Jazz Revival Project Celebrates African American Music of N.C. June 6-7 in Wilson

N.C. Department of Cultural Resources's picture

The North Carolina Arts Council, The Arts Council of Wilson, and the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park will present a free concert, The Jazz Revival Project, Thursday, June 7 at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson. 

The Jazz Revival Project is a new effort that recognizes and celebrates the jazz heritage of Wilson, which is part of the African American Music Trails.

Legendary jazz drummer, composer, and educator Bill Kaye will perform for the first time in his home town of Wilson. Kaye will also talk with community members about his journey as a musician during a public listening session on Wednesday, June 6 at 217 Brew Works.

Kaye was born Willie King Seaberry in Wilson in 1932. He learned to play drums during his tenure in the U.S. Air Force and has performed with jazz titans like Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Lou Donaldson, and George Benson. A performer, composer, and educator, Kaye was the featured drummer for jazz workshops at the inaugural Newport Jazz Festival and is currently a music educator in the New York City public school systems through the Jazz Foundation of America’s Jazz Foundation in Schools program. 

Kaye has never performed in Wilson. “I’m elated about it,” says Kaye when asked how he feels about the upcoming concert. 

He will be accompanied by jazz organist Clarence Palmer, and North Carolina musicians Eric Dawson and Brian Miller, both on saxophone.  

Save the date for these Jazz Revival Project events:

Coming home: A conversation with Billy Kaye 
Wednesday, June 6 
6 to 7:30 p.m.
217 Brew Works, 217 South Street, Wilson 
North Carolina Central University drum instructor Thomas Taylor will host a listening session and interview with Billy Kaye. This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Arts Council of Wilson, the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, Comfort Suites Hotel, 217 Brew Works, and the N.C. Arts Council.

The Jazz Revival Project ft. Billy Kaye
Thursday, June 7 
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park
301 Goldsboro Street South, Wilson
Bring your lawn chairs for a relaxed evening of music featuring Wilson native Billy Kaye. Food and beverages will be for sale on site. The rain location is the Boykin Center.


About the African American Music Trails of North Carolina
Eastern North Carolina has produced some of the most transformative figures in the history of jazz, gospel, and popular music. Rocky Mount celebrates the birthplace of internationally renowned jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, and Greenville holds a festival to honor jazz artist Billy Taylor. Little Eva’s number one hit Loco-Motion helped put Kinston on the map as did five members of James Brown’s renowned band, who were from Kinston. Asheville-born Roberta Flack began her career teaching music in Wilson and singing with the jazz band The Monitors. Reverend F.C. Barnes was inspired to compose Rough Side of the Mountain on eastern North Carolina roads. The abundance of African American music and its musicians is one of the state’s best-kept secrets. Funk, blues, jazz, and gospel in Kinston, Tarboro, Wilson and everywhere in between. http://www.africanamericanmusicnc.com/
 

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