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GCAC Presents: Jazz Intoxication

Scott Vezdos Scott Vezdos GCAC Presents: Jazz IntoxicationByron Stripling and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra return to the stage this weekend. Find out more below! (Photo by Stephen Pariser.)
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Byron Stripling, artistic director of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, performing during JazZoo. Photo by Stephen Pariser.

On December 22, 1933, amid growing fears over the perceived threat posed by that relatively new fad, jazz music, Washington State Representative William A. Allen submits his proposal (House Bill 194) to establish a commission that will study the presumably dangerous and harmful effects that the largely African American art form might be having on the general public.

Allen’s intention, as stated in that bill, was to establish a five-man statewide commission “to survey the havoc being wrought on society as a result of jazz intoxication.” Furthermore, “If it be found that our people are becoming dangerously demented, confused, distracted or bewildered by jazz music, the commission should recommend that the governor act to bring about immediate cessation.”

Fret not though, Allen had a solution in mind for this problem: “All persons convicted of being jazzily intoxicated shall go before the Superior Court and be sent to an insane asylum.”

An even earlier example of the pseudoscientific connection between jazz and chemical intoxication comes from a medical report in a 1923 issue of The Negro Times which states:

The quick and staccato tempo of jazz music, with the plaintive and pleading notes of the violin and clarinet; the screeching of the horns, the moaning of the trombone, the calling and imploring tones of the saxophone, the rhythmic beatings of the drums, all these send a continuous whirl of impressionable stimulations to the brain producing the sights and imaginations which overpower the will, and thus reason and reflection are lost, and the actions of the person are directed by the stronger animal passions. In other words, jazz music intoxicates; it affects the brain through the sense of hearing, giving the same result as whiskey or other alcoholic drinks taken into the system by way of the stomach. Thus jazz music has the same effect as a drug; one can become addicted to its use; the more you hear it the more you desire its stimulation.

If we are to believe that jazz reveals such latent animal desires and instincts, then the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium should be the perfect venue for the Columbus Jazz Orchestra as it takes center stage for the eighth season of JazZoo!

Michael Cox pleasing the crowd during 2012 JazZoo concert, Rock 'n' Roll Meets the Blues. Photo by Stephen Pariser.

The four-concert series returns to the Water’s Edge Events Park at the Columbus Zoo providing a beautiful waterfront setting along the O’Shaughnessy Reservoir. Gates open at 6:30 PM with concerts beginning at 8 PM.

July 12, 8 PM: “Soul Classics” featuring Chris Pierce

Special opening performance by the Jazz Academy’s Columbus Community Big Band camp

Join Byron Stripling and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra at Water’s Edge Events Park for a JazZoo! season kick-off of soul classics! Making his return to Columbus is Los Angeles-based soul/R&B artist Chris Pierce to help salute the legendary figures of soul including Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke and many more!

July 19, 8 PM: “Come Together Live” featuring Jonathan Elliott (The Floorwalkers) & Nia Allen

Special performance by 2013 Hank Marr High School Jazz Award Winner

Monkey fingers and walrus gumboots alike will “Come Together” at the zoo as the CJO recreates its latest album live from start to finish! Guest vocalists Jonathan Elliott (The Floorwalkers) and Nia Allen lend their extraordinary vocal talents to rekindle the studio magic on this beautiful lakefront setting.

August 2, 8 PM: “Sinatra, Our Way” featuring Dwight Lenox & Phil Clark (HooDoo Soul Band)

The CJO will fly you to the moon as they pay tribute to the Chairman of the Board in this timeless set under the stars. The rich tenor voice of Dwight Lenox and raw vocal talent of Phil Clark (HooDoo Soul Band) will serenade the night with the toe-tappin’ sounds of classic jazz, done our way!

August 16, 8 PM: “Blues at the Zoo” featuring Sean Carney

Special opening performance by Winchester Steel Co. (Canal Winchester High School)

International Blues Challenge (IBC) winner and Albert King Best Guitarist Award-winner Sean Carney joins the CJO for “Blues at the Zoo.” Don’t miss this final night of JazZoo! where jazz meets its close cousin for a blues-rockin’ good time!

The zoo shows off a young caracal! Photo by Stephen Pariser.

Ticket prices (includes zoo admission and concert, parking is $8 per car for all but zoo members):

Adult single: $29 (advance)/$35 (day of)

Adult single: $27 (advance)/$30 (day of) for CJO subscribers/Columbus Zoo members

Student single: $15 with ID

Adult concert series: $99 per person

Single concert corporate table of 8: $350 (does not include food)

Concert series corporate table of 8: $1,200 (does not include food)

Single concert tickets and full series tickets can be purchased from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium via phone at 614.724.3485 or online at www.columbuszoo.org. Single concert tables and full series tables can be reserved through the Jazz Arts Group at 614.294.5200 x 110. Advance catering options are also available from Catering by Scott.

The 2013 JazZoo! concert series is presented by Wells Fargo Advisors and The Columbus Dispatch. Individual concert sponsorship for “Sinatra, Our Way” provided by The Columbus Crew/Hunt Sports Group. Additional media support is made possible by Radio One Columbus and WOSU Public Media.

Call 614.294.5200 or visit www.jazzartsgroup.org for more information. Sources: HistoryLink.org, The Seattle Daily Times, The Negro Times.

GCAC Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus – in partnership with the Columbus Arts Marketing Association, a professional development and networking association of arts marketers. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at the arts in Columbus.

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