EIGHT x 88
Thursday February 4, 2021 | Virtual Concert starting at 8:00 PM EST
Organizer: Steinway + Jazz Foundation – EIGHT x 88
January 28, 2021 — New York, NY — Eight acclaimed jazz pianists — Kris Davis, Aaron Diehl, Orrin Evans, Sullivan Fortner, Aaron Goldberg, Kevin Hays, Fred Hersch, and Christian Sands perform solos and duets as part of a special fundraiser for The Jazz Foundation of America’s COVID-19 Musician’s Emergency Fund. Appropriately titled Eight x 88, the musicians uniquely interpreted an eclectic mix of songs by Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Frank Loesser and Stevie Wonder among others. Filmed over two days at Steinway Hall, the artists delivered high-spirited performances that will stream as a 90-minute program starting on Thursday, February 4, at 8 pm ET, on Steinway & Sons’ YouTube and Facebook channels, and other social media platforms.
The jazz piano virtual concert was brought to Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) by Fred Hersch, a longtime supporter of JFA’s mission. In the spring of last year, Hersch, along with Esperanza Spalding raised well-needed funds donating the proceeds of their EP release “Live from the Village Vanguard” to help fellow musicians through this pandemic. Aaron Goldberg and Kevin Hays had approached Hersch last year with the concept, and Hersch phoned JFA executive director Joe Petrucelli soon after. “I felt great about steering it to JFA, the premier organization helping the entire jazz community at this very stressful time,” Hersch said. “I have been aware of JFA’s remarkable mission for many years and it has directly helped some wonderful musicians I know personally.”
The JFA is a New York-based non-profit that has served the jazz community for 32 years. All of the performers of Eight x 88 donated their time and talent to JFA’s COVID-19 Musician’s Emergency Fund, created by the JFA to address the urgent need to help the music community during the pandemic. Steinway donated their services and produced the concert.
“Our hope is that this event and the great artists that we were able to assemble will provide not just financial assistance but also hope to the jazz community and to its ardent fans,” Hays said. “We are ready to resume public performances as soon as it is safe and viable to do so—there is no substitute for that in-person connection that is made between a musician and a live audience.”
Until live music returns, this virtual concert will feed the soul and the JFA will continue to support its own. “With the extraordinary support of music lovers everywhere—and the artists themselves—the Jazz Foundation has been able to address the urgent and basic needs of musicians and their families across the county throughout the coronavirus crisis. Eight x 88 reminds us of the urgency of this mission,” Petrucelli explained. “As we enter 2021, ten months since the pandemic began, musicians continue to face food insecurity, eviction, and a persistent lack of work.”
Of the concert itself, Petrucelli said, “Eight x 88 highlights the irrepressible spirit of eight brilliant pianists. These performances are joyful, reflective, and imbued with purpose. They are uplifting in all the ways we have relied on music to be during this year of devastation. The sight of the players smiling and breaking into laughter at the end of the duets is truly heartwarming.” He added, “It captures so much of what we’ve been missing in human interaction during the pandemic. It also offers hope and a glimpse of what we stand to regain in time. We deeply appreciate Steinway and all of the musicians for their commitment in bringing this project to life.”
“In a time of acute need, these musicians have generously volunteered their time and shared their music for the benefit of musicians everywhere,” says Eric Feidner, senior vice president of Music, Technology & Media for Steinway & Sons. “We are floored by their musical contributions, are proud to produce this concert, and cannot think of a more impactful cause to embrace than the relentlessly supportive Jazz Foundation of America.”
For more information about the Jazz Foundation, visit www.jazzfoundation.org.
To donate to provide needed support to jazz and blues musicians, to assist with urgent needs that include groceries, rent and medication, please click: www.jazzfoundation.org/donate