Music in memoriam

The NEA Jazz Masters will play a concert at Flushing Town Hall in tribute to trombonist Benny Powell, a member of their ensemble who died this year. Photo by Norm Harris
By Morgan Rousseau

Flushing Town Hall will pay homage to a recently deceased jazz artist this month, dubbing its annual NEA Jazz Masters concert “A Tribute To Benny Powell.”

The musical tribute on Nov. 19 will honor the New Orleans-born trombonist, who died in June at the age of 80. Powell played in the Jazz Masters Annual Concert at Flushing Town Hall.

“Flushing Town Hall wanted to host a tribute to Benny Powell because he was a lovable and supportive human being for the performing arts and one of the world’s most prolific trombonists,” said Flushing Town Hall jazz producer Clyde Bullard.

The concert will feature National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Jimmy Heath on saxophone, Barry Harris on piano, Jim Hall on guitar, Curtis Fuller on trombone, David Wong on bass and Tootie Heath on drums.

Powell was a member of Lionel Hampton’s big band and gained national attention during his 12-year tenure in Count Basie’s orchestra from 1951-1963. After parting ways with Basie, Powell embarked upon a rich, diverse musical career while also freelancing in New York City. He worked extensively on Broadway, television and numerous recordings.

Powell first began his association with Flushing Town Hall five years ago with the group called The Jazz Masters, which was later renamed NEA Jazz Masters because at that time Clark Terry, Barry Harris and Jimmy Heath had received Jazz Masters awards from National Endowment for the Arts. The awards are the most prestigious in America that can be bestowed on a jazz musician.

Bullard said Powell would have surely been inducted as an NEA Jazz Master had he not died.

“We remember the educational performances he did for children at Flushing Town Hall, the Benny Powell Quartet concerts, his concerts with the NEA Jazz Masters and the secret requests to bring him some Haagen Dazs ice cream before some of his concerts at Flushing Town Hall. We will miss this great man,” Bullard said.

The music and arts events at Flushing Town Hall are put together by Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts. For 30 years, FCCA has offered the Queens community arts and educational programs at the Town Hall and provided services to local artists, arts organizations and community residents. In addition to presenting jazz concerts, the FCCA also hosts cultural art exhibits, dance workshops, world music events and exercise classes.

The FCCA 2010 Jazz Series is made possible with support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Queens Borough President Helen Marshall; City Councilmembers Leroy Comrie, Julissa Ferreras, Dan Halloran and Peter Koo; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, a program developed and funded by the Heinz Endowments; the William Penn Foundation; Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; and The Pew Charitable Trusts; and administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation and Siebert Branford Shank.

If You Go

The NEA Jazz Masters

When: Nov. 19, 8 p.m.

Where: Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing

Cost: $40, $32 for members, $20 for students with ID

Contact: Box office, 718-463-7700 ext. 222

Web site: www.flushingtownhall.org

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