“We are thrilled to be able to support such a vital organization which brings jazz to a new generation of young people eager to embrace this dynamic and essential art form,” says Charleston.
Jana Herzen, President of Motéma Music, added, “Eli’s work with children creates an indelible impression that I’m sure stays with them for life and has a positive influence in many ways. His joy is infectious and his swing impeccable. I’ve been aware of his work for many years now and I’ve always enjoyed and admired him.”
Though officially incorporated in December of 2003, JDP began as an idea through a 1998 Meet the Composer-New Music for Schools Grant awarded to jazz composer Eli Yamin and monies from The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation. That year saw a workshop production of a jazz musical composed by Yamin and writer Clifford Carlson. The resulting effort, When Malindy Swings, based on a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, was a smash success; the JDP has since gone on to work with students around the globe, from NYC to Topeka, Kansas, to Bialystok, Poland.
Says Yamin, “Rondi Charleston brings her life experience to her songs, embracing the language of jazz as a living, breathing, and immediately relevant art form. That’s what The Jazz Drama Program does for children, telling stories that are relevant to children’s lives and giving young people access and opportunity to make jazz their own. We are grateful for Rondi’s support and the support of Motéma Music, a company that believes in the power of song to unite, uplift and inspire the world.”
To learn more about the Jazz Drama Project, visit them at thejazzdramaprogram.org