The 2015 Jazz Up Close series at the Russell Library was supported by a generous grant from the Middletown Commission on the Arts. 2015 guests included Freddie Bryant, Johnathan Blake, Nadje Noordhuis and Victor Lewis.
The 2015 season launched the Jazz Up Close phenomenon in earnest. Accompanied by me and bassist Henry Lugo, these 4 diverse yet uniformly noteworthy composer/performers shared their music, their stories, and their willingness to engage graciously with questions running the gamut from hyper-technical inquiries about their influences and practice routines to macro-level things about how jazz works. It was so gratifying to participate in such high-level music AND see audiences feel so welcomed by the whole process that there was no way I could imagine making it “one-and-done,” so once the euphoria abated a bit, the plans for theme-based seasons in subsequent years began in earnest.
-Noah Baerman, series curator