Joseph Petrucelli is the Co-Executive Director of The Jazz Foundation of America, with responsibilities in general operations, development, special events, and program management. Prior to joining Jazz Foundation in 2008, he was a Senior Associate with Biondolillo Associates, a marketing consultancy that develops fundraising programs for nonprofits, with clients in healthcare, human services, and public education. As a freelance writer and producer, Joe has contributed to projects with the Jazz Journalists Association and Multiprises LLC among others. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English & Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. A sporadically performing musician, Joe also plays in the Brooklyn-based band STATS.
Steve Jordan has helped expand the vocabulary of modern music, not only as a drummer, but also as a composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer.
He has recorded with the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Steve Wonder, B.B. King, Sonny Rollins, Sheryl Crow, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, The Pretenders, Stevie Nicks, Norah Jones, James Taylor, Diana Krall, Sting, Billy Joel, Don Henley, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and the original Saturday Night Live Band. He was a founding member of the World’s Most Dangerous Band for Late Night with David Letterman.
As a multiple Grammy award-winning producer and Emmy-winning musical director, Jordan has made albums for Keith Richards and the X-pensive Winos, John Mayer, which includes winning Pop Vocal Album of the Year for Continuum, John Mayer Trio, Robert Cray, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Los Lonely Boys, John Scofield, Buddy Guy, Booker T. & the MG’s, Solomon Burke, Boz Scaggs, Hubert Sumlin, Tom Jones, Patty Scialfa and Beyoncé. His most satisfying work is his collaboration with Meegan Voss and their band, The Verbs.
He received an Emmy for his musical direction in Movies Rock in addition to doing Fashion Rocks, several Kennedy Center Honors, the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and has worked as musical director/producer on films like Lightening in a Bottle, Cadillac Records, and consulted on Standing in the Shadows of Motown. Jordan is currently producing Solid Soul a documentary on musical legacy of record producer Willie Mitchell.
Steve and Meegan Voss are the founders of the independent recording company, Jay-Vee Records, home to the Grammy nominated album, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm and their band, The Verbs. They are also the Artistic Directors at The Jazz Foundation of America and an advisor to the Little Kids Rock Foundation in New York.
In recent years, Steve has produced Keith Richards’ album Crosseyed Heart, John Mayer’s The Search for Everything and is working on The Verbs’ new LP, Garage Sale as well as new albums by Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban and Bettye LaVette.
Additional production credits include Rod Stewart’s Soulbook, John Mayer’s Battle Studies, The Verbs’ Trip and Cover Story, Boz Scaggs’ Memphis and his new album, Fool to Care, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm as well as Cray’s In My Soul and his live project, 4 Nights of 40 Years Live. Jordan was musical director for the 61st, 62nd, 64th, 66th, 67th and 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as musical director for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Annual Gala, in addition to touring with Eric Clapton.
Board of Directors
Richard D. Parsons
Richard D. Parsons Richard D. Parsons is the former Chairman of Citigroup and also serves as a Senior Advisor to Providence Equity Partners. Formerly, from 2002-2008, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TimeWarner, Inc. In its January 2005 report on America’s Best CEOs, Institutional Investor magazine named Mr. Parsons the top CEO in the entertainment industry. Prior to becoming CEO of TimeWarner, Mr. Parsons served as President of the company. Mr. Parsons received his undergraduate education at the University of Hawaii and his legal training at Union University’s Albany Law School. Mr. Parsons’ civic and non-profit commitments include service as Chairman of the Apollo Theater Foundation, as Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and on the boards of Howard University, the Museum of Modern Art, and the American Museum of Natural History.
Jarrett Lilien is founder and Managing Partner of Bendigo Partners. Jarrett has enjoyed a 30+ year career in financial services, running both retail and institutional businesses. He has lived and worked in Tokyo, Hong Kong, London and New York. Jarrett was co-founder and CEO of TIR Securities, a global institutional stock broker, which was subsequently sold to E*TRADE Financial. At E*TRADE, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer and was responsible for building the premier online financial services franchise. Jarrett currently sits on the Boards of The Barton Group, The Baryshnikov Arts Center, ITG, WFUV Radio, and Wisdom Tree Investments.
Stu Bohart is a senior executive in the asset management and securities industry with 25+ years of experience serving various roles including portfolio management, sales and trading, risk management, and client service. Stu began his career in 1989 at Cargill, a large US-based commodity trader and processor, where he served as an analyst for the division that traded global financial instruments. In 1991, he moved from Tokyo to Boston to work for the Harvard University endowment, helping invest the EAFE portion of the portfolio. (Europe, Australasia, Far East). Stuart joined Bankers Trust Investment Management as a portfolio manager in 1994 and managed a global relative-value portfolio from New York and London. From 1997-2010 while at Morgan Stanley, Stuart held positions in portfolio management, Global Head of Prime Brokerage, Head of Alternatives at Morgan Stanley Asset Management, and was eventually named co-Head of the Asset Management Division and joined the Morgan Stanley Management Committee. In 2010, Stuart left Morgan Stanley to join Fortress Investment Group, where he was President of the Liquid Markets business and CEO of the Fortress broker-dealer. He served on the Management and Operating Committees of Fortress, as well as CIO of the Fortress Partners Fund. Stuart retired from Fortress in 2015. He is a graduate of Northwestern University with dual degrees in Economics and Political Science. Mr. Bohart is Chair Emeritus of the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Vice-Chair of New York City Outward Bound Schools, Treasurer of Greater NY, Trustee of the Northwestern University Block Museum and Trustee of Ethical Culture Fieldston School. He is a Director of Old Mutual Asset Management and previously served on the corporate boards of Amerigen Pharmaceuticals and Century Real Estate. He is a member of the New York Economic Club.
B. Bonin Bough
Bonin Bough is one of the foremost-awarded marketing executives in his field, the producer and host of The Cleveland Hustles, and the author of TXT Me (646) 759-1837. Throughout his illustrious career as one of the youngest C-suite executives in a Fortune 50 company, Bonin has spearheaded some of the industry’s largest global marketing campaigns across digital, mobile, television, print, and experiential, including the premier of the first ever 3D printed food product, the customizable, real-time 3D printed Oreo at SXSW. Bonin’s prominence as a transformative activator has helped reinvigorate traditional marketing by combining innovative tech via breakthrough brand campaigns including Oreo, Honey Maid, Pepsi, Gatorade, and countless other billion dollar brands. He is seen as one of the top mobile marketers in the world, having been named Mobile Marketer of the Year by the MMA. In 2013, he was inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Achievement and has been listed in Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, The Adweek 50 and PRWeek Power List.
Michael Devins is a member of Debevoise & Plimpton’s Mergers & Acquisitions, Insurance Industry Groups. His practice focuses primarily on corporate transactions in the insurance industry, including mergers and acquisition, reinsurance and insurance company for formation transaction. He also represents clients in obtaining representation and warrants and other transactional insurance policies. The Legal 500 US (2012) notes that Mr. Devins has an encyclopedia-like understanding of the insurance M&A landscape and its legal framework. Mr. Devins is admitted to the bar in New York. Before joining Debevoise in 2000, Mr. Devins practiced corporate law with the New York office of a major California law firm from 1998 to 2000. Mr. Devins received his B.A. in economics and philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1992 and his J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1998. Prior to law school, Mr. Devins served as a policy advisor to the premier of the Canadian province of Manitoba. Mr. Devins is a frequent writer and speaker on insurance industry and M&A topics. Mr. Devins serves as the Chair of the Jazz Foundation of America’s Finance Committee
William A. Douglass, III
William A. Douglass, III
William A. Douglass, III, is the prior Founder and Managing Director of K2 Advisors. A graduate of Vanderbilt University in 1984, Mr. Douglass began his career at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette Securities where he worked as an institutional and retail salesman. In 1991, Mr. Douglass joined Tiedemann International Research, Ltd. (“TIR”) (Tokyo) as Director of Sales. He returned to the U.S. in 1992 to become Director of Sales for TIR’s North American operation, where he co-managed the firm’s U.S. business until April 1994. In July 1994, Mr. Douglass founded K2 Advisors. He also worked at Caspian Securities from June 1995 until July 1997 when he devoted his full attention to K2. In addition to his Board role with Jazz Foundation of America, he also serves on the Board of City Squash, Inc., The Brooklyn Academy of Music and as a Special Advisor to the Codman Academy, a charter school in Dorchester, MA
Steven M. Edwards is a partner in the Litigation Group of Hogan & Hartson, a law firm in New York. His practice encompasses a wide variety of subjects in both the civil and criminal areas. Steve was President of the Federal Bar Council from 1998-2000 and President of the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court in 2006. In 2003, Steve was Chair of Antitrust Section of the New York State Bar Association. In 2008, Steve received the Federal Bar Council’s Whitney North Seymour Award for work in the public interest by a private practitioner, and in 2010 he received the New York State Bar Association Antitrust Section’s Public Service Award. Steve has also been honored for his work as President of Nazareth Housing, a not-for-profit that provides housing and social services to the homeless; Treasurer of the Welfare Law Center, now known as the National Center for Law and Economic Justice; and a Director of the Jazz Foundation. Steve has done pro bono legal work for the National Black Theater, WBGO and the American Jewish Committee, among others. Steve graduated from the University of Iowa in 1969 and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1972. Steve has composed a Rock Opera “There’s Something Afoot,” and in 2006 he was inducted into the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Dr. Frank Forte
Dr. Franke Forte
Dr. Frank Forte is Director of Medicine for the Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Program at Englewood Hospital as well as serving as Director of the Jazz Musicians Medical Volunteers. Dr. Forte received his medical degree with honors from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In addition to being an avid jazz guitarist, Dr. Forte writes for Just Jazz Guitar magazine and is the recipient of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ)’s Champion of Good Works Award in recognition for his work with The Jazz Foundation.
Dr. Daveed D. Frazier
Dr. Daveed Frazier
Daveed D. Frazier is a board certified orthopedic surgeon with advanced training in spinal surgery and correction of spinal deformities. An assistant clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Frazier is also a respected lecturer, accomplished researcher, and published author on spine disorders and treatment. Dr. Frazier graduated cum laude from Harvard Medical School and joined the institution’s long history of distinguished speakers when selected to address his 1990 graduating class. He went on to complete a combined surgical internship at the New England
Deaconess Hospital and an orthopedic residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition, Dr. Frazier serves as assistant clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, and adjunct assistant clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. In recognition of his many accomplishments and prevention-focused approach to patient care, Dr. Frazier was twice named New York Super Doctor by the New York Times Magazine. More recently, he was featured on the cover of The Network Journal. His humanitarian efforts include service on the board of directors for FilmAid International—a charitable organization offering assistance to displaced persons worldwide through the power of film.
Ben Giordano is president and owner of Media Syndication Global, a direct mail and advertising firm based in New York. Before founding Media Syndication in 1982, he held the titles of Director and of Vice President at Doubleday and at CBS.
Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 25 years. His film credits range from the blockbuster “Lethal Weapon” franchise to the cult classic “Saw” to smaller independent features. The first “Lethal Weapon” film earned him an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actor. Mr. Glover has also invested his talents in more personal projects, including the award-winning “To Sleep With Anger,” which he executive produced and for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor. In 2005, Glover and his producing partner Joslyn Barnes co-founded Louverture Films, which is dedicated to the development and production of films of historical relevance, social purpose, commercial value and artistic integrity. The company’s credits include the Oscar® nominated documentary TROUBLE THE WATER, the music documentaries AFRICA UNITE, and the Oscar® shortlisted SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION. Mr. Glover currently serves as a UNICEF Ambassador and has received numerous prestigious honors including the 2002 Marian Anderson Award, the 2003 NAACP Chairman’s Award, the 2004 BET Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2009 CBCF Phoenix Award. He is also Chairman of the Board of TransAfrica Forum, a non-profit global justice organization.
Casey Lipscomb is the General Counsel and Secretary of MIO Partners, Inc. and an Associate General Counsel for McKinsey and Company, Inc. Prior to joining MIO and McKinsey, Mr. Lipscomb was an Associate at Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP from 1998 to 2004. Mr. Lipscomb holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Dartmouth College and a Juris Doctorate from Columbia University School of Law.
Peter Low, Ensequence’s president and chief executive officer, has an extensive background in television spanning more than 25 years, with expertise in programming and distribution. Before joining Ensequence, Low was executive vice president of cable distribution and marketing for MTV Networks and BET Networks, where he led cable distribution efforts for all 26 of the MTV and BET branded channels. In addition, Low was responsible for negotiating all large distribution agreements and developed the strategy that resulted in the most extensive digital channel launch in the industry. Prior to his position with MTV and BET, Low served as vice president of programming for CableVision. Low currently serves on the board of Cable Positive and the Jazz Foundation of America
Geoffrey D. Menin
Geoffrey D. Menin
Geoffrey D. Menin graduated from Yale College (B.A. summa cum laude, 1974) and Harvard Law School (J.D. 1977). A founding partner of Levine Plotkin & Menin, LLP, Mr. Menin has, for over thirty years, represented individual artists and entrepreneurs in film, television, music, fashion and new media, as well as high profile executives in their employment matters across a broad range of industries. An accomplished composer and performer in the rock, jazz and classical genres, Mr. Menin brings to his law practice the ability to understand the creative artist and to guide the development of the artist’s professional activities. Mr. Menin has performed with the likes of Buddy Miles, Stanley Jordan, Odetta, Charlie Daniels and Keith Richards. His original compositions range from a classical song cycle based upon the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke for tenor (voice) and piano to the celebrated “Hymn for Her,” composed for Jennifer Muller’s Mullerworks Dance Company and recorded by Mr. Menin with Paul Winter and Eugene Friesen.
Michael E. Novogratz is a former principal of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Mr. Novogratz joined Fortress in 2002 after spending 11 years at Goldman Sachs, where he was elected partner in 1998. Mr. Novogratz serves as a member of the New York Federal Reserve’s Investment Advisory Committee on Financial Markets. Mr. Novogratz founded and serves as the Chairman of Board for Beat the Streets, a non-profit organization which builds wrestling programs in New York City public schools and is also the Honorary Chairman of USA Wrestling Foundation. Mr. Novogratz is Chairman of The Friends of the Hudson River Park. He also serves on the board of the Acumen Fund, NYU Langone Medical Center and the Princeton Varsity Club. Mr. Novogratz received an AB from Princeton University in Economics, and served as a helicopter pilot in the US Army. In 2011, the Jazz Foundation gave Michael Novogratz our highest honor, the Dr. Billy Taylor Humanitarian Award. He has become a hero to the JFA and to the thousands of musicians and family members.
Robert B. Opatrny
Robert B. Opatrny, a graduate of Yale University and NYU Law School, practices law primarily in the fields of music and media. At the beginning of his career he worked at two major Wall Street firms practicing corporate law, and then established his own practice in 1994. From 2000 until 2007 he acted as Secretary and General Counsel of Pump Audio, Inc., an international independent music licensing company. Getty Images acquired Pump Audio in 2007. Mr. Opatrny serves as General Counsel to WhoSay Inc., an internet and mobile promotion company serving public figures.
Michael D. Pietrowicz
Michael D. Pietrowicz, 53, of Parsippany, NJ, was appointed Chief Strategy Office and Senior Vice President for Planning and Program Development of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in 2014. Prior to this appointment, he served as Vice President for Planning and Program Development (2004 – 2014), Vice President for Physician Network Operations (1998–2002) and Vice President for Operations (1992-1998). He has held executive positions in healthcare for more than 30 years. Prior to joining Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in 1992, he served as Vice President for Hospital and Generals Support Services at the Philadelphia Geriatric Center in Philadelphia. During his three-year absence from the Medical Center 2002 –2004, Mr. Pietrowicz was Vice President and Site Administrator for Beth Israel North Medical Center in New York City. Mr. Pietrowicz is an active volunteer and board member in a variety of organizations including Chair – Visiting Nurse Association of Englewood; Vice Chair – Englewood Economic Development Committee; Parsippany Board of Education; President – Parsippany Little Viking Football Organization and Council Member for the Parsippany Parks and Recreation Commission. He is currently an active member of the New Jersey Hospital Association, the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Medical Group Management Association. Mr. Pietrowicz earned a dual BS degree in Biology and Business Administration from Albright College in 1985 and received an MBA in Healthcare Administration from Temple University in 1987.
Dakota Pippins is CEO & President of Pippins Strategies Group LLC. Pippins Strategies Group focuses primarily on creation of sustainability management strategies for companies and development of urban green infrastructure. Dakota Pippins teaches Sustainable Development
Management and Marketing at New York University and consults/lectures extensively. He maintains that successful marketers in the 21st century must connect their brands to strongly held human family values that promote the triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit. Dakota also serves as a member of the Board of Directors at Hormel Foods Corporation, former chair of the Corporate Governance Committee, Adjunct Associate Professor at New York University where he formerly served as Director of NYU’s Management Institute. He recently completed his 20th year of service.
Lee S. Richards III
Lee S. Richards III
Lee S. Richards III is experienced in trial work and securities; regulatory, banking, white-color criminal and commercial litigation; and internal investigations. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Amherst College in 1972, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1975, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Parkhurst Fellow. Mr. Richards was a law clerk to the Honorable Milton Pollack, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, from 1975 to 1976. From 1977 to 1983, he was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Richards is a former Adjunct Assistant Professor at Fordham Law School, Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Subcommittee on Criminal Aspects of the Securities Laws, President Emeritus of the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court, a member of the Federal Bar Council Board of Directors, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Inns of Court.
Marc Roth is a New York City restaurateur and has been involved with the Jazz Foundation for over 7 years. Marc began donating and catering Jazz Foundation events which included musician memorials, performer greenrooms and our famed Loft and Apollo parties. He has provided employment for these musicians with a place to play and has learned how under-appreciated and underexposed some of them are. In past years, Marc sponsored the first live webcast from the Apollo to help increase donations during the event. He has traveled to NOLA and Chicago to help struggling musicians get back on their feet by bringing them food, finding them a place to stay, or supplying them with some money to take care of basic needs.
Abigail (Abby) Scheuer
Abigail (Abby) Scheuer joined the Jazz Foundation of America board in 2012 and joined JFA’s Advisory board in 2009? She is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Center for Arts Education and KiDS of NYU Langone Health, a Trustee of The Bronx Museum of the Arts and The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), and a member of the Board of Advocates for Human Rights First and the Natural Resources Defense Council. She has a BA from Middlebury College and a Master of Architecture from The Southern California Institute of Architecture.
Stephen B. Siegel
Stephen B. Siege
Stephen B. Siegel, Chairman of Global Brokerage at CB Richard Ellis, is widely regarded in commercial real estate circles as one of the industry’s most talented and prolific professionals. He was involved with CBRE amassing over $224.6 billion in global sales and leasing transactions in 2006, nearly three times that of its nearest competitor. As Insignia-ESG’s chairman and CEO preceding its merger with CBRE, Siegel masterminded the firm’s growth nationwide and in Europe, Latin America and Asia. He also managed a group that co-invested approximately $2 billion in U.S. office, residential, hotel and retail real estate portfolios. In 2003, Crain’s New York Business named him “One of the 100 Most Influential Business Leaders in New York City.” Mr. Siegel is recognized as much for his generosity and contributions to the quality of life in New York as he is for his dedication to the business community and economic vitality of the City. Specific awards include the American Jewish Committee’s 2007 Real Estate Division National Human Relations Award; Israel Bonds’ Real Estate and Construction Division’s 2007 Israel Peace
Medal for his leadership in building Israel’s economy through the Israel Bonds program; The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation “Man of the Year” Award and many others.
Marlisa Vinciguerra is a retired financial markets executive. She is a graduate of Cornell University (BS 1986) and the Yale Law School (JD 1989), where she was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal. Her note, “The Aftermath of Meritor: A Search for Standards in the Law of Sexual Harassment” has been cited in federal court cases. Following law school, she was an Associate at Cadwalader. She joined Lehman Brothers in 1993, where she held a variety of positions, the last of which was Managing Director and Counsel for Equities Global. At Lehman, she was member of the Management and Executive Committees for Legal, Compliance and Audit and the Management Committee of Equities. She later worked at Barclays Capital as a Managing Director and Scout Trading in several executive capacities.
Bill Wurtzel is an accomplished jazz guitarist and has been a member of the Jazz Foundation Board of Directors since 1989. The musicians he has played with include Wild Bill Davis, Bill Doggett, Count Basie alumni “The Countsmen”, Jimmy McGriff, and Harlem Blues & Jazz Band. Prior to taking on music full-time he began his career as a creative director in advertising. In addition to designing the JFA logo, Bill and his daughter Nina have created many JFA promotional materials.
HONORARY FOUNDERS BOARD
Hon. David Dinkins
The Honorable David Dinkins was the 106th Mayor of the City of New York from January 1, 1990, to December 31, 1993. Prior to that, he held the position of Manhattan Borough President from January 1, 1986, to December 31, 1989. Dinkins received his Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Howard University and his LL.D from Brooklyn Law School.
Trumpeter, composer, arranger, conductor, producer, executive and entrepreneur Quincy Jones is one of the most influential figures in the music industry. Over a span of five decades, Jones has earned a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, winning 27, including a Grammy Legend Award in 1991. He is best known as the producer of the album Thriller, by pop icon Michael Jackson and as the producer and conductor of the charity song “We Are the World”. In 1968, Jones and his songwriting partner Bob Russell became the first African-Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award in the “Best Original Song” category. In 1971, Jones became the first African-American to be named musical director/conductor of the Academy Awards ceremony. Jones was also the first (and so far the only) African-American to be nominated as a producer in the category of Best Picture (in 1986, for The Color Purple). He was also the first African-American to win the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1995. He is tied with sound designer Willie D. Burton as the most Oscar-nominated African-American, each of them having seven nominations. While Jones has found success in nearly every facet of entertainment, it may very well be his humanitarian work that is his defining statement. At the 2008 BET Awards, Quincy Jones was presented with the BET Humanitarian Award.
Sandy Jordan is a professional graphics artist and has worked a lengthy stint as Executive Art Director for the Bill Lutz Group. She is the widow of one of the U.S.’s greatest jazz artists, Clifford Jordan, and has been an integral part of the jazz community for many years. She is a member of the National Academy for Recording Artists (NARAS).
Stella Marrs has enjoyed success and acclaim in the music business of Jazz since 1949 as a jazz singer, producer, actress, along with being the first female DJ for WRVR and WNJR radio and a lifelong Civil Rights Activist. She wrote, produced and directed her bio “I A Black Woman” and is an ardent writer of essays and prose on both music and civil rights. She was Lionel Hampton’s Girl Singer for four years and worked with a host of legendary musicians, one of whom called her “Ms. Soft Soul” and the name stuck. She was the Executive Director and CEO of the Martin Luther King Center in Spring Valley, NY, for 21 years. She is now the Community Liaison Specialist for Rockland County’s Human Rights Commission. A recipient of a Doctorate in Humanities from St. Thomas Aquinas College, she is in the Civil/Human Rights Hall of Fame in Rockland County and has received numerous Awards and Honors for her work with Children and Human/Civil Rights. Dr. Marrs still finds time for GIGS…using the exceptional Musicians that have always accompanied her. Truly a Renaissance Woman, she will celebrate her 91st birthday in 2018.
During a forty-year career in music, Hank O’Neal formed two record companies (Chiaroscuro Records and Hammond Music Enterprises); built two recording studios (WARP and Downtown Sound); produced over 200 jazz LPs/CDs and, in conjunction with his business partner Shelley M. Shier and their production company HOSS, Inc., over 100 music festivals (The Floating Jazz Festival, The Blues Cruise, Mardi Gras At Sea, Big Bands At Sea and others from 1983-2002); published a number of books and articles on jazz; photographed most of the giants of jazz from the second half of the 20th Century; exhibited these photographs regularly; and served on the boards of various non-profit organizations that serve the jazz community, including the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program of The New School (1985 to present), the Jazz Foundation of America (1993 to present), The Jazz Gallery (1995 to present), and the National Jazz Museum In Harlem.
Jimmy Owens is a trumpet and flugelhorn player, composer, arranger, educator, and music consultant. He possesses a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts. Since 1969, his group Jimmy Owens Plus has performed concerts, taught, and lectured at all levels from elementary school through college. An active member of various boards and panels, he has served on the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the American Arts Alliance, the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), and the faculties of the State University of New York and the New School.