forum with an update on H.R. 2823. Rep. John Conyers will also deliver remarks.

 The Jazz Concert will be held from 8:00 to 10:30 pm, in Ballroom A of the WEWCC. Doors for the concert open at 7:00 pm. Legendary bassist, Dr. Larry Ridley and saxophonist extraordinaire Bobby Watson will be honored and presented in concert. Rep. Conyers will present 2013 CBCF Jazz Legacy Awards to Dr. Ridley and Prof. Watson.INE CBCF JAZZ CONCERT ON SEPTEMBER 20th

 The concert will open with a performance by bassist/composer/bandleader/educator Dr. Larry Ridley and his Jazz Legacy Ensemble. Besides Dr. Ridley, the Jazz Legacy Ensemble consists of Richard Wyands, piano; Doug Harris, saxophone; and Greg Buford, drums.

A special feature of Dr. Ridley’s set will showcase the National Hand Dance Association Dancers demonstrating the profound relationship, but nearly lost art, of social dancing to modern jazz. Hugh Wyatt of the New York Daily News described Dr. Ridley as a “master bassist” and a “musician’s musician.”

He has been one of the most in-demand bassists of the past six decades, performing with over150 artists including Wes Montgomery, Carmen McRae, Freddie Hubbard, Thelonious Monk, David Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell, and Alicia Keys. Ridley has also recorded over 50 sessions as a sideman.

His recordings as a leader include Other Voices and Live at Rutgers University (with the Jazz Legacy Ensemble), and Sum of the Parts. Dr. Ridley served as Chairman, Music Department, Livingston College of Rutgers University, 1972-1980; Professor of Music, Rutgers University, 1972-1999, and has served as Professor Emeritus at Rutgers, beginning in 1999. He has served as Artist-in-Residence at a number of colleges, universities and institutions including Southern University, College of the Virgin Islands, University of Natal-Durban and the Schomburg Center/New York Public Library, where he has been in residence since 1993. Dr. Ridley’s numerous honors and awards include the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation's Living Legacy Jazz Award (1997), Howard University’s Benny Golson Award (2001) and the Don Redman Society’s Don Redman Heritage Award (2011). He has also been inducted into The International Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame (1998); Down Beat Magazine’s Jazz Education Hall of Fame (1999) and received the Rutgers University/Livingston College Legacy Award (2011).

 Headlining the concert will be alto saxophonist/composer/arranger/bandleader/educator Bobby Watson and his quintet, featuring Freddie Hendrix, trumpet; Richard Johnson, piano; Curtis Lundy, bass; and Eric Kennedy, drums. Blessed with sizzling and sinewy sound that Jazz: The Rough Guide described as “a highly individual, extraordinarily fluid style imbued with powerful feeling,”

Watson was born in Lawrence, Kansas, and grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. He started playing piano at ten, the clarinet one year later, took up the saxophone in the eighth grade, played in various concert and R&B bands in high school. He graduated from the University of Miami in 1975, moved to New York City.

Watson joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, serving as his Musical Director from 1977 to 1981. He has recorded over one hundred recordings as a sideman and has worked with an impressive array of artists including Max Roach, Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, Betty Carter and Lou Rawls. He was also a co-founder of the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet. Watson formed the group, Horizon in 1980. Horizon’s six recordings include No Question About It, Midwest Shuffle and Post-Motown Bop. Watson’s nearly thirty CD’s as a leader include Appointment in Milano, Round Trip, The Year of the Rabbit and his Kansas City opus, The Gates BBQ Suite. Watson’s compositions, “In Case You Missed It,” “Love Remains,” and “E.T.A,” are considered modern jazz standards. Prof. Watson taught at William Patterson University in the mid-eighties, and at the Manhattan School of Music from 1986 to 1999.

He returned to Kansas City in 2000, where he was selected as the recipient of the first William D. and Mary Grant Missouri Distinguished Professorship in Jazz Studies, the first endowed chair at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, where he continues to serve as the Conservatory’s Director of Jazz Studies.

Watson received Howard University’s Benny Golson Award earlier this year. Both the Jazz Issue Forum and the Jazz Concert are free and open to the public. Prospective Jazz Issue Forum and Jazz Concert attendees should register via the conference web site. Registration: Media Registration:

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