California Jazz Foundation "gives the band a hand" at annual gala this weekend

The California Jazz Foundation will recognize renowned musicians, composers and jazz educators Patrice Rushen and the late Ndugu Chancler at the 7th annual “Give the Band a Hand” Gala fundraiser. The event honors the best of the jazz community while raising money to provide support to California’s jazz musicians in financial or medical need. It will be held at the L.A. Grand Hotel Downtown, 333 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles on April 6, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. 

The evening will feature live and silent auctions, dinner, video tributes, awards presentations and a live concert. This year’s musical performers will be the Patrice Rushen Trio and John Beasley’s MONK’estra. 

Patrice Rushen will receive the Nica award, which is given to those artists who exemplify the legacy of Baroness Pannonica (Nica) de Koenigswarter, the iconic patron of such great jazz artists as Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. Rushen, a native of Los Angeles, is a virtuoso keyboardist and a gifted composer, music director and educator who has received multiple Grammy award nominations. She is the chair of the Popular Music Program at the University of Southern California.

CJF will honor the memory of the late Ndugu Chancler with the Heritage award for his great contributions to the jazz and pop community. His long career as an educator, performer and studio musician spanned many genres of contemporary music including jazz, pop, rock, R&B and funk. He worked with such legends as Miles Davis, Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, and his iconic beat on Jackson’s hit single “Billie Jean” made an indelible mark on one of the most popular singles in history. 

Rushen and Chancler were long-time friends and creative partners who met while attending Locke High School in Los Angeles. They worked together on many projects including several years of summer tours and recording with their own virtuoso band, The Meeting, which included saxophonist Ernie Watts and bassist Alphonso Johnson. Chancler and Rushen were seminal figures in the jazz and pop music scene of the 1980s and 1990s and passed their knowledge on to new generations of musicians through USC’s Popular Music Program.

The annual gala is an important source of financial support for CJF.

The California Jazz Foundation fills a critical void by assisting California’s jazz musicians in need. Many older musicians have no Social Security or health insurance, and some see no residuals from their important work. They rely on us and we rely on the community to keep the Foundation financially sound and swinging.
— Edythe L. Bronston, California Jazz Foundation founder and president