Keeping Jazz Musicians Alive

Many world-renowned jazz musicians have no pensions, no medical plans, no hope

The third recipient will be Wendy Oxenhorn. I hope the gala dinner will include a musical performance by Wendy. As she has demonstrated at the Jazz Foundation's annual benefit concerts at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, Wendy plays a penetratingly passionate blues harmonica.

Soon after Katrina struck, Wendy—speeding to Lafayette, two and a half hours from devastated New Orleans—had already gotten new instruments for stranded musicians and helped persuade local clubs in the area to provide extra gigs for the players. She also got money for them to work in local schools and shelters.

No request for help is beyond her determination. "We had one musician stuck in a shelter with his five-month-old baby," she recalls. "The Red Cross had run out of baby formula, and our social worker, Alisa, managed to get Similac (a maker of baby formula) to donate a case overnight."

Wendy Oxenhorn, the rhythm section for the Jazz Foundation of America
Wendy Oxenhorn, the rhythm section for the Jazz Foundation of America

If you want to be part of this essential branch of the jazz family, you can donate to the Jazz Foundation of America, 322 West 48th Street, 6th floor, New York, NY 10036; 212-245-3999, ext. 21; or The life from this music encircles the globe.

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