Capturing the richness and unique culture of jazz, A Big Apple Jazz Club Series is beginning its third season in Fort Wayne.
As part of the series, a variety of musicians will play as different projects such as the Sisi Ni Njia Ya Kale Project, which will perform Sunday. Series co-founder Michael Patterson will be joined by drummer Danny Reese and Tyrone Cato and Fey Fey Moussou on an assortment of instruments. The project's cultural influences include West Afrikan, eastern music, jazz and spoken word.
“Some of it might be jazz,” Patterson says. “Some of it might be more adventurous vocal music that defies genre.”
The series' goal is to allow skilled musicians to express themselves where they may not be able to elsewhere.
“What makes them happy is for artists to present the things that they do, like some of their more private works,” Patterson says.
As for the musicians themselves, Patterson knew several of them beforehand. He believes in them, allowing them to experiment and speak through their art.
“So, we just say, 'You got some music you want to present, present it,'” Patterson says. “We're not asking them to do anything other than be themselves.”
When Patterson and Ketu Oladuwa sat down in the summer of 2017 and discussed the local jazz scene, Oladuwa realized that they needed to bring back this lost art form.
“The first one we did in (October) 2017 was a packed house,” he says. “November and December were also a good turnout.”
With the positive response and feedback from the audience, the organizers realized they had tapped into a local musical need. They decided they wanted to present something more than the usual music played in public settings.
“We're not presenting the music as an entertainment format as much as community engagement and opportunities for the musicians to play their original music,” Oladuwa says.
Oladuwa is friends with Wunderkrammer Co. owner Dan Swartz, who supported the idea of community connections. The venue aims to be a place for community togetherness and cultural diversity.
“We all have cultural experiences, and when we're able to value and understand that, we all come to a public space with our experiences,” Oladuwa says, adding that those experiences can be heard and honored in events like the series, which helps make a better community.
The doors will open at 4:30 p.m. at Wunderkammer Co., 3402 Fairfield Ave. The event will have food, vendors and a cash bar. Advance tickets are available through Eventbrite.com and more information about the series can be found on its Facebook page.
The group also has a GoFundMe Page to support its upcoming season.