What made jazz America’s first original art form was its genesis as a blend of cultural traditions brought by immigrants. One of those integral aspects was something Jelly Roll Morton called the “Spanish tinge,” the Latin rhythms of the Caribbean found in New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast.
Chief among those island influences has been the big island-nation just south of Florida. Bebop architect Dizzy Gillespie put the influence front and center throughout the mid-20th century when he discovered the rich Afro-Cuban musical traditions ripe for introduction to the world. The names that came from that revelation — Chano Pozo, Tito Puente, Mario Bauza, Paquito D’Rivera and Arturo Sandoval, among others — would change history.
Coincidentally timed with the warming of relations between Cuba and the U.S. government, the Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed (MOJO) pays homage to this musical relationship with a program on Aug. 24, 6:30 p.m. at the Gulf City Lodge (601 State St.). They’ve employed Roman Street to lead the musical salute. The Thompson brothers will be joined by bassist JoJo Morris, drummer Bryan Morris and guest percussionist Andy Williams. Also on hand will be Maria Mendez, director of Latin American sales and trade development for the Alabama State Port Authority.
Entrance to the event is $12, $10 for students and military, and $8 for MOJO members. The entrance includes a light jambalaya dinner and a cash bar will be available.
For more information, call 251-459-2298, go to mojojazz.org or email [email protected]t.
Fantasy author has book signing
Mobile author Angela Quarles has been busy since she was the focus of Artifice back in April of this year. She has completed a new novel, “Must Love Chainmail,” a time travel romance along the lines of her previous award-winning work “Must Love Breeches.” Rather than a modern woman being sent back to pre-Victorian England, this lady heads all the way back to medieval Wales.
On Aug. 22, Quarles will hold a book signing and wine social at Firehouse Wine Bar and Shop (216 St. Francis St.) from 4-6 p.m. On hand will be both of the aforementioned titles plus “Steam Me Up, Rawley,” her steampunk romance set in 1890 Mobile.
Studio and office space available
Looking for office space for a nonprofit? How about studio space? You might have a couple of options available at either end of Midtown.
Rev. Chris Bullock at Central Presbyterian Church (1260 Dauphin St./intersection of Ann and Dauphin) is exploring the possibility of renting rooms in the church’s buildings to artists and arts nonprofits. The church would be able to offer Internet, Wi-Fi, copying, printing, faxing and air conditioned/heated spaces of varying sizes for a reasonable cost. Some furniture could be available for use as well.
Call Rev. Bullock at 251-432-0591 or email [email protected] for more information.
If the western end of Midtown is more to your liking, a spot near Interstate 65 might have what you need. A sizable amount of studio space is available at Azalea City Center for the Arts (63 Midtown Park E.), described as approximately 1,400 square feet including an office and waiting area. Rent is $1,350 per month and terms of the lease are negotiable.
Contact owner/director Chris Paragone at 251-510-1808 to set up a time to view the space.
Mobile Opera auditions in late August
Mobile Opera is still looking for new chorus members of all voice types. Auditions will be held Tuesday, Aug. 25, 5:30 p.m. at the Larkins Music Center (257 Dauphin St.).
Prepare an operatic aria or any other appropriate selection and bring sheet music with you for the provided accompanist. All interested parties must schedule an audition time.
For more information or to schedule an audition, please call Stacey Driskell at 251-432-6772.