Listen to jazz music this fall in the Edison district of Kalamazoo

Editor’s Note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave’s On the Edison field series.

The Edison district will become jazzy.

Kalamazoo’s most populous neighborhood is looking to kick off a one-of-a-kind jazz festival in September featuring local artists as well as talented jazz artists from beyond.

“It’s about providing a quality of life in the neighborhood,” says Stephen Dupuie, executive director of the Edison Neighborhood Association. “When I think of quality of life, I think of arts and culture and the environment that people grow up in. So by doing this festival, we’re literally putting it on the streets and making it accessible to everyone for free. .”

Singer, songwriter and lyricist Fay Victor at home. She’ll be at the Edison Jazz Festival this fall.Dupuie says the festival will be a three-day event that will take place at three locations in Edison. There will be performances at City of Jerico, the recovered part of the factory district of the district. Located in the 1500 block of Fulford Street, it is now home to contractors, artisans and tradespeople. Another day, plans call for a block party with music, food trucks and a musical parade down Egleston Avenue (one section is to be closed for the day).

“Anyone who wishes can participate with their own instruments,” Dupuis says of the parade.

And a third day will feature rooftop performances atop the Creamery Building, the neighborhood’s new residential and commercial development. The $14.7 million affordable housing project opened last year at 1101 Portage Street. Rooftop performances must be followed by an event at the Theater of the Loir.

“We lined up the venues and we lined up the performers right down to people from out of town,” says Dupuie. “They are confirmed.”

The neighborhood association is now looking to raise approximately $25,000 which it needs to organize the festival. He hopes to find multiple donors. Those interested in making a contribution can do so by contacting the association at 269-382-0916 and visit his website. Individuals can click on any donation button and add a note that their contribution should be used for the Jazz Festival.

ASCAP Award-winning singer, songwriter, bandleader and producer Estar Cohen is also an improv comedy musician. She’ll be at the Edison Jazz Festival this fall.Among the recognized artists, the festival will feature internationally acclaimed bassist, bandleader and recording artist John Hebert; singer, songwriter and lyricist Fay Victor; and Estar Cohen, ASCAP Award-winning singer, songwriter, bandleader and producer. ASCAP – the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers – is an association of more than 850,000 American songwriters, composers and music publishers.

The event will also focus on showcasing the work of unsung black artists and honor the music of late jazz artist Herbie Nichols, a 1950s African-American improvisational artist who wanted to be a concert composer. but was denied access to Industry.

“These are the people who are sort of the big names lined up,” and he says, “There will be a lot of local artists as well.”

With over 9,000 residents and located just south and east of downtown Kalamazoo along Portage Street, Edison is Kalamazoo’s most populous neighborhood and considered its most diverse neighborhood. According to the 2016 census, it is 49% Caucasian, 28% African American and 19% Hispanic. This has made it a place with a lot of interest in culture and music.

The jazz festival is an outgrowth of what has become a popular Tuesday night jazz jam at the Dormouse Theater, a 200-seat theater at 1030 Portage St. at Washington Square in Edison. The theater will be a jazz festival venue.The Jazz Festival is one of them, an outgrowth of what has become a popular Tuesday night jazz jam at the Dormouse Theater, a 200-seat theater at 1030 Portage St. in Edison’s Washington Square neighborhood that serves as a venue for live entertainment and features performers and musicians. It opened last summer.

Dupuis was named chief executive of the neighborhood association earlier this year after serving on the board for about five years. He is the artistic director of the Dormouse Theater Group.

Speaking of jazz music, Dupuie says: “It naturally moved to the Loir.”

Jazz mavens and music students at Western Michigan University began hosting Tuesday night jazz jam sessions at the Dormouse Theater last year after the Union Cabaret & Grill closed. There were live music nights featuring jazz artists.

A concert on the roof of the Creamery will be part of the jazz festival.What should we think of this new event?

“First of all, it’s going to be a lot of fun,” says Dupuis. “Everything will happen at Edison. …People are going to see parts of the neighborhood that they may not have seen before because if they’re not from the neighborhood why would they go into that little pocket.

Speaking of Jerico Town as an example, he says, “This little pocket has a cafe, makerspaces, and stuff that’s off the beaten path. And so I really want people to think about how fun the event is going to be and all the different new places that they might not have been to because it’s not necessarily in their trajectory of places they are going.

Ada J. Kenney