LOCAL Houston | The City Guide September 2016 - Page 38

GISH AT THE MOVIES JAMMIN’ WITH JAZZ FOR 63 YEARS There are two kinds of jazz: quiet and loud. When I went to Café 4212 at 4212 Almeda Road (www.cafe4212.com) a few months ago, the words to the Fats Waller song “The Joint is Jumpin’” popped into my head. It was loud jazz and I liked it! It’s a happening place every Monday night because of the historic Monday Nite Jazz Jam, the longest-running jazz jam in the country. Originally set in motion in 1953 by jazz legends VI and JOHNNY WILLIAMS at the J & V Lounge in the heart of Third Ward, artists like wellknown “Texas Tenor” ARNETT COBB and beloved Houston teacher “Prof” CONRAD JOHNSON (who played with Count Basie and led the award-winning Kashmere Stage Band) joined in these weekly musical affairs. The Jazz Jam moved around over the next 63 years – landing in places like the small nightclub Pecko’s (owned and managed by record producer and music mogul DON ROBY of the famous Duke/Peacock Records), then finally ending up at Café 4212 on Monday nights from 8pm–midnight. This Jam is unique because producer T.R. REED (who took the reins from Vi and Johnny) has a screen on the stage showing rare and classic film clips he programs – many of them going as far back as 1919 and all of them depicting the “Golden Era of Jazz,” films from the 1920s and 1930s. T.R., also known as “The Ambassador of Jazz,” sends weekly emails with notes and links for the films as well as snippets of jazz history and a preview of the week’s musical guests (to get on his list, shoot an email to sncproductions@att.net). Some recent films included clips of Sammy Davis, Jr., at the age of 6; a 17-year-old LENA HORNE; and performances with NAT “KING” COLE, JOSEPHINE BAKER, FRANK SINATRA and BENNY GOODMAN. T.R. produced the Jam with his late wife, jazz vocalist CAROL SANDERS, and both of them felt it was important to not only showcase the music but to also educate the audience through the films. “These African- American sounds and images are a treasured part of this nation’s culture and their influence continues to impact new music of the 21st century,” T.R. told me recently. Like the art form itself, jazz in Houston is always jumpin’. TEX ALLEN, a well-known New York jazz man who grew up in Houston, is opening Al J’s this month, and jazz is on the menu at places like Bohemeo’s (www.bohemeos.com),Renae’s Homestyle Restaurant and Bar (www.renaeshomestylerestaurant.com), Cezanne (www.cezannejazz.com), the Mosaic Bar and Lounge (www.mosaicbarandlounge.com), and Sambuca Restaurant (www.sambucarestaurant.com). Annual events include the Trinity Jazz Festival (www.trinityjazzfest.net) in January, the Red Cat Jazz Festival (www.redcatjazzfest.com) in May and the Houston International Jazz Festival by Jazz Education Inc. (www.jazzeducation.org) in August. WANT TO SEE MORE ART FILMS? CHECK OUT THESE VENUES 14 Pews (www.14pews.org) Alamo Drafthouse (www.drafthouse.com) Asia Society (www.asiasociety.org/texas) Aurora Picture Show (www.aurorapictureshow.org) Blaffer Art Museum (www.blafferartmuseum.org) Café Brasil (www.cafe-brasil.net) Contemporary Arts Museum (www.camh.org) Discovery Green (www.discoverygreen.com) DiverseWorks (www.diverseworks.org) Holocaust Museum (www.hmh.org) Jewish Community Center (www.erjcchouston.org) Landmark River Oaks Theatre (www.landmarktheatres.com) Menil Collection (www.menil.org) Miller Outdoor Theatre (www.milleroutdoortheatre.com) Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (www.mfah.org/films) Orange Show (www.orangeshow.org) Rice Cinema (www.ricecinema.rice.edu) Sundance Cinemas (www.sundancecinemas.com) By Sarah Gish | www.gishcreative.com 38 L O C A L | september 16