The Northampton Arts Council is an organization whose goal is to support and promote the arts in Northampton. Originally created as a Local Arts Lottery Council, it began its work by administering a grants program in which proceeds from a state lottery are distributed to local artists, arts groups, and public schools.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

“Why Duke Ellington Matters: My 40 Years in Jazz Radio,”


WHAT: Northampton Senior Center Speakers Series features Tom Reney
WHERE: Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street
WHEN: Wednesday, February 19 5:30-7 p.m.
               The event is free and open to the public

The Northampton Neighbors and Northampton Senior Center Speakers Series features Tom Reney, host of “Jazz a la Mode” on WFCR/NEPR and nationally recognized broadcaster and journalist, presenting “Why Duke Ellington Matters: My 40 Years in Jazz Radio,” a talk about the significance of Ellington as a jazz artist, cultural icon, and personal hero of Tom’s.

Talk in brief: Nearly 50 years after his death, Ellington remains a major influence in jazz as a composer, pianist and bandleader. Drawing inspiration from folk traditions, dance, and the collective memory of joys and sorrows, triumphs and tragedies of African-American life as expressed in spirituals, work songs, and the blues, he created an enormous body of music – all cohesive and recognizable as Ellingtonia. Reney, who was 13 when he first saw Edward Kennedy Ellington in concert, will discuss how Ellington inspired his decision to pursue a career in jazz radio and journalism, and the ongoing example he has set for the basic principles that guide Reney’s work as a nationally recognized host of jazz on the air. Tom will share some clips of Ellington’s music and consider why they matter.

Speaker bio: Tom Reney began his career in jazz radio in his hometown of Worcester, in 1977 at WCUW Community Radio. Since 1984, he has hosted “Jazz a la Mode” at WFCR/New England Public Radio in Amherst. In 2019, he was honored by the Jazz Journalists Association with the Marian McPartland-Willis Conover Award for Career Excellence in Broadcasting. He has written about music for numerous publications including Downbeat, the Boston Globe, Jazz Times, and the Worcester Telegram, and since 2011, has posted over 600 articles on his blog at nepr.net. He served as a consultant for the 2017 documentary, Horn From the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story, and curated a long-running jazz film series at Amherst Cinema. He has lectured on Duke Ellington

at Salem State University, Louis Armstrong at SatchmoFest in New Orleans, and has taught jazz history at Mount Holyoke College and the University of Massachusetts. He is a graduate of UMass, Amherst.

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