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Stages Free Concert : Academy Jazzes Up Membership Drive

September 11, 1986|LEONARD FEATHER

The National Academy of Jazz, now 18 months old, staged a membership drive in the form of a free concert Tuesday in the main hall of the Musician's Union, Local 47, on Vine Street.

The well-attended evening began with a group that included academy vice president Frank Capp on drums, along with several other musicians who have been active in the academy: Terry Gibbs on vibraphone, Plas Johnson on tenor sax, Mundell Lowe on guitar and saxophonist Red Holloway singing the blues with surprising conviction.

Because of the hall's notoriously poor sound system, singer Sue Raney wisely brought her own microphone. Her set, accompanied by Bob Florence at the piano, led to an engaging climax with a new song they recently co-composed, "Flight of Fancy," with Raney ending on one of her typically pure high notes.

Not too much happened afterward until Ann Patterson took to the stage. That her alto sax solo earned a standing ovation was perhaps not remarkable, except that she accomplished this by playing a ballad, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." Her appearance brought to a spectacular close an evening that increased the academy membership from 350 to 425.

According to academy president, television producer Jim Washburn, much of the academy's effort so far has been spent on setting up its status as a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation. That accomplished, the academy will now attempt to bolster its bankroll by soliciting new members nationally and abroad and by seeking grants and subsidies that the organization hopes will lead to a TV special comparable to the Kennedy Awards. Washburn remarked when the soiree came to a close: "We've only just begun to fight."

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