The jazz community, apparently ignored in the rash of music benefits during the past year, will be substantially represented by a series of related projects to be called Jazz to End Hunger.
Far from jumping on the hunger wagon, the producer and organizer Michael McIntosh says he conceived the idea at least four years ago, long before "We Are The World." Unlike Live Aid and similar ventures, it has been designed to feed the hungry throughout the United States rather than abroad.
Organizers announced details of the effort Thursday at a press conference at the Vine Street Bar and Grill in Hollywood. First out will be an all-star recording and a home video, both taped at a session in Los Angeles last February.
Among the 50 artists who took part were Bill Henderson, Mark Murphy and Sue Raney, who spoke at the meeting Thursday; Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine, Larry Carlton, Diane Schuur and Herbie Hancock, who were shown in clips taped at the session; also Ray Brown, Della Reese, Debra and Eloise Laws, Maynard Ferguson, Ray Pizzi, Mike Melvoin, Manny Morgan and Lorez Alexandria.
Released first on a single will be a new song, "Keep the Dream Alive," which McIntosh co-composed with Andrew Belling and Don Grady. Backing the vocal treatment on the single would be an instrumental version to be recorded in September in New York with musicians who, according to McIntosh, will represent "the cream of the East Coast jazz world."
To provide enough music to complete an album, additional unreleased jazz material will be supplied by several record companies. Also in pre-production is a television special that will be released in November, according to McIntosh, though no deal has yet been set with a network or station.
"We've had wonderful cooperation from everyone, he said. "The technical crew and studio donated their services. The singers, musicians and arrangers all worked without payment. All our royalties and other income from the song will go into the fund.
"Of course there's a need to eliminate hunger everywhere in the world, but we felt the time had come to do something for our people here at home--especially the children."
A research paper undertaken at Harvard Medical School, listing the American counties most severely hit by hunger, will be used as a guide in fund distribution.
According to Diane Lolli, national executive director of the Jazz to End Hunger projects, the money raised by sales of the single, album, videotape and TV show will be funneled through existing organizations.