By Woodrow Wilkins, Jr.

Delta Democrat Times Newspaper
Greenville, Mississippi

September 1, 2005

Ron Myers
Woodrow Wilkins, Jr., Photographer, Greenville, MS
From left, Dr. Ron Myers, Robert "Mr. Sign" Blackmon and Chef Johnny Harris
sample gumbo for the Mississippi Jazz and Heritage Festival.

(GREENVILLE, MS) ó The Delta may be the birthplace of the blues, but this weekend, the focus will be on jazz.

On Saturday, the Myers Foundation, the Black Arts Music Society, Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center and the Mississippi Jazz and Heritage Program will present the 10th annual Mississippi Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The event will feature a hot tamale contest; Chef Johnny's Red Beans, Rice and Jambalaya; Sylvia's Original Louisiana Seafood Gumbo; elementary and high school jazz workshops; and exhibit booths.

The workshops will be Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Fulwiler Elementry School, and Saturday at 11 a.m. at Greenville-Weston High School.

The main event, of course, is the jazz festival, to be held Saturday at the Ramada Inn, 2700 U.S. 82 E. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

The festival will also be used to help people who evacuated because of Hurricane Katrina. Myers has asked that guests bring canned goods and other non-perishable food items that will be given to storm refugees who are staying in the area.

The event was organized by Dr. Ron Myers, a physician, minister and jazz musician.

"Mississippi has a rich jazz legacy, and it's important to preserve that legacy and share with the future,” he said. "We know that the Delta has the blues, but it also has a rich jazz legacy, with great jazz musicians, such as Mulgrew Miller from Greenwood, and the greatest jazz composer of today’s times, Gerald Wilson of Shelby.” Myers, who plays trumpet and piano, will be joined on stage by several Greenville-area musicians: Aaron Smith, alto sax and flute; Leonard McIntosh, tenor sax; David Jones, tenor sax; Roy Schilling, guitar; Billy Smiley, guitar; Joshua Hall, drums and percussion; Hal Holbrook, drums and percussion; Derrick Brown, bass, trombone and reeds; and Rodrick Shannon, drums and percussion.

The festival schedule follows:

* 6 p.m. - Ron Myers & The Mississippi Delta Jazz Connection
* 7 p.m. - Wilton Knott and the Mississippi Delta Youth Percussion Ensemble
* 8 p.m. - The Greenville Young Jazz All Stars, directed by Billy Smiley, band director at Coleman Middle School
* 9 p.m. - The All Star Trio: Terry Biaoni, piano; Ralph Marrow, bass; Hal Holbrook, drums
* 10 p.m. - Ron Myers & The Mississippi Delta Jazz Connection, with special guests: Barry Bays, bass; Wilton Knott, congas and percussion; Dr. London Branch of Jackson State University, bass; and Alvin Fielder, drums
* Midnight - Special Jazz Birthday Celebration for Lloyd Moore (all musicians are welcome to sit in and jam.)

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