What is Jazz? You can go out and ask 100 people, musicians or not, and you may very well get 100 different answers. It is a term that is divisive, but a music that is concentrated and complex. Jonathan Batiste recently wrote a piece for CNN about this very subject and it makes for an interesting read. He brings his experience as a musician, composer, educator, and most of all, thinker to a subject that has everyone from Nicholas Payton to the New York Times arguing about it.
The Jazz Museum in Harlem has been going through some renovations throughout the past few years, and now with associate artistic director Jonathan Batiste on board, things have been going better than ever. Batiste is a masterful musician and educator. In his role at the museum Batiste has implemented the Jazz Is: Now! program in which Batiste and his Stay Human Band (now touring Europe) deconstructs jazz music for fans going through the music and history. Also on board with the museum is legendary bassist Christian McBride who, along with Batiste and artistic director Loren Schoenberg, are preparing to open a new 10,000-square-foot facility for the museum across from the Apollo Theater on 125th Street. Check out the New York Times article below and be sure to follow the programs going on at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.
Jonathan Batiste’s most recent project, the Stay Human Band, will be playing at Brooklyn Bowl 12/21 from 8-9pm along with Asher Roth. As Batiste describes it, “Our goal is to heal and unite people through music. We believe in the power of music as a tool to spread goodwill across the world. Our current focus is: New York City! Life is Magic. Let It Rip. Be You. Music Unites. Stay Human.” Throughout the past couple of months the Stay Human band has been posting up videos on Youtube of their city wide musical escapades. Check some out below.