SWEET NOTES ON Jazz in Detroit!!

Recent NEWS / Announcing NEW Band Member: Taslimah Bey!


JAZZistry board member, broadcaster and jazz scholar, Linda Yohn attended the 2021 Detroit Jazz Festival as a member of the press and worked on the livestream hosting team for WRCJ-FM in Detroit. She shares thoughts and appreciation of the magnificent musicianship and professional production efforts for the virtual Detroit Jazz Festival. She shares her photos and describes the unusual festival experience on Detroit’s annual Labor Day Weekend tradition.

“When it was announced that the 2021 Detroit Jazz Festival would go to virtual presentation, Detroit jazz fans shed a collective tear.  With COVID cases rising and Detroit Hart Plaza renovation behind schedule, there was no way that festival producers could guarantee safe viewing given social distancing requirements.  Fortunately, the festival team had experience from 2020 and was prepared to improve on last year’s performances and production. 

“Numbers don’t lie and the results are out:  The 2021 Detroit Jazz Festival doubled stream coverage from 2020.  More than 2 million viewers from every continent except Antarctica took in the concerts which could run over 12 hours continuously in a day. …”

Recent NEWS for 2021!

JAZZistry is Thrilled to WELCOME Detroiter TASLIMAH BEY to the JAZZistry Band!!

Taslimah P. Bey, Ragtime Piano Expert

“When I play ragtime, it feels like coming home.” Taslimah P. Bey began studying classical music at age 16, then switched to jazz in her senior year of high school. She started researching ragtime music and the roots of jazz while in college. When Taslimah heard Charlie Gabriel—clarinet and saxophone player with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band—play his horn, the music she had been reading about came alive. She formed Taslimah’s Ragtime Band, which featured the compositions of early ragtime composers, including Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Tom Turpin, Artie Matthews, Harry P. Guy and James P. Johnson. For her efforts in performing the music and lecturing on the lives of these highly talented 20th century American composers, Taslimah received an award for the Preservation of African-American Music from the Society for the Culturally Concerned in Detroit. READ MORE on MUSICIANS page....


Jazzistry Oral History Blue LLama Interview vol 1


We have been greatly saddened to learn of the recent passing of two of JAZZistry’s most significant players. In a time of much loss to the world, these two ‘fallen stars’ will leave both significant impact from their inspired playing and great story-telling abilities. JAZZistry feels these losses, greatly. And we are most thankful for having the impact of knowing and working with these fine men with us forever. 

George Bennett,
September 16, 1950 – May 15, 2021

Gentle George was the founding JAZZistry drummer, putting his indelible stamp on the role of percussionist, from African drums to train whistles to teaching the Caribbean rhythms to kids, he connected with students everywhere. George’s life will be celebrated on Thursday, July 8 2021 from 10am until 2pm at Nie Family Funeral Home, 3767 W. Liberty Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48103. There will be musical pieces and speaking between 11am and 1pm. Family and friends are welcome to come and go as they please. Those wishing to honor George’s memory with a charitable donation might consider: Vincent York’s JAZZistry: https://vincentyorkjazzistry.org/donatesupport-us/ WEMU https://www.wemu.org/donate#stream/0 The Heidelberg project:https://www.heidelberg.org/donate

CLICK FOR GEORGE FRANKLIN BENNETT OBIT & INFO on Memorial Gathering, July 8th, 2021

Gary Schunk,
September 22, 1953 – April 2, 2021

Gary Schunk, age 67, has been JAZZistry's pianist, wowing audiences in every style of music since 2008. Gary was a stellar classically trained jazz pianist based primarily in Detroit. He leaves behind a rich musical legacy. Gary was also a huge fan of drag racing. Donations may be directed to Capuchin Soup Kitchen. 21. He is survived by his beloved daughter, Natalie Schunk, and many friends and musical colleagues. A Memorial Concert will be held Thursday, July 8th at the Blue LLama Jazz Club in Ann Arbor.

CLICK BELOW For the FREE CONCERT! Vincent York on INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY. Other EVENTS are on the JAMming w/ JAZZistry Page ... and below


THESE JAMming EVENTS are still available, CLICK the BUTTON in the box below to get there!


A rare combination of jazz. history and artistry this short film, stars VINCENT YORK & Detroit's MI Central Train Station. It is a double portrait of two old souls. By Yi Cui, 2009. 12 minutes.

Also a Recorded – SPECIAL LIVE ZOOM with Vincent & Yi

JAZZistry's Oral History Project: Blue LLama Interview

Vol. 1: Hear about Vincent's early life on the Chitlin' Circuit and how he began working on his chops & researching JAZZistry when still a kid!

What's Your JAZZistry IQ?: Online Trivia Game

Test your JAZZistry IQ with this fun, multiple choice online trivia game. Full of surprises and you might just learn something cool.

STREAMING: Vincent York's IJD Concert @ Kerrytown Concert House

9th Annual International Jazz Day Concert Kerrytown Concert House

28 Years of Jazzistry in Schools & Beyond

Showcasing the Soundtrack to US History

Jazzistry takes audiences through 400 years of US history, showing how jazz grew out of our shared multicultural heritage. exciting learning in over 400 schools across Michigan.

Diverse Educational Programs

Jazzistry's live multi-media performance is modified for the age and interests of the audience from children and adults, We work across the school curriculum and energize teaching and learning.

Teacher Workshops & Artist Visits

We partner with schools, planning with teachers how to make extra links to the curriculum. Smaller group intro sessions also make extra connections.

Musicians as Story-tellers & Role Models

Jazzistry tells the fascinating stories that surround great American music, our virtuoso musicians are Jazzistorians through music and great stories.

Interactive Shows & Student Performers

Students are always part of the show, especially in our Integrated High School model. which engages students with the Jazzistry Band and production roles for the final school performance,

Concerts & Events

In addition to schools, Vincent York delivers numerous community performances throughout the year. His own straight-ahead jazz band and his Bands For Hire are also active.

See Vincent York's JAZZistry in Action:

Watch the Original JAZZistry Intro Video c. 2004

The 11-minute video features Founding JAZZistry Band, Founding Board Members & First Friends!

Play Video

The original JAZZistry intro video–circa 2004–features founding Board members and our original musicians.
We dedicate this video to our friends who have passed over:

Alma Smith, Countess of the Blues, piano

John Dana, bassist & friend

Also performing:
Dwight Adams, trumpet
Ron English, guitar & banjo
George Bennett, drums

Award Winning Programs

Meet VINCENT YORK Creator, Artistic Director & Bandleader. Plays alto/tenor/soprano saxophones, clarinet, flute, piccolo, oboe

Vincent York portraitBorn into a family of jazz musicians in Vero Beach, Florida, York was introduced to the music of Charlie Parker in the 9th grade. This ignited his exploration and love for jazz history. His research for what became Jazzistry started with the questions: Who most influenced the constantly evolving art form? How did history impact the sound?

He attended Southern University at Baton Rouge as a music education major and became the first jazz studies major under clarinetist Alvin Batiste. After graduate study in classical saxophone at the University of Michigan under Donald Sinta, York toured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington. In 1977 he formed his own band, Vincent York’s new York Force.

York has recorded and/or performed with noteworthy jazz artists including Ray Charles, Marcus Belgrave, Louis Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Motown stars such as The Temptations, The Four Tops and Aretha Franklin. He was also the musical director for Martha Reeves. 

York has 2 recordings, Vincent York’s new York Force and Blending Forces; the first was voted Best Jazz Album of the Year by MetroTimes.  

York continues to play Straight-Up jazz whenever possible. His performances at The Blue LLama Jazz Club, the Detroit Jazz Festival and other venues, you can hear the depth of his understanding of the foundations of jazz while showing where jazz is headed. York’s concerts and annual performances- including Kerrytown Concert House’s International Jazz Day Concerts– showcase his artistry, composing talents… and continuing development as a virtuoso jazz musician.

"The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the backyard on a hot night, or something said long ago."

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Jazz Great

"Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life."

Image © Chuck Stewart
Art Blakey
Jazz Great

"Our history is in the music and the music IS our history.
You just need to know how to listen to it."

Vincent York
Jazzistry Creator, Jazz Great

"Everyone's got to be different. You can't copy anybody and end up with anything. If you copy, it means you're working without any real feeling. And without feeling, whatever you do amounts to nothing."

Billie Holliday Public Domain
Billie Holiday
Jazz Great

“Jazz is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.”

duke ellington top hat
Duke Ellington
Jazz Great

"Creativity grows out of two things: Curiosity and imagination."

Benny Goodman Public Domain
Benny Goodman
Jazz Great

"Anything you are shows up in your music - jazz is whatever you are, playing yourself, being yourself, letting your thoughts come through."

ml williams
Mary Lou Williams
Jazz Great

“Every American can be proud of jazz.
It embodies our most admired cultural characteristics —
self expression, spontaneity, boldness and invention!" 

Vincent York portrait
Vincent York
Creator of Jazzistry, Jazz Great

"Jazz objectifies America. It’s an art form that can give us a painless way of understanding ourselves."

Wynton Marsalis
Jazz Great

"Jazz must first tell a story that everyone can understand."

Thelonius Monk
Jazz Great

"Jazz is America’s classical music. It is an American way of playing music."

billy taylor
Billy Taylor
Jazz Great