Rhymin’ Simon swings $3.6 mil Wynton’s way

Jazz at Lincoln Center has released a “Post Gala Report” on the April 18 concert debut of Paul Simon performing his career songbook with both his band and the Lincoln Center Jazz

from left: Mark Stewart, Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis (photo by Kevin Mazur)

Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, plus special guest vocalist Aaron Neville.  $3.6 million was raised at the black tie event, which provided dinner and dancing for some 900 attendee-donors who also honored Lisa Schiff, retiring Chairman of the Board of JALC.

According to Jon Pareles in the New York Times, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra’s member-arrangers and Wynton as soloist added new dimensions to Simon’s famous but not typically improvisation-friendly tunes. Simon’s own band performed back and forth and sometimes in part with the Jazz Orchestra, which, Pareles writes,

. . . had a hard act to follow: Mr. Simon’s meticulous originals, with their ingenious cultural hybrids and ever nimble rhythms. His music is tightly wound, and within it are hints and implications that the big-band arrangements could pick up, and did.

Famous names at JALC’s Rose Theater and a gala dinner in the Allen Room, spilling out into the Atrium included Susan Sarandon, Miss Cissy Houston, Glenn Close, Laurence Fishburne, Rosanne Cash, Miss Cicely Tyson, Soledad O’Brien, Angela Bassett and Courtney Vance. Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented Ms. Schiff with theEd Bradley Award for Leadership in Jazz, and Mr. Bradley’s widow spoke. Dinner was “chilled main lobster with Meyer lemon salad, an entrée of chicken pot pie with truffles, root vegetables, potato pearles and pears . . .bananas fost and strawberry rhubarb crumb tart” catered by Great Performances. Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks played for dancing.

The price structure for gala attendance was: Tables for ten guests:  $100,000; $50,000; $35,000; and $20,000; Single tickets: $5,000 and $2,500; Limited availability tickets: $1,500. For tax deduction purposes, tickets were valued at $300. Two other performances of Paul Simon with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis followed on April 19 and 20; tickets for those shows started at $75.

  • Here’s a point of reference: The night of the presentation of the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters at a Jazz at Lincoln Center performance, NEA chairman Rocco Landesman announced that 12 not-for-profit organizations will receive grants totaling $135,000 to bring outstanding jazz musicians, writers, producers, and scholars to communities across the nation through NEA Jazz Masters Live.

$3.6 million divided by $135,o0o = 26.7 grants that could get outstanding jazz musicians, writers, producers and scholars to communities across the nation at NEA fees.


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  1. MP says

    Okay, I’m no math whiz – but if 135k which covers 12 not for profit orgs… that sounds like 11,250 per org

    Take that 3.6 mil and break it up into 11,250 dollar grants and you could give 320 orgs a nice boost to their programming.

    aaarrrggghh! I don’t want to deny the educational, non-commerical work of JALC their funding but c’mon already sounds like too many eggs in one basket to me.