Late March 2020, in a shuttered New York City due to Covid, saxophonist Roy Nathanson took a cue from Italians who sang to the world from their balconies, and he marched out onto his own second-story Brooklyn porch to play “Amazing Grace.” He committed to playing one healing song each day, at precisely 5pm. Roy’s musician neighbors heard the call and joined him on the Flatbush sidewalk to improvise and share the music together. After an impressive 82 consecutive days of 5pm concerts with an expanding local audience, the musicians turned to creating a learning program for local youth, whose summer camp was cancelled and were unable to do much of anything during the lockdown. Making music together under the supervision of professional musicians revealed a remarkable balm for the Covid blues. This 23-minute film documents the culminating performance of the 5pm Porch Concert Ensemble and their students. “World of Fire” is a pandemic-aware procession that visits a suite of diverse musical and cultural styles on the porches, driveways, yards, and sidewalks of Marlborough Road. It is one neighborhood’s heartfelt response to a city, a country, and a world that is now so full of Fire.
That Healing Jazz Thing on a Porch in Brooklyn
For 82 days straight, a diverse group of musicians found their way to a stoop in Flatbush, and everybody followed the sax player. (It was his house.)
By conventional measures, religion took a big hit during the pandemic. Houses of worship were shuttered. Major holidays like Easter, Passover, and Eid al-Fitr were observed on the calendar but without the ordinary group celebrations. And major rituals like baptisms, funerals, and weddings took place via Zoom. But the spirit blows where it will, giving form to the void, and during extraordinary times like this one, it can give new meaning, depth, and understanding to what religion is, or could be.
Over in Ditmas Park, a nightly jazz fest broke out in late March when Gabe Nathanson, a 22-year-old senior at the University of Vermont, grabbed his trumpet. His father Roy, a 69-year-old teacher and celebrated jazz musician, strapped on his saxophone, and they belted out “Amazing Grace” duet from their second-floor balcony.
Los patios de estas casas en Ditmas Park se han convertido en salones de clases para que adolescentes practiquen sus habilidades musicales durante el verano.
A Brooklyn jazz musician put together a band that played one song every day for more than two months during the coronavirus pandemic. The musicians gathered outside the home of saxophonist Roy Nathanson and performed for people in the neighborhood.
For the past three months, 5PM Porch Concerts have offered neighbors in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn the performance of a single song daily at 5 pm from a distance along with other neighborhood musicians. Now, the music continues with the Summer Youth Program, in which musicians from the daily jam offer weekly porch lessons to middle school and high school students in the neighborhood. Students will have the chance to perform weekly outdoor concerts with instructors. For more information click below:
On Thursday and Friday, May 23 and 24, at 7:00 PM, the sounds and stories of the New York City subway filled the Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street), New York City, with STUCK ON SUBWAY MOON, a live multi- media musical performance that combines professional jazz musicians and filmmakers with original poetry and songs by high-school music students.
Members of the celebrated downtown ensemble THE JAZZ PASSENGERS were among the featured performers with public school students from the Institute for Collaborative Education in Manhattan, and the High School for Violin and Dance and the Bronx Early College Academy in the Bronx.
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View our video from Subway Moon performance on April 30, 2018 at Peter Norton Symphony Space in NYC. Participating students came from High School for Violin and Dance (Bronx), City-As-School (Manhattan), and I.C.E.
SUBWAY MOON is a project of Jazz Passengers Music Projects, Inc., a 501(c)3 not for profit corporation with a mission to create music education experiences that shine light on social injustices and enable performers and audiences to create, express and grow as human beings.
SUBWAY MOON is an on-going musical/video performing experience that combines the forces of professional jazz musicians and filmmakers with high-school music students from around the world.
New York City's Institute for Collaborative Education is the New York City high school that is home to Subway Moon.
Click below to visit Institute for Collaborative Education: