South Arts Awards $2 Million in Grants to Jazz Musicians


Jamaaladeen Tacuma, one of 52 grant recipients, received $40,000 to return to his hometown in North Carolina and create a music work space .

(Photo: Courtesy South Arts)

South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization, awarded $2 million in grants in October to support jazz musicians through its Jazz Road initiative. The individual grants, which ranged from $24,700 to $40,000, were delivered to 52 musicians to support a wide variety of creative residencies. Drummer Jason Marsalis received $40,000 to partner with several New Orleans organizations to present the Congo Square Roots of Jazz Residency. Saxophonist Camille Thurman received $40,000 to celebrate the legacy of black women authors at North Carolina Central University.

The complete list includes the following artists:

Chico Freeman
San Diego, California
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Chicago
The Chico Freeman 19-piece Orchestra will create new extended suite with conductor John Kordalewski in honor of the Chicago legacy set by Freeman’s legendary father, Von Freeman. The University of Chicago, South Side Jazz Coalition and Constellation will be sites for open rehearsals and performances.

Edward Simon
Emeryville, California
Grant Amount: $39,990
Residency Locations: San Francisco and New York City
Residency host San Francisco Conservatory of Music will present and video Simon’s music previously commissioned through a Chamber Music America grant. Collaborator Magos Herrera will lecture on Mexican/Latin American Women in Music at the Conservatory.

John Escreet
San Gabriel, California
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: Los Angeles, New York and others
Escreet plans to create, workshop, record and perform new work for the pianist trio, including bassist Eric Revis and drummer Damion Reid. In-studio recording for a new album will lead to new release shows at The Jazz Gallery in New York and Sam First Jazz Club in Los Angeles.

Marcus Roberts
Grant Amount: $39,995
Residency Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Roberts plans to create, perform and record new work, “Tomorrow’s Promises” with the Modern Jazz Generation, a 10-piece ensemble, fusing his original music with narration and spoken word. This is a new exploration of multi-disciplinary work while experiencing new technology to assist those with visual impairment.

Sammy Figueroa
Miami Beach, Florida
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Miami
Figueroa plans to record an album of his late father’s most beloved songs (singer Charlie Figueroa) with arrangements by guests artists such as Gonzalo Rubalcaba, John Daversa and Martin Bejerano. The project includes a performance at the Summer Jazz Series at the Faena theater and workshops in Miami-Dade County public schools in alliance with Young Musicians Unite!

Wycliffe Gordon
Macon, Georgia
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Macon, Georgia
Gordon plans to partner with the Douglass Theatre in Macon to help foster a new jazz scene in the region by engaging students from local school districts and Fort Valley State University, as well as churches across central Georgia. Gordon will provide instruction and performance opportunities to residency participants.

Damon Locks
Chicago, Illinois
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Locks, along with Ben LaMar Gay and Arif Smith, will present a series of performances by the Black Monument Ensemble, partnering with the Big Ears Festival. The ensemble will work through a pair of Black monument sites in East Tennessee: the Children’s Defense Fund’s Alex Haley Farm and the Highlander Research and Education Center. The ensemble will visit Black artist groups and youth organizations focused on vulnerable communities for workshops. A final performance will be presented during the Big Ears Festival.

Ernest Dawkins
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Durham, North Carolina
Dawkins plans to create a new artistic work, “Refound Connections,” based on history and culture of Durham. He will offer performances, master classes and workshops for young musicians, partnering with Art of Cool Project. Audio and video documentation will be captured.

Joshua Abrams
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Chicago
Abrams plans to create new work to be recorded with a large ensemble that includes Chicago’s most active experimental performers. The music will be presented at Constellation and the South Side’s Stony Island Art Banks with Rebuild Foundation performance space. This space cultivates activism for cultural development and neighborhood transformation.

Mars Williams
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: New Orleans and Chicago
Williams will be in residence at Music Box Village in New Orleans to develop and premiere Devil’s Whistle. This is an extension of an earlier project for 13 interactive “musical houses” at Music Box Village, a community art project featuring artist-made musical installations on a forested plot in the Upper 9th Ward of New Orleans. Williams will collaborate with media director Kim Alpert to video and document. Elastic Arts and Experimental Music Studio in Chicago will also host performances. The Chicago-based orchestra will travel back to New Orleans for performance.

Aurora Nealand
New Orleans
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: New Orleans
Saxophonist/accordionist/vocalist Nealand and a core ensemble to include drummer Mikel Patrick Avery and other sonic collaborators will build a “practice co-op” for New Orleans creative composers to work in tandem with environmental, racial and social justice advocates.

Ben Jaffe
New Orleans
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
In partnership with the Big Ears Festival, two sections of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band will perform and do extensive outreach with the East Tennessee Bluegrass Association (to explore connections between bluegrass and New Orleans jazz), work with the mizik rasin band RAM to explore connections between New Orleans and Haitian-rooted beginnings, and Cattywampus Puppet Council to work with schools in giant puppet making for parades with Preservation Hall.

Donald Harrison
New Orleans
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: New Orlean
As a Mardi Gras Indian Chief, Harrison and band will work with the Congo Square Nation Afro-New Orleans Cultural Group and Guardians Institute for community outreach while Harrison plans to write, rehearse, record and perform new music. He will conduct workshops, lead discussions and host Q&As in the upper 9th Ward at the Donald Harrison Sr. Museum and Congo Square.

Jason Marsalis
New Orleans
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: New Orleans
Drummer Jason Marsalis and the 21st Century Trad Band with additional local jazz legends will partner with the Congo Square Preservation Society, New Orleans Jazz Museum, Jazz and Heritage School of Music, Ellis Marsalis Center and New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts in the Congo Square Roots of Jazz Residency. The project centers on three weeks of sessions within Living Classroom field trips, museum jazz labs and performances at Congo Square within Louis Armstrong Park to explore the roots of Bamboula and second line rhythms.

Felipe Salles
Florence, Massachusetts
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: Wakefield, Massachusetts and New York City
Salles and his Interconnections Ensemble will collaborate with eight guest composers including Paquito D’Rivera, Yosvanny Terry and Melissa Aldana to rehearse and record new work exploring immigration.

Mehmet Ali Sanlikol
Belmont, Massachusetts
Grant Amount: $36,350
Residency Location: Roslindale, Massachusetts
Sanlilol and his 19-piece Whatsnext? will write and record new compositions for jazz orchestra with guests including saxophonist Miguel Zenón, clarinetist Anat Cohen, and percussionist Antonio Sánchez. Music will fuse Western jazz and Middle Eastern modes, microtones, rhythms and draw on Muslim and Sufi literary and spirtual sources.

Terry Jenoure
Northfield, Massachusetts
Grant Amount: $31,516
Residency Locations: Northfield and Turner Falls, Massachusetts
Experimental vanguard violinist/vocalist Jenoure will work with her sextet to record a three-CD project of her 2020 composition “Portal” commissioned in partnership with Jazz Shares in Northampton, Massachusetts. Teaching and performance will underscore Jenoure’s role as a bandleader and Black Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx housing projects and will serve as a model for young women of color in a primarily white environment. Improvisation workshops at the Shea Theatre and evaluative meetings with collaborators and general public will be coordinated through partner Eggtooth Productions.

Marc Cary
Baltimore, Maryland
Grant Amount: $38,770
Residency Location: Washington, D.C.
Cary’s Indigenous People’s Arkestra will create a live recording and documentary of new work fusing jazz and go-go music, featuring local go-go pioneers and community leaders. Arts incubator partner Bloom Bars (DC) will promote open rehearsals, livestreams and Q&A sessions. A live recording will be released as an album, and a documentary will be made available through YouTube webisodes.

Adegoke Steve Colson
Montclair, New Jersey
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: New York City
Olson plans to write, rehearse, perform and audio/video document new extended work for octet celebrating the Harlem School for the Arts and renewing artistic practice with students across multiple disciplines, including dance and theater. Colson will collaborate with the Jazz Program to perform during the A Train Festival of the Arts. Master classes and performances for students, families and the community will also occur.

Delbert Anderson
Farmington, New Mexico
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: Multiple locations and regions
In partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, Anderson and his band DDAT will visit five Indigenous communities through Utah, Oregon and Idaho for residency workshops and tribal connection. A documentation team will be present.

Adam O’Farrill
Brooklyn, New York
Grant Amount: $24,700
Residency Location: Bethel, Maine
O’Farrill’s Stranger Days band will stay in rural Maine hosted by Morning Glory Farm to rehearse and infuse new work through the inspiration of organic farming. New music will be rehearsed and performed at the local Gem Theatre as well as the surrounding Albany Mountain Trail and Bethel Community Forest.

Andrew Drury
Brooklyn, New York
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: Conway, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Los Angeles; San Diego; New York City
Drury’s The Forest will rehearse and perform work in three regions to include venues, Cornish College (Seattle), Roulette (New York) and Tuckaway Farm Music Studio (Massachusetts). Community improvisations will take place at the U.S./Mexico border fence and rural New Hampshire for participatory drumming, soup, sauna and ice skating.

Aruán Ortiz
Brooklyn, New York
Grant Amount: $39,800
Residency Location: Dallas, Texas
Pastor’s Paradox Quartet (Aruan Ortiz alongside Don Byron, Lester St. Louis and Pheeroan AkLaff) will develop new music to be presented by Teatro Dallas. Ortiz will invite eight teen vocalists from Booker T. Washington High School’s music conservatory to perform. Other community engagement will take place through the Martin Luther King Community Center and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. The work will be filmed.

Bobby Previte
New York City
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Greensboro, North Carolina
Drummer Previte will rehearse and perform compositions from BLUEPRINTS, a project begun to foster local large ensemble development in Greensboro. Partner venues for performances include the Revolution Mill, Studio 413 and The Flat Iron. Lectures/master classes will take place for students at Greensboro’s North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the largest historically Black college in the U.S.

Camille Thurman
Newburgh, New York
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Durham, North Carolina
Celebrating the legacy of Black women authors including Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Ntozake Shange and others, saxophonist/vocalist Camille Thurman will partner with HBCU North Carolina Central University to perform and meet with students from multiple departments. Additional activities with the Durham Arts Council and Hayti Heritage Center will include performances and video documentation.

Clarence Penn
Brooklyn, New York
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: Black Mountain and Asheville, North Carolina
The drummer’s American Patchwork Quartet (Falu Shah, vocals; Clay Ross, guitar; Yasushi Nakamura, bass) will engage 60 students at Asheville High School for master classes and rehearsals. Two performances for 6,000 attendees will take place at the Lake Eden Arts Festival in Black Mountain, North Carolina. These communal activities will culminate in an album recording.

Craig S. Harris
New York City
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Harlem, New York
Harris and his Harlem Nightsongs Ensemble will enhance his long-standing residency at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Harlem. In the tradition of Charles Mingus and Sam Rivers, young musicians are invited to sub for elders. The public is invited to free afternoon rehearsals and evening performances. Pre-show talks on social issues will occur with invited speakers.

Elio Villafranca
Bronx, New York
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Springfield, Massachusetts
Villafranca plans to bring the 10-piece Jass Syncopators to Sonido Musica and String Village students in Springfield, Massachusetts, for a residency centering on the Yoruba and Arara cultures and intersections with jazz. Music will be recorded for final video presentation, in-person and streamed.

Fabian Almazan
New York City
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: Miami and Dallas
Cuban émigré pianist Almazan will interview residents of the Sacrifice Zones (“Black Snow,” Ocala Florida and more) and compose music for trio to include bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Henry Cole. Collaborators are visual stage light/sculptor Andrew Scott and international speaker Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, produced in partnership with Live Arts Miami.

Gordon “Ches” Smith
Brooklyn, New York
Grant Amount: $33,030
Residency Locations: New York City and Yorktown, Virginia
Smith’s We All Break ensemble is an exploration of his continued immersion in the tanbou (Haitian traditional drum). The project will expand the band’s palette of drumming and strengthen vocal work inspired by Port-au-Prince style drumming. Three intensive workshops with drum master will take place in Newport News, Virginia, and Brooklyn, New York.

Immanuel Wilkins
Brooklyn, New York
Grant Amount: $39,975
Residency Location: Philadelphia
Philadelphia jazz legend Odean Pope has mentored most of the city’s music scene and its emerging voices. One protege, Wilkins, coupled with Pope will produce a new “bespoke” ensemble in partnership with Ars Nova and provide community exploratory workshops. The residency will be documented.

Jaimie Branch
New York City
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: New York City
FLY OR DIE’s Jaimie Branch (with cellist Lester St. Louis, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Chad Taylor) will develop new music and visual work that is directly related to the Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn. Outdoor rehearsals, open studios and concerts will occur with partners 360 Record Shop, Erin Basie Pier and the Red Hook Art Project and Houses (NYC Housing Authority). Funds allow a highly professional recording process to follow, which also enables Branch’s full ownership of the master recordings.

Jason Moran
New York City
Grant Amount: $32,500
Residency Locations: New York City and Northridge, California
Moran’s composition will tie together multidisciplinary components to re-create and premiere the lost Martha Graham piece “Canticle.” In partnership with the Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, Moran and the Martha Graham Dance Company will collaborate with noted choreographers exploring street dance and dance rooted in Afro-Caribbean, Taiwanese and Lebanese perspectives. The work will premiere at The Soraya in March 2022.

M3 Musicians LLC (Mutual Mentorship for Musicians — Jen Shyu & Sara Serpa, co-founders)
New York City
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: New York City
Mutual Mentorship for Musicians, a 26-member cohort led by Jen Shyu and Sara Serpa, has commissioned 24 women, non-binary, BIPOC members to create work during a 10-day residency with video screenings, 24 performances over two nights, 12 workshops, symposiums and action panels in partnership with the Winter Jazz Fest in multiple locations around New York City.

Magos Herrera
New York City
Grant Amount: $39,929
Residency Location: New York City
A “tropical” residency for Mexican-born Herrera’s quartet to record (audio and video) her new music with the Knights Orchestra. The music was previously written through a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant. Herrera now has the opportunity to afford orchestral artists fees for rehearsals and recording.

Meg Okura
The Bronx, New York
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: New York City
The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble will perform and record music in conjunction with community conversations at Temple Israel in New York. A panel moderated by an equity and inclusion strategist and using the experiential interactive platform Mentimeter will precede a 75-minute live/streamed concert.

Melvin Gibbs
Brooklyn, New york
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: New York City and Los Angeles
The Harriet Tubman band will write, perform and record new work with the Los Angeles-based hip-hop/jazz artist Georgia Anne Muldrow. The new music and process will be professionally recorded and documented.

Michele Rosewoman
New York City
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: New York City
Co-commissioned by HotHouse International, Chicago and Arts for Art, NY, community partners Habana/Harlem and the Cuban Institute of Music’s Raul Cuza will join Rosewoman’s NewYorUba (with Francisco Mora Catlett and Roman Diaz) for performance, panel discussions and lectures. Video documentation and online broadcast will be offered through HotHouse Global to Cuba.

Miles Okazaki
Brooklyn, New York
Grant Amount: $30,900
Residency Location: Brooklyn, New York
Trickster (with Matt Mitchell, Sean Rickman, Anthony Tidd) will rehearse, record and perform music leading to three CDs in early 2022. The band will perform the new work at SEEDS in Brooklyn and publicize free afternoon concerts for children not able to participate in formal jazz education.

Nasheet Waits
New York City
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: Jackson, Mississippi, and North Carolina
WeUpReUp (Waits, Eric Revis and JD Allen) is a manifesto/forum to promote Black music to Black students/young adults. Project director Maya Cunningham of DuBois Black Music Project at UMass-Amherst and artists will partner in the South with North Carolina Central University’s Jazz Studies Department and visit Jackson Mississippi Tourism, Godbolt Consultant, Tougalou College and Jackson State University. Offerings include master classes and two Black Music Symposiums on African-American identity in jazz and the music/activism of master Max Roach. The band will perform at the Jackson Visitors Center and the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Nona Hendryx
New York City
Grant Amount: $39,395
Residency Locations: New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts
Hendryx (with percussionist Will Calhoun and keyboardist Etienne Stadwijk) is commissioned by Central Square Theater in Massachusetts to create music for a new play, Young Nerds of Color. She will also write a stand-alone suite of compositions inspired by the project.

Ronnie Burrage
Brooklyn, New York
Grant Amount: $31,550
Residency Locations: Brooklyn and Old Westbury, New York, plus St. Louis, Missouri
Burrage and the Holographic Principle revisit his St. Louis roots for week-long residencies in partnership with the Walt Whitman Theater, Brooklyn College PAC, the ZACK at Kranzberg Arts Center in St. Louis and SUNY-Old Westbury. New music, e-book and multidisciplinary work will be produced based on music as a social justice tool, source of healing and community grounding. Workshops will culminate in performances.

Naima Lowe
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: Multiple
Artists travel the South researching all-Black towns from Oklahoma to South Carolina; the residency culminates in a music creation workshop in Bamberg, South Carolina.

Jamaaladeen Tacuma
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Whiteville, North Carolina
Tacuma plans to return to his family’s hometown of Whiteville and create a new work space in a former church for new work development informed by elders and local community leaders. Multigenerational social gatherings and performances will be documented at potential sites such as a local restaurant, the House of Blues, Myrtle Beach and the Wilmington Riverview Amphitheater.

Orrin Evans
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: Washington D.C., Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Evans will bring his Captain Black Big Band to the DC Jazz Festival and promote a musical/cultural exchange between D.C. and Philadelphia. Evans will emphasize the big band as a cohesive small ensemble, provide big band workshops and premiere the new work inspired by the residency with the participation of many D.C. artists.

William Cepeda
Loiza, Puerto Rico
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Puerto Rico
Cepeda will create the 20-piece Big Band Jazz Orchestra of Puerto Rico to integrate Puerto Rican folkloric genres into the contemporary jazz big band format. Partnering with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, Old San Juan Heritage Foundation, Municipality of Loiza and the Ponce Art Museum, performances and recordings will take place throughout multiple locations.

Gregory Tardy
Knoxville, Tennessee
Grant Amount: $39,665
Residency Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Tardy will develop, rehearse and perform new work with a large ensemble based on the novel Pilgrim’s Progress also involving the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. Open rehearsals will take place at the West Park Baptists Church. Performances will take place at the Cumberland County Playhouse in rural Crossville and culminate with a video recording for the East Tennessee PBS affiliated Live at Lucille’s.

Lisa E. Harris
Houston, Texas
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Dallas
With partner Ballroom Marfa, this residency is focused on the society culture of segregated Dallas, Texas, and will allow for creation of a sonic and visual expression of the Dream Album with the ensemble.

Kip Hanrahan
Reston, Virginia
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Locations: Brooklyn, New York
Hanrahan plans to write and record next two volumes ofA Thousand Nights work which became known as the Arabian Nights in the mid-1980s and produced three recordings. The newly assembled large ensemble includes some of today’s most notable Latin jazz artists and will also include vocalists Carmen Lundy and Xiomara Laggard. Author Ishmael Reed will contribute lyrics for three of the songs.

Amy Denio, representing the Tiptons Sax Quartet
Seattle, Washington
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Seattle, Washington
The Tiptons Sax Quartet with duo Correo Aereo and virtual reality artist/technologist, queer Asian-American Jude Dai will collaborate on new work performance and recording in partnership with Earshot Jazz Festival, Chief Sealth International High School and the Seattle Composer Alliance.

Johnaye Kendrick
Tacoma, Washington
Grant Amount: $39,925
Residency Location: Joshua Tree, California
Kendrick plans to create, workshop, record and edit the vocal arrangements for the debut album of new, Washington-based collaborative vocal ensemble, säje, featuring Kendrick alongside Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor and Erin Bentlage. The recording will feature luminaries such as Terri Lyne Carrington, India.Arie and Gerald Clayton.

Julia Keefe
Spokane, Washington
Grant Amount: $40,000
Residency Location: Olympia, Washington
Creating new music for all-indigenous big band, the Native American Big Band, Keefe will involve tribal leaders in the region and connect communities with a link to the rich history of Native Americans in Jazz. The debut performance will take place at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts and include professional videography.

In addition to the residencies, South Arts continues to accept applications for Jazz Road Tours, offering grants of up to $1,5000. For more information, go to DB

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