Jazz In Brief


Tom Harrell is among the recipients of a second round of Jazz Coalition grants.

(Photo: Angela Harrell)

Grants Announced: Efforts to offset the financial setbacks performers face because of the coronavirus pandemic continue, with the Jazz Coalition, a nonprofit granting organization, announcing its second round of $1,000 allocations on Aug. 18. Artists who will be composing new works and premiering them after the pandemic recedes include trumpeter Tom Harrell, drummers Allison Miller and Makaya McCraven, and pianist Sullivan Fortner. To date, the coalition has dispensed more than $100,000 to musicians, according to a press release.

Life After Healdsburg: After founding California’s Healdsburg Jazz Festival 22 years ago, Jessica Felix is set to step away from her role as artistic director in September. The Los Angeles-born Felix first worked at the Keystone Korner jazz venue in the North Beach area of San Francisco and eventually moved north, opening a jewelry shop, where her stereo continuously spilled out jazz. Her work planning and hosting shows and listening sessions morphed into founding the festival in 1999. “I want to relax, travel, socialize and make my jewelry again,” Felix said about the future. “It’s time to be in the audience.”

Final Bar: Helen Jones Woods, trombonist in the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, died from COVID-19 on July 25 in Sarasota, Florida, at the age of 96. Her pioneering ensemble—an all-female, interracial band—toured the country and performed overseas for troops during World War II. The band only cut a few sides, and Woods eventually stepped away from music, turning to work as a nurse and social worker. ... Drummer Charli Persip died Aug. 23 in New York at the age of 91. Persip frequently worked alongside folks like Dizzy Gillespie and Lee Morgan, while also leading a big band and teaching at The New School in New York. ... Saxophonist Steve Grossman, who led a career that found him in 1970s ensembles led by Miles Davis and Elvin Jones, died Aug. 13 in New York State. ... Don McCaslin, a Bay Area multi-instrumentalist and the father of saxophonist Donny McCaslin, died July 16 at the age of 93 in Capitola, just outside of Santa Cruz. The elder McCaslin’s ensemble Warmth was an area mainstay and served as an early platform for his musically inclined son.

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