On September 18 through 21, 2014 in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, USA - OUTBEAT JAZZ FESTIVAL took place: America's First Queer Jazz Festival
The idea of Chris Bartlett - Executive Director of The William Way LGBT Center in Philadelphia - this jazz festival was created to present some of the more well known - and, the not-so-well-known - jazz musicians who identify as either Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Trans. Generous financial support came from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, while The Philadelphia Jazz Project was a sponsored project of The Painted Bride Art Center with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation.
It can be argued that the jazz genre is very homophobic among the genres of the music world, and there are very few who are 'out' and identify proudly in this industry. This event then can be heralded as being an historic one that was important to catch on video so that whoever can see this can see a sampling of the wide variety of styles within jazz that are represented herein. Both national and local-to-Philadelphia jazz musicians took part in this festival that included speaking panels and concerts taking place in seven venues across town over four days, with the final day being an all-day affair that began at 1pm and went until 11pm.
This video was made possible by the generous donations of both friends and strangers from three continents who gave to my crowd funding campaign on the GoFundMe site. I raised over $3,500 that allowed me to travel from the bay area, San Francisco to Philadelphia and shoot video at 99% of the events taking place:http://www.gofundme.com/c3m2rw
I decided to create this clip starting with an introduction by Homer Jackson, the director of The Philadelphia Jazz Project, and artistic director behind an evening dedicated to the memory of legendary 'out' gay pianist and composer, Billy Strayhorn. From that introduction on, the 39+ minutes spans an impressive line-up that is not placed in chronological order, but rather in a way that demonstrates the range of performers chosen by the Outbeat production staff.
The artists seen here are made up of mainly gay and lesbian identified artists who are also bandleaders, and one trans jazz artist, Jennifer Leitham. I chose a segment from an interview I conducted with Jennifer to close out this video piece because she touches upon another issue in jazz that is related to homophobia: gender. All these bandleaders are seen here playing with a mix of straight allies along with other LGBT identified musicians and spoken word artists.
The artists seen in oder in this clip that I can list at this time (more details will be added as I learn of each musician's names:
Vocalist Keisha Slaughter - as part of The Philadelphia Jazz Project; Drummer Bill Stewart; Pianist Fred Hersch; Vocalist David Coss; Ensemble TreZure Empire; Pianist Patricia Barber; Guitarist Monnette Sudler; Pianist Ben Flint; Saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo;
Pianist Dena DeRose; Pianist Dena Underwood; Vocalist Eddie Bruce - as part of The Philadelphia Jazz Project; Flautist Elliot Levin - as part of The Philadelphia Jazz Project;
Bassist Jennifer Leitham; Vocalist Jaye Sanders (in a duo w/ Dena Underwood); Spoken word artist Lamont Dixon - as part of The Philadelphia Jazz Project; Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington; Saxophonist Tia Fuller, Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen & Vocalist Joanna Teters - as part of Terri Lyne Carrington's 'Mosaic Project'; Pianist - unknown to me at this time - as part of Terri Lyne Carrington's 'Mosaic Project'; Vocalist Andy Bey; and Bassist Jennifer Leitham speaking about gender identity and music in general.
Here's a post-festival article from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.c...