Press Release GRANT GREEN ST. LOUIS MEMORIAL JUNETEENTH JAZZ & HERITAGE EVENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (5/29/12)

Contact: Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman
             National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
             662-392-2016    662-247-1471
             e-mail: JuneteenthDOC@yahoo.com
             web site: www.NationalJuneteenth.com
             web site: www.JuneteenthJazz.com

             Rev. William Gwynn, Secretary
             National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
             314-956-7049
             e-mail: dapreach2000@yahoo.com
             web sites: www.njclc.com


2012 Grant Green St. Louis Memorial Juneteenth Jazz & Heritage Event

2012 Black Music Month Juneteenth Jazz &
Heritage Event Features Ron Myers


Horn In The Corn Grant Green
Ron Myers                                        Grant Green


(St. Louis, Missouri) - St. Louis rich African American jazz heritage and legacy will be celebrated during the Grant Green St. Louis Memorial Juneteenth Jazz & Heritage Event. The event is hosted by Hope of Glory Christian Assembly, Rev. William Gwynn, Pastor, on Monday, June 4, 2012, 2416 N. Newstead Avenue, at 7:00pm.

Juneteenth is officially recognized as a state holiday observance in Missouri, joining a total of 41 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Congress in the recognition of America's 2nd Independence Day. The event is sponsored by the National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP) and is a part of the "June is Black Music Month!" - CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH JAZZ - "Preserving Our African American Jazz Legacy!" national concert series.

Juneteenth commemorates the day when slaves in the last geographic area in America where slavery existed learned of their freedom. This took place on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, when Union General Gordon Granger read General Order #3, announcing that "all slaves are free" by Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, and issued on January 1, 1863. It took over two and a half years for the news to travel to southwest Texas. The National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign continues to work to establish Juneteenth as a National Holiday Observance in America.

The festival is in honor of the late legendary jazz St. Louis native jazz guitarist, Grant Green.

Grant Green was born in St. Louis on June 6, 1931, learned his instrument in grade school from his guitar-playing father and was playing professionally by the age of thirteen with a gospel group. He worked gigs in his home town and in East St. Louis, IL, until he moved to New York in 1960 at the suggestion of Lou Donaldson. Green told Dan Morgenstern in a Down Beat interview: "The first thing I learned to play was boogie-woogie. Then I had to do a lot of rock & roll. It's all blues, anyhow."

His extensive foundation in R&B combined with a mastery of bebop and simplicity that put expressiveness ahead of technical expertise. Green was a superb blues interpreter, and his later material was predominantly blues and R&B, though he was also a wondrous ballad and standards soloist. He was a particular admirer of Charlie Parker, and his phrasing often reflected it. Green played in the '50s with Jimmy Forrest, Harry Edison, and Lou Donaldson.

He also collaborated with many organists, among them Brother Jack McDuff, Sam Lazar, Baby Face Willette, Gloria Coleman, Big John Patton, and Larry Young. During the early '60s, both his fluid, tasteful playing in organ/guitar/drum combos and his other dates for Blue Note established Green as a star, though he seldom got the critical respect given other players. He was off the scene for a bit in the mid-'60s, but came back strong in the late '60s and '70s. Green played with Stanley Turrentine, Dave Bailey, Yusef Lateef, Joe Henderson, Hank Mobley, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Elvin Jones.

Sadly, drug problems interrupted his career in the '60s, and undoubtedly contributed to the illness he suffered in the late '70s. Green was hospitalized in 1978 and died a year later. Despite some rather uneven LPs near the end of his career, the great body of his work represents marvelous soul-jazz, bebop, and blues.

A severely underrated player during his lifetime, Grant Green is one of the great unsung heroes of jazz guitar. Like Stanley Turrentine, he tends to be left out of the books. Although he mentions Charlie Christian and Jimmy Raney as influences, Green always claimed he listened to horn players (Charlie Parker and Miles Davis) and not other guitar players, and it shows. No other player has this kind of single-note linearity (he avoids chordal playing). There is very little of the intellectual element in Green's playing, and his technique is always at the service of his music. And it is music, plain and simple, that makes Green unique.

Green's playing is immediately recognizable -- perhaps more than any other guitarist. Green has been almost systematically ignored by jazz buffs with a bent to the cool side, and he has only recently begun to be appreciated for his incredible musicality. Perhaps no guitarist has ever handled standards and ballads with the brilliance of Grant Green. Mosaic, the nation's premier jazz reissue label, issued a wonderful collection The Complete Blue Note Recordings with Sonny Clark, featuring prime early '60s Green albums plus unissued tracks. Some of the finest examples of Green's work can be found there.

The event's featured artist will be accomplished jazz pianist and trumpeter, National Juneteenth Jazz Artist, Ron Myers. Myers was the guest artist at the 2006 Lifting the Legacy: MO' Music & Juneteenth Jazz Concert, honoring jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, in East St. Louis, IL. Myers has also performed and recorded with the late legendary Kansas City native jazz drummer "Delightful Dee" Al Bartee.

Information about the event can be found at www.JazzMissouri.com or www.JuneteenthJazz.com. Also contact Rev. William Gwynn at 314-956-7049, Dr. Ron Myers at 662-392-2016, e-mail: JuneteenthDOC@yahoo.com or web site: www.NationalJuneteenth.com.

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