Southeast Queens Jam Fest
August 20, 2020 (New York) — While Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) produced programs and performances throughout the pandemic on its digital platforms, Friday, September 12 marks a return to live events at its landmark Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC, 153-10 Jamaica Avenue).
Southeast Queens Jam Fest, a free, socially distanced concert, will kick off at 4pm on the lawn of JPAC. The event will feature a lineup of seven of the brightest musicians in the community, in mediums ranging from Hip Hop to Jazz, R&B and Afro-Diasporic Percussion.
Southeast Queens Jam Fest is made possible by a generous grant from New Music USA. The concert is among 110 awarded projects that involve new music as a central element, each one demonstrating the imaginative, diverse, high-quality work that New Music USA is dedicated to supporting. While the grant was initially intended for JCAL’s annual Downtown Jamaica Jazz Festival, the institution pivoted to the Southeast Queens Jam Fest in light of COVID-19. Thanks to New Music USA, JCAL is bringing live performance back to the community.
The concert, and its lineup of community-based musicians, recommits JCAL to being a thriving hub for arts, culture and community spirit in Southeast Queens, and in the borough as a whole.
Along with seven musical sets (see bios below), the Southeast Queens Jam Fest will also feature two census-taking stations to inspire residents of Jamaica, South Jamaica and greater Southeast Queens area to participate in the 2020 Census — and to prevent a community undercounting. This initiative is made possible by a grant to JCAL from the New York State Census Equity Fund through New York Community Trust.
COVID-19 safety protocols will be observed at the concert. Each visitor will be required to complete a mandatory contact and travel history form, and a temperature check. Face masks will be required throughout and hand sanitizer will be provided. Chairs will be spaced six feet apart, and marked areas for standing will also be established.
“We’re incredibly excited to bring back live music to Jamaica — with safety our top priority,” said Courtney Ffrench, JCAL’s Interim Executive Director. “We are greatly appreciative of New Music USA for the flexibility in their support.” Added Leonard Jacobs, JCAL’s Interim Executive Director, “We’re also really pleased to link the Southest Queens Jam Fest to driving up participation in the census. Every vote in Jamaica counts!”
Meet the Performers in Southeast Queens Jam Fest
Adam Hutcheson – Saxophonist Adam Hutcheson has been active in the NYC music scene since 2013, and has performed alongside some of the jazz scene’s most in-demand musicians. He has recorded on numerous albums as a sideman and released two albums as a leader (Dreaming is Free, AH2 Vol. 1). Hutcheson earned his masters degree in jazz studies from the University of North Texas, where he played lead alto in the Grammy-nominated One O’Clock Lab Band and was an active performer and educator in the thriving Dallas/Ft. Worth music scene.
Bria Monét – A Queens native, Bria Monét began her formal music education as a child learning keyboard at JCAL, making her a proud alumna. However, it was during her time at LaGuardia High School of the Arts that she taught herself to play electric guitar. This has become a powerful vessel for her creative expression and storytelling, allowing her to weave warm soundscapes with rich harmony, anchored in faith and hope. Through songwriting, Monét has found power in the choice to be vulnerable, and that through intimate performance, audiences will find themselves humbly invited to look deeper inward.
Ashley Keiko – Ashley Keiko is a performer, music educator and advocate. She expanded her music academy in January 2018 by opening a storefront location that caters to adults and children who aim to explore the importance of music and music expression in a community where opportunities for music education are limited. She has performed at the Apollo Theater, the University of Wollongong in Australia, and for Steve Harvey on Family Feud. She has been a member of the York College Blue Notes, playing as lead saxophonist for venues such as Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem and Live at the Gantries.
J La Sol – J La Sol is a poet and emcee hailing from Queens. Generally known as a quiet child, Sol found his voice through the power of poetry, which ultimately evolved into the art of music. Since then, he has used his talents to inspire and share his story with people all across New York City and different parts of the country. Sol believes his voice is meant for more than just stages, and he proves that by performing in subways, museums, schools and much more.
Keith Jordan – Keith Jordan was raised in Jamaica, Queens. He went to Hillcrest High School, where he was in the chorus and started playing the guitar. He then went to Queens College where he studied music. After graduating, Jordan continued to play music in the tristate area, and started writing and producing music. He has continued to write and produce music for various artists in the tristate area. While Jordan continues to write and produce, he also plays in different parts of the U.S. and Europe.
Kofi Hunter – Kofi Hunter imagines a world where Art can transform lives. As an in-demand multi-percussionist, he has been given the opportunity to support some of the biggest names in music, from Robert Glasper Experiment saxophonist Casey Benjamin to Hip Hop superstar GolDLink. Hunter, along with his brother, established an Afro-Diasporic neo-folk percussion and vocal group named Akoko Nante Ensemble. Akoko Nante has performed at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Concert Series, and has been featured as a musical guest on VICE’s The Untitled Action Bronson Show. Their debut album, Nkrabea: Destiny, is available on all streaming platforms.
K.Credle – K.Credle, a songwriter and artist born and raised in South Jamaica, Queens, is the CEO of Credle Entertainment. From an early age, he has been influenced by the sounds around him. When his father began directing the choir, it became clear that his life would forever be influenced by music. After some time, he began to explore the combination of melodies and rhymes and took to the art of rapping. He’s released his debut album, LONE WOLF 2, on June 5, 2019. It is available on all streaming platforms and recently surpassed 100,000 streams.
an excerpt from the inaugural festival in 2019
Start and End Dates
Queens, New York