Having served for some years now as a board member and a past AJBF president, I would like to reflect on some of the past accomplishments of this organization and share with you our plans to a brighter future.
First, I want to say thank you to a charged AJBF Board of Directors that continues to enable us to be a strong organization that has provided our community and the State of Alabama the service of fostering jazz and blues. We can look back proudly and say that we continue to make a difference in our community.
This year, AJBF entered 30 years of service to Montgomery and the State of Alabama. AJBF's accomplishments through the years have been many. Events such as Jazz on the Grass, River Jam, The Blue Jean Ball, jazz and blues jams, and feature artist presentations such like Wynton Marsalis, Gerald Albright, Robben Ford, Spyro Gyro, Dave Weckl, Giocamo Gates, Sandy Patton, and the Funk Masters (alumnus of James Brown's Band) have all been a part of the success of AJBF. Countless local and regional artists have graced the AJBF stage and provided musical pleasure and entertainment at several of our local venues throughout the city.
Our Jazz on the Grass event, in the Shakespeare Festival Gardens, were premier Labor Day events in the River Region and capture audiences beyond our state's boundaries. Past artists for these events included the Southern Gentleman, a group that included Eric Essex (guitar), Joey Sommerville (trumpeter), and Michael Ward (violinist), 2 Blu and the Lucky Stiffs, Dee Lucas (saxophonist) along with some of our finest local and regional musicians helped round out what were stunning shows. AJBF also continued acknowledging those musicians and establishments that make a musical difference to our local entertainment scene. It is our hope that other venues will see the benefits of partnering with AJBF and help to keep jazz and blues at the forefront of entertainment in this region.
Each year in the month of January, we extend an invitation to our membership and the general public to get to know AJBF and the board that works so hard for you all year long. The event is free and includes free food and soft beverages. More events like this are being planned so that we can get to know you as you get to know us.
AJBF is entering its thirtieth year of service to Montgomery and Alabama. Plans are on the way for an event to help us commemorate this year 30 years of service. As we move forward this year, your board as plans to reveal the entire calendar of events for the year 2018 and 2019. This will give you a chance to plan and be a vital member and contributor to all of our upcoming events. Our major focus will continue to place emphasis on jazz education, scholarship, and honoring our veterans. We are committed to serving our community and general public.
I feel honored to serve as your president as I ask for your continued support. Please consider being a part of AJBF by joining the ranks of our membership.
Coleman N. Woodson Jr.
President, Alabama Jazz and Blues Federation
A Presidential Address
Looking to a Brighter Future