More than 150 people attended the Bronx Museum of the Art's First Friday event on July 11th. The large audience was treated with a delightful performance of jazz history, music, and tap dance, along with an incredible spread of food and drink.
The night opened with a brief introduction by Maxine Gordon, Senior Interviewer and Jazz Researcher for Fordham Univeristy's Bronx African American History Project. Ms. Gordon is a Ph.D. Candidate in History of the African Diaspora at NYU and talked about the history of jazz music in the Bronx and its connections with the better-known Harlem jazz scene.
Following the talk, the Ray Abrams Big Swing Band took hold of the audience with two sets of swing and jazz music. The band, comprised of five saxophones, four trumpets, three trombones, an upright bass, drummer, keyboard player, and one frenetic conductor, fed off each other's individual performances in a traditional jazz performance style.
Tap dance performances by members of Hoofer's House, a talented group of improvisational tappers based in Harlem, were interspersed throughout the band's sets. While the band provided background music, the dancers tapped out melodic rhythms with style and sass.
The next First Friday event at the Museum will be an outdoor African Film Screening and music performance on August 1st from 6pm to 10pm. The event will take place at the Andrew Freedman Home at 1125 Grand Concourse at McClellan street.