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Special Night For Co-op City-Based Jazz Pianist

Posted: Apr 22 2017 at 12:35am | Views: 517
Special Night For Co-op City-Based Jazz Pianist

One of Co-op City's most renowned long-time residents, jazz pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, is encouraging his neighbors and friends to attend what will be a special concert performance on April 28, 2017 at City College's Aaron Davis Hall.

The acclaimed jazz pianist and his trio will be performing in a special evening which will not only feature great jazz performed by Onaje and his friends, but also the world premiere performance of a new poetry work, Truth to Power, along with performances by hip-hop artist Abiodun Oyewole, a founding member of The Last Poets, along with acclaimed vocalist Mem Nahadar.

But the vast array of talent that will be on display that evening is just one reason why the night will be so special. During the evening, Onaje, who has made Co-op City his home since 1978, will receive the first ever Bob Cranshaw Community Achievement Award.

Bob Cranshaw is widely regarded as one of the world's great jazz bassists whose nearly 60 year career include performing alongside a who's who of music legends such as Mose Allison, Sonny Rollins and Paul Simon. Mr. Cranshaw, a personal friend and colleague of Onaje's, had a stellar reputation in the business not only for his work on stage and in the recording studio, but his work in support of his fellow musicians and their families in fighting to make sure that they received just pay for their services and that their survivors continue to receive the fruits of their art through royalties due to them for past works. Mr. Cranshaw was instrumental in forming and maintaining the strength of the musician's union through which thousands of musicians and their families receive a just living wage for their work and their art.

Onaje said this week that he is both proud and humbled to be receiving the first award named in honor of his friend and colleague who passed away in November at the age of 83.

Due to the significance of the occasion, several members of Onaje's family will be flying in for the show, including siblings, cousins and nephews from Canada, Georgia and North Carolina, many of whom he hasn't seen in over a decade.

But aside from the personal significance of the evening for him, Onaje said he really wants the evening to be about the many great artists who will be performing alongside him. They include actress Camille Yarborough and Laquan Graham who will all be part of the world premiere performance of "Truth to Power" as well as performing other works of both artistic and social significance.

Onaje, who has performed along with fellow musicians several times in Co-op City over the years, including a free summer concert on the Greenway, encourages the community to come out for the special evening of music, recognition, and social commentary.

For ticket information and purchase, you may log on to Tickets are $20; $10 for students and seniors and they can be purchased online or at the door.

Aaron Davis Hall is on the City College campus at West 135th Street and Convent Avenue in Manhattan.

The evening begins at 7 pm on Friday, April 28, 2017.

By Bill Stuttig
Co-op City Times is now online

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