Since its 2018 debut, the Jazz Philadelphia Summit has been dedicated to union and communion with a twist of positivity through a series of live music events, panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities all based around what it means to make – to be – jazz in this area. Curated and organized by Jazz Philadelphia President Gerald Veasley and Executive Director Heather Shayne Blakeslee, the Summit has been geared toward having the best minds of their generation – Philly and beyond – talking about the madness and marvel of jazz, how to best present it, find then maximize its audiences and get money for it.
Bang. COVID-19 may have slowed the roll of the annual Jazz Philadelphia Summit, but a pandemic could not stop the music. That means the 2020’s Jazz Philadelphia Summit’s October 9 and 10 events, meet-ups, and chats (heavy this year on new technologies, BLM, social justice, mental health and overall wellness) are all ZOOM, with live-streamed performances throughout the mini-fest (Friday and Saturday, $15-$250, www.jazzphiladelphia.org).
“We’re really looking forward to convening everyone, acknowledging our massive challenges, and offering big ideas and dialogue to help us all look forward to recovery and rebuilding,” Blakeslee told me back in August of October’s oncoming Jazz Philadelphia Summit.
An all ZOOM Jazz Philadelphia Summit means everything from London-to-Philly transplant bassist Anthony Tidd talking about creating his all-virtual Act4Music live platform, to drummer-composer Terri Lyne Carrington (this year’s keynote speaker) and pianist Vijay Iyer discussing their roles toward change within the jazz industry to local legendary bassist-composer Christian McBride closing out the Summit on an uplifting note, musically, spiritually and communally.
“This is a resilient, creative community, and they will not be held back by anything,” said Gerald Veasley to me during an August conversation on the topic of jazz in Philly. “Not COVID, not the shutdown, not the civil unrest. We’re moving forward.”