FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jazz lovers unite in an Intimate Concert to Benefit the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial Fund
Dr. Ana Isabel Ordonez, Ruby Flower Records, Christopher Kennedy Lawford and Cheryl Wills joins with The Dizzy Gillespie/Englewood to Fundraiser for Jazz Musicians worldwide in New York, October 16th at the incarnation of the Historic Cotton Club in New York.
The Historic Cotton Club Harlem and Ruby Flower Prods presents on October 16, 2012 the Dizzy Gillespie/Englewood Fundraiser. Dizzy Gillespie is one of the most influential figures in many American musical forms, having first revolutionized jazz in the 40s by being one of the acknowledged inventors of bebop; and then again in the decades that followed when he championed the rich rhythms of Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, and Brazilian music that, to a large extent, still dominate jazz to this very day. Born October 21, 1917, Cheraw, South Carolina, John Birks Gillespie, Dizzy moved to Philadelphia with his family at age 18 and joined Frankie Fairfax’s band before moving on to New York City and Teddy Hill’s big band in 1937.
Later he played with all the greats Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Earl Hines, and Billie Holliday. He met Charlie Bird Parker in 1940, Thelonious Monk, and others. Gillespie was the first jazz artist to be sent abroad under the auspices of the United States government, spreading American goodwill and good music around the world. John Birk s Gillespie died on January 6, 1993, Englewood, New Jersey. The Dizzy Gillespie Memorial Fund helps underwrite the costs of hospitalization, diagnostic tests, and a full range of surgical and medicalcare for jazz musicians who are uninsured and without the ability to pay. Since its formation, the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial Fund-Englewood Hospital has provided over $5 million in medical services, the Fund is 100% donor supported. Dr. Francis Forte, Oncologist and accomplished guitar player runs the cause. The Memorial Fund was the last wish of Dizzy.
The fund-raiser is hosted by actor, writer and activist Christopher Kennedy Lawford.
He spent 20 years in the film and television industries as an actor, lawyer, executive and producer. He is the author of two New York Times bestselling books, Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption (2005) and Moments of Clarity (2009). He has also published Healing Hepatitis C (2009) and his newest work, Recover to Live, Kick Any habit, Manage Any Addiction, is forthcoming. In recovery for more than 26 years from drug addiction , Mr. Lawford campaigns tirelessly on behalf of the recovery community in both the public and private sectors. He presently works with the United Nations, the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse, the White House Office on Drug Control Policy and the World Health Organization. He also consults with Fortune 500 companies and numerous non-profit groups, speaking around the world on issues related to addiction, mental health and Hepatitis C. In 2009, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Mr. Lawford to the California Public Health Advisory Committee. In 2011, Mr. Lawford was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime to promote activities supporting drug treatment, care and recovery. He also serves as National Advocacy Consultant for Caron Treatment Centers. Mr. Lawford holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University, aJuris Doctor from Boston College Law School and a Masters Certification in Clinical Psychology from Harvard Medical School where he held an academic appointment as a Lecturer in Psychiatry.
Chris will be accompanied by NY1 Anchor Woman, Cheryl Wills.
Mrs. Wills is an award-winning television personality for Time Warner Cable flagship national news network, New York 1 News, based in New York City. She has been with the news channel since its launch in 1992 and the journalist is also the author of Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale; which traces her great-great-great grandfather Sandy Wills; courageous service in the Civil War as a member of the United States Colored Troops. On March 25, 2011, Cheryl Wills made history as the first journalist invited to speak inside the United Nations General Assembly Hall for the International Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Cheryl is also a blogger for the internationally renowned The Huffington Post and she contributes to Essence.com. A nationally recognized public speaker, Cheryl has been tapped to host and speak events at The Essence Music Festival, McDonalds Gospel Fest, The Congressional Black Caucus and The World Summit of Mayors in Senegal West Africa. As a television journalist, Cheryl Wills has been a reliable guide through everything from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to moderating televised discussions about the presidency of Barack Obama. She has received numerous awards for her work including New York Press Club and AP Awards, the YMCA National Black Achievers in Industry Award. In 2010, McDonalds honored Wills as a broadcasting legend during a regional ad campaign. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from New York College of Health Professions in May of 2005. Her acting work has included playing herself in television shows like NBC Law & Order SVU and major motion pictures such as Freedomland, starring Samuel Jackson, and The Brave One, with Jodie Foster andTerrence Howard. Wills is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and is the V.P. of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; an active member of The Women’s Forum of New York, The Links, Incorporated, The Inner Circle of City Hall Journalist; The New York Press Club, and The Screen Actors Guild. Cheryl is also proud to be a The Founding Commander of the New York Chapter of the Sons & Daughters of the United States Colored Troops.