September 15, 2016 

LAWT News Service 

After an 8-year hiatus, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) has announced the return of Jazz at Drew on October 1.  Founded in 1991, Jazz at Drew enjoyed an 18-year run.  The event calls alumni and friends of CDU back "home" to the CDU campus.  In its 8-year absence, CDU has been focused on strengthening its academic programs as well as adding new schools and programs like its Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing, and its Physician Assistant Program and stabilizing its executive leadership. This year CDU celebrated its 50th anniversary, stronger than ever.  Jazz at Drew is the culminating celebration of an entire year of marking that milestone.


Many of the event’s past performers have been invited back for the relaunch.  They will join new talents and surprise guests who will share the stage on this historic occasion.  And, all of them will be playing and singing their hearts out for the benefit of CDU students.


CDU President and CEO Dr. David Carlisle is credited with the return of Jazz at Drew. Certainly it has been a question since he arrived in 2011.


When the executive team asked the question about what to do to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the return of Jazz at Drew was the answer. The planning team includes retired Jazz at Drew founder Roland Betts, who held a variety of positions at CDU for 32 years. “Jazz at Drew was like a healing force in this community and we adopted the theme of building cultural bridges through music,” said Betts. “I will do whatever is needed to ensure its success.”


The lineup reflects some of the most talented performers in jazz.  Rickey Minor is known for leading the Tonight Show Band, master drummer Ndugu Chancler will bring surprise guests, as will Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band.  Famed violinist Karen Briggs, the vocal range of Dwight Trible, Anthony Faulkner, GB5, guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. and Terrace Martin round out the lineup.


“Yes, it’s about the artists, yes, it’s about the University and yes, it is about the community but really, the special thing about the event is it is about all of the above,” said President Carlisle.  “It’s about bringing everything together and becoming a celebration in and of itself. It’s really a complete package.”


“Coming to Jazz at Drew, you get to experience the music, the people the culture the food but more importantly, you’re going to be helping out students that will grow with the program, will graduate and then come back and help support you as a community,” said Amin Maghsoodi, Admissions Director.


Jazz at Drew is presented by Dignity Health, while the Office of L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is Health Pavilion sponsor. Gold sponsors are The California Endowment, Aids Healthcare Foundation, Avanti Hospitals and Daniel, Russell, and Charles, Co., LLC. Radio stations KTWV and KJLH are presenting Media Sponsors and the Los Angeles Sentinel and Pace News are Print Media sponsors. Jazz at Drew Scholar Sponsors include Good Samaritan Hospital, Jemmott Rollins Group, Inc., RFP Insurance Agency, WattsHealth, Aetna, Altamed, and Arthur J. Gallagher and Company.


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Category: Arts & Culture