The Richmond Jazz Society, in partnership with the Valentine , has created a multi-media exhibit called “Virginia Jazz: The Early Years,” shedding light on 35 Virginia artists who have made significant contributions to the development of Jazz. In this interview, Richmond Jazz Society Executive Director and exhibit curator BJ Brown discusses the impetus for the exhibit and touches on a few of the highlights. These include the stories of Roy Johnson’s Happy Pals, a territory band popular in the 20’s and 30’s that was based in Richmond; lyricist Henry Sterling Creamer, a one-time vaudeville singer and dancer and Broadway impresario who wrote lyrics for some timeless jazz standards and Jimmy Roots, the music director for Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the patriarch of a family of talented jazz and gospel musicians.
The exhibit will remain on display at the Valentine through April 30, 2018. There’s a variety of events that compliment the exhibit and the Richmond Jazz Society’s ongoing Jazz Preservation Initiative. You can find details here.