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Sound of Charlotte Blog

5 Questions With: Lonnie Davis, co-founder and president of Charlotte’s Jazz Arts Initiative

The Charlotte Symphony brings The Jazz Room to Knight Theater on Friday, April 15 for an exciting KnightSounds collaboration. We caught up with Lonnie Davis, co-founder and president of Charlotte's Jazz Arts Initiative to chat about Charlotte's jazz scene and our upcoming collaboration.
Tell us a little bit about how orchestral music influenced jazz.
The Swing and Big Band era was heavily influenced by classical music, with intricate arrangements from band leaders like Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, and others. Instruments that were used primarily in classical music have also been played by many jazz musicians--contrabass, violin, flute, oboe, and even bassoon. Many of George Gershwin's compositions have been adopted into the standard repertoire of jazz musicians and the American Song Book.

What will this collaboration be like?
For JAI, the collaboration will be fun. It will certainly be a new approach to the music, and we are really looking forward to it! Ocie Davis and his quartet sees this opportunity for great musicians to get together for a unique and fulfilling musical exchange between and across disciplines.

Does Charlotte have a good jazz scene?
Charlotte has a growing jazz scene. There is a lot of momentum around jazz and jazz-influenced programs in the Queen City--it's a very exciting time for jazz musicians and supporters in Charlotte!

Why is it important for a city like Charlotte to support the jazz scene?
Jazz is America's gift to the world--a true and original art form. Jazz is America's classical music. Charlotteans should support jazz and the musicians that perform it, because this music brings people together, and represents the American experience.

What should Charlotteans know about jazz?
Many prominent and legendary figures in jazz are from the Carolinas (Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Nina Simone). We must support the continuation of this great local jazz legacy.

Tagged as interview, Jazz.

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