For more than 30 years, the Jazz Foundation of America has worked to keep jazz, blues and R&B alive by providing assistance to musicians in need. The non-profit provides everything from housing assistance to teaching jobs to hundreds of musicians and has helped artists with basic living expenses during the COVID-19 crisis.
To raise funds for the foundation, drummer Steve Jordan and promotor Peter Shapiro are staging Red, White, Black & Blues, a 16-hour journey through black American live music. Beginning on Saturday, July 25th at 9 a.m., Shapiro’s Fans.com will stream classic performances by Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Beyoncé, Bill Withers, Billie Holiday, Chance the Rapper, Little Richard, Kendrick Lamar, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and more, telling the story of black music through classic archival performances.
“Jazz, blues and gospel are African-American art forms,” says Steve Jordan, the drummer and artistic director of the Jazz Foundation of America. “They are the basis of rock & roll. They are also the bedrock of American pop culture. American pop culture has turned out to be our greatest export. The universal language of music is undeniable, unmistakable and unstoppable.”
The event will also feature clips from Missy Elliot, Muddy Waters, Notorious B.I.G., Otis Redding, OutKast, Patti Labelle, Run D.M.C., Sade and more, and will not be in chronological order. Peter Shapiro, the veteran music promoter and founder of Dayglo, is executive producing the event, streaming it on his website, Fans.com.
“We thought the best way to showcase the unmatched influence that black performers have on music that defines America and the American identity was to actually show it,” Shapiro says. “So, we edited 16 hours of video together, featuring the most amazing live performances by black American artists over the past 90 years. It’s a very powerful thing to watch, and it becomes quite clear quickly that the story of popular music in America is driven by the story of black music.”
In addition to being the artistic director of the Jazz Foundation, Jordan is a member of the John Mayer trio and frequent collaborator of Keith Richards. Shapiro is the founder of Brooklyn Bowl and Fans.com, which has produced and streamed several events during the pandemic. The stream was also produced by the Editor-in-Chief of Relix magazine, Dean Budnick, Dayglo Presents director of talent, Kirk Peterson and film editor Sam Blakesberg. You can watch the marathon here.