Jazzmobile’s mission is to present, preserve, promote and propagate America’s classical music, Jazz.
Founded in 1964, by National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, pianist, Dr. Billy Taylor and philanthropist and arts administrator, Ms. Daphne Anstein, Jazzmobile is the first U.S. not-for-profit arts and cultural organization created just for Jazz. Since the beginning, we have been bringing high quality Jazz performances and education programs to area residents, tourists and other visitors, reaching over 4,000,000 people living or visiting New York City. Our national programs brought us to other cities in the US; and the “Super Jazz Band” had us touring cities in Europe and Japan.
Whether on the street, in a park or at a major concert hall here or abroad, Jazzmobile works in partnership with like-minded organizations to present high quality Jazz performances that enrich the culture and imbue new life into the surrounding area.
Our workshops, master classes, lecture demonstrations, and arts enrichment programs train the next generation of Jazz vocalists and musicians; while also exposing youth to this vibrant art form. For jazz aficionados and other enthusiasts, our panel discussions increase the knowledge of our many adult followers. Our primary aim is to reach out to communities where Jazz was nurtured and new forms born.
We are very proud of being an inspiration to other organizations such as The Manchester Craftsman’s Guild and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Production Stage Manger
Madisyn Consulting Services, Inc.
Tim Greenfield, MBA
Chairman & Secretary
Dr. Michael Jones
Founder & Co-Founders
Dr. Billy Taylor
NEA Jazz Master
Ms. Daphne Arnstein
Patron of the Arts
Mr. Jimmy Heath
NEA Jazz Master
Kim Taylor-Thompson, Esq.
Chair Advisory Board
Retired Arts Administrator
Keith Danish, Esq.
Global Marketing Executive
Darrell Gay, Esq.
Retired Parks & Recreation Executive
Linda Manley, Esq.
John “Butch” Purcell
Among Jazzmobile’s numerous awards and special citations are:
Jazzmobile has reached national and international audiences, touring locally, regionally, across the United States, Europe, Asia and Canada, and performing at such events as:
Our concerts featuring acclaimed performers make musical magic, bringing Jazz to the streets and schools, parks and performance halls. Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Sarah Vaughan are some of the legends who have performed with Jazzmobile, as have:
Jazzmobile’s multifaceted programming is the vehicle employed to support our mission while joining other arts organizations that are also affecting a positive economic impact on the communities we serve.
For over 50 years, we have brought Jazzmobile performance programs featuring acclaimed and emerging artists to neighborhood streets, parks, and community and senior centers in all five boroughs of New York City as well as local Harlem venues.
Are you a professional Jazz musician looking to take it to the next level? Do you enjoy singing or performing Jazz just for fun? Or are you seeking instruction for your child or school classes? Are you a lifelong student of Jazz and want to know the historical influence and the latest trends in today’s music? Jazzmobile offers a variety of Jazz education programs for professional artists, New York City public school students and Jazz enthusiasts. Here, those who teach also do: many of our most popular performers also serve as our instructors.
Jazzmobile’s core programs have become the model that others emulate across the United States.
One of our most popular annual events during SUMMERFEST is”Great Jazz on the Great Hill” in beautiful Central Park. Each year, in partnership with the Central Park Conservancy we turn Central Park’s Great Hill into a huge jazz “Hall” complete with a wooden dance floor!
A Brief History
Created by Jazzmobile nearly 25 years ago, the first Great Jazz on the Great Hill concert was in tribute to the legendary Charlie Parker, also known as Byrd. Johnnie Garry, Jazzmobile’s Production Coordinator for 30 years until 2012, wanted to celebrate the birth of his good friend a true legend who died way too young.
For two years Jazzmobile presented GJGH. The festival later switched to the hands of the Charlie Parker Foundation. They moved this celebration of “Byrd” downtown. After several years of producing the festival with the CPF, Johnnie suggested they add a second day with a concert at Marcus Garvey Park.
After being dormant for 14 years, Robin Bell-Stevens and John Reddick (Assistant Vice President, Central Park Conservancy) met and together worked to bring back Great Jazz on the Great Hill. And on August 5, 2017 the 10th anniversary of GJGH will be presented.
Over 5,500 men, women and children from neighborhoods near, far and wide converge on the Great Hill with family and friends for a 3 hour festival of great jazz! Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and a cooler for a true “New York City moment." The audience comes with their picnic basket or they enjoy the delicious options from mobile food vendors while enjoying “A List” swing bands, vocalists, Latin, and blues bands. Many take to the special dance floor right next to the stage. For children and their families, there is always a special activity that is showcased during the festival!
Do you think you’re the best Jazz singer in New York City? In 2004, Jazzmobile, Inc. was invited by (jazz singer) Cynthia Holiday to launch the " Best of the Best" Jazz Vocal Competition with the generous support of Anheuser-Busch Companies.
Contestants vie for the top spot in front of judges and a live audience. Winners are selected by a panel of industry professionals, including singers, producers, and radio personalities. Many of the winners and finalists have acknowledged Jazzmobile for launching their careers. Our list of competitors and winners are performing locally, nationally and internationally, singers such as the first winner, in 2004 French jazz vocalist Elisabeth Kontomanou. Other 1st place winners and top scorers have included:
The Jazzmobile Vocal Competition is scheduled to return in 2017.
For 5 years Jazzmobile partnered or collaborated with The Apollo Theater Foundation, Harlem Stage | Gate House and Columbia University to present the HARLEM JAZZ SHRINES FESTIVAL. When it debuted May, 2011, JAZZ SHRINES became "The Apple’s" latest entry into the annals of what makes New York the epicenter of the jazz global.
This 7-day festival celebrated the classic clubs and venues that made Harlem USA the jazz mecca - beginning in the 1920’s. The festival serves to reimagine clubs such as Minton’s Playhouse, Lenox lounge, the Savoy Ballroom, and The Palace. While it’s a nostalgic look back at the greatness of the past, this festival’s pulse is the present, showcasing an array of today’s top and emerging talent and showing that what’s happening right now in Harlem really is where it’s at!
Today Jazzmobile also applauds todays Harlem Shrines including others that are emerging in Harlem every year – such as Showman’s, Minton’s Restaurant, Ginny’s Supper Club, Sapphire, Paris Blues and the list keeps growing! Plans are underway for a festival celebrating the jazz shrines of Harlem, 2017!
Think of Jazzmobile and you probably think of our free Summerfest mobile concerts, attended by tens of thousands of people annually from the New York Metropolitan area, tourists and other visitors. Together with our partners—neighborhood associations and the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation—Jazzmobile has brought top talent to under-served communities where many residents cannot afford to purchase tickets to the clubs and concert halls downtown. In addition to our neighborhood concerts our performances are held in large outdoor venues, such as Brooklyn Bridge Park, Grant’s Tomb, Marcus Garvey Park and Central Park, drawing audiences from other boroughs and communities outside New York City.
Summerfest 2017 kicks off on July 5th and comes to a close on August 30th at Grants Tomb on Riverside Drive and West 122nd Street. Watch for summer season announcement in April 2017during National Jazz Appreciation Month!
“The Subject is Jazz” began as a televised music appreciation program created by Jazzmobile Co-Founder, Dr. Billy Taylor in the mid-1950s. Little did he know that about10 years later it would become the genesis for one of Jazzmobile’s core programs, “Lecture Demonstrations: Jazz in the First Person.”
In 1968, Dr. Billy Taylor developed a jazz appreciation curriculum to expose New York City elementary, junior high, and high school students to Jazz as an art form. School music programs come and go and often ignore Jazz. As funding allows, talented Jazzmobile performers descend on schools across the city, conducting free, 45 to 60 minute musical and oral presentations that include:
Part of our education programs: “The Subject is Jazz,” Jazzmobile’s Saturday Jazz Workshops were started in 1969. The sessions brought aspiring artists together with Jazz masters like Dr. Billy Taylor and Cecil Bridgewater and other talented performers in a supportive learning environment. It has been located and various New York City Public schools including the Wadleigh Secondary (High) School for Visual and Performing Arts in Central Harlem. SJW has attracted more than 8,000 students of all ages since it began. Many of our graduates have gone on to successful musical careers. The program attracts a diverse student population from the five-boroughs of New York City, nearby New Jersey, Southern Connecticut, Long Island, and Westchester County.
Students develop their technical and performing skills in:
In FY 2016-2017 SJW is focusing on young emerging jazz students still in school.
Jazzmobile’s Symposia and panel discussions is one of our The Subject is Jazz education programs. This program brings together some of the brightest minds in Jazz music, from acclaimed artists to academics to critics; exploring historic and emerging issues in Jazz culture. Held in partnership with esteemed institutions, our seminars and panel discussions offer interesting takes on issues surrounding the music. Here is a sampling of previous programs:
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr State Office Building
163 West 125th Street
Harlem, NY 10027
Hotline (212) 866-3616
Jazzmobile, Incorporated is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) art and culture organization.
Jazzmobile thanks our contributors for their generous support! Our many Individual Donors and: NYC Mayor The Honorable Bill de Blasio, NYC Council Speaker Hon. Melissa Mark -Viverito New York City Council Members Hon. Inez E. Dickens, Hon. Darlene Mealey Hon I. Daneek Miller