April President’s Letter: Jazz Appreciation Month 2022

A Jazz Bridge Concert that reminds us what jazz does best: it serves and builds community.

I rarely get nervous before a performance. Instead, I find myself excited by the unknown. I eagerly anticipate the moments when the musicians will transcend the notes – when the music takes us and the audience to a new place. 

Working with new musicians often heightens that experience – all the more with younger musicians. When Jazz Bridge Executive Director Kim Tucker offered me an opportunity to present a Jazz Appreciation Month concert, I immediately thought of the young musicians I admired: saxophonist Henry Tirfe, pianist Micah Graves, and drummer Lionel Forrester, Jr. 

Kim humorously dubbed this group the “Young and Restless Band.” Indeed the performance was restless, but in no way immature or unfocused. It had a crackling intensity that lifted me.

The experience was yet another confirmation of the promise of our soon-to-be-launched Passages program. Passages will connect musicians across generations using the jam session medium as a foundation for mentorship, storytelling, and transference of cultural knowledge. When youthful energy meets seasoned experience, everyone gets lifted.

A shout out to Jacob’s Northwest, the Mt. Airy venue that hosted the event. I love that Jazz Appreciation Month injects jazz into the various corners of our community. This is what jazz does best: it serves and builds community. It connects us across the barriers that often divide us: age, gender, and race. You know; the usual suspects. Thank goodness jazz is anything but “the usual.”

With Gratitude,
Gerald Veasley
President, Jazz Philadelphia


Watch the recording