The Original Jazz Messengers

April 1954, Easter Sunday Concert, Town Hill Night Club, NYC & March 1956, Carleton Terrace, NYC

Produced by L. Bruce Hopewell, featuring Co-Leader Art Blakey (Drums), Co-Leader Horace Silver (Piano), Hank Mobley (Trumpet), Kenny Dorham, Doug Watkins (Bass). Sold Out dance-concert for five hundred adoring fans.

Festival On The River

Summer 1972-1973, Staten Island Ferry, NYC

Leo Bruce Hopewell, founder and guiding producer of Festival on the River, organized a series of Jazz Cruises aboard the Staten Island Ferry in New York City during the summers of 1972 and 1973. These cruises featured some of the greatest jazz artists of the time.

Sixty various Jazz orchestras and Jazz groups participated and performed before an audience of more than 38,000 visitors, including Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, The World’s Greatest Jazz Band, Dave Brubeck, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Maxine Sullivan, Joe Newman Septet, Chico Hamilton Septet, Robin Kenyatta, Sy Oliver Orchestra, Dorothy Donegan, Charles McPherson Quintet, Junior Mance, Machito Orchestra, Roy Haynes Hip Ensemble, Wild Bill Davis Trio, Stuff Smith, Tommy Flanagan, Deedee Bridgewater, and Ellis Larkins amongst many others…

These successful sailings were recorded by newspapers, radio stations, jazz journals, and national television networks worldwide, including live broadcasts on the Voice of America.

Jingle Bells & Jazz

1975, Town Hall, NYC

Bruce Hopewell produced Jingle Bells & Jazz at Town Hall in New York City, featuring Kenny Burrell, Sylvia Syms, Clark Terry, Hank Jones, Jerome Richardson, Ray Nance, Larry Ridley and many others. This concert served as a benefit to aid underprivileged children of the Hale House and the Northside Center for Child Development.

Jazz In A Japanese Garden

Summer-Fall 1976, Club Sanno, NYC

Bruce Hopewell organized and co-produced (with Tony Yoshikuni) Jazz in the Japanese Garden, a first of its kind series of Saturday night jazz concerts during the summer and fall of 1976. This was the first successful presentation of American traditional jazz and authentic Japanese cultures in a Japanese venue in New York City. Much of the listening audience and many of the jazz enthusiasts hailed from Japan. Some of the great musicians performing were Etta Jones, Houston Person, Hank Jones, Frank Wess, Buddy Tate, Clifford Jordan, Richard Davis, Buck Clayton, Sweets Edison, Cedar Walton and Stanley Turrentine.

Jazz in a Japanese Garden - Toni Yoshikuni, L. Bruce Hopewell, Famed Japanese Producer

Legends Of Jazz, Ray Charles & Milt Jackson

December, 1977, Lincoln Center, NY

Produced by L. Bruce Hopewell, the successful and memorable ‘Legends of Jazz’ concert was held at the Lincoln Center and featured Ray Charles and his orchestra, the Raylettes, along with legendary artist Milt Jackson and his quintet. This was the reprise of a famous recording the two had done ten years earlier on Atlantic Records called ‘Jazz Giants’.

Monterey Jazz Festival 50Th Anniversary Tour

1978, Club Sanno, New York City

Bruce Hopewell produced Count Basie’s Birthday Bash at Club Sanno in New York City, included The Great Buck Clayton (Trumpet), Buddy Tate (Sax), Robin Kenyatta (Trombone), Helen Humes (Vocalist), Sonny Payne (Drums) and other Count Basie alumni. This party honored Count Basie’s 70th birthday and included many of his current and former band members who joined this honorific celebration.


1975, Town Hall, NYC

Bruce Hopewell produced Jingle Bells & Jazz at Town Hall in New York City, featuring Kenny Burrell, Sylvia Syms, Clark Terry, Hank Jones, Jerome Richardson, Ray Nance, Larry Ridley and many others. This concert served as a benefit to aid underprivileged children of the Hale House and the Northside Center for Child Development.

The First Harlem Jazz Festival

August 17 through August 31st, 1978

The First Harlem Jazz Festival was held August 17 through 31, 1978. It was billed as fifteen days of jazz and culture in legendary Harlem. From the publication written by L. Bruce Hopewell the following article was included. He created the concept for the festival, all of the venues, and the catch phrases that are still used in describing jazz language and musicians’ gigs.

Hello, Harlem and welcome jazz lovers to the First Harlem Jazz Festival. A Harlem renaissance is what it really is. In the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, Harlem meant dancing at the Savoy, the Golden Gate, and the Renny, early morning jam sessions at Minton’s, and breakfast of chicken and waffles at Well’s Restaurant. Harlem also meant rent parties, battle of the bands, after hour spots, stride piano, jump music, and the biggest collection of great jazz musicians in any one community in the world. Chu Berry, Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington, Lucky Millinder, Jimmy Lunceford, Andy Kirk, Lester (Prez) Young, Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, Lucky Roberts, Fletcher Henderson, John Kirby, The Savoy Sultans, and Erskin Hawkins are only a few.

Harlem is a jazz landmark and The First Annual Harlem Jazz Festival is but a harbinger of great things that are coming back to Harlem. Its native sons, the musicians (some of whom have never played in Harlem but were born here), will be playing for you, the audience. The Festival gives many of who belong to the generation of the 60’s and 70’s the opportunity to see, experience, and enjoy what Harlem was really like during its heyday.

Our hope is that all of our Festival guests, visitors, and dignitaries fully enjoy the many aspects of the Festival. It has been designed and planned for your appreciation. It is a showcase that highlights many of the ethnic traditions and the rich musical heritage that existed and will always exist in Harlem. The most gratifying sound to us for the next two weeks will be the applause at each concert.

The highlights, dedications, and special features of The First Harlem Jazz Festival are expressed by the titles of the evenings. “Hello Harlem,” which is opening day of the Festival, is a salute to the people of Harlem from The First Harlem Jazz Festival, Ltd. and all of the musicians and volunteers who have helped in this event.

A “Salute to the Savoy,” of course, is dedicated to the most famous ballroom in Harlem, The Savoy. It was there that many dances that later swept the nation, Europe and the world were born. George Kelly, saxophonist and leader of the Sultans of Swing, is one of the original Savoy Sultans. They were the most famous small group, jump band that performed at the Savoy Ballroom.

The “Jazz Today” series will feature many contemporary musicians playing a multitude of different existing styles, from Africa to the avant garde. We particularly urge you to attend some of these concerts in order to see and hear how jazz has progressed.

We are making special dedications to five legendary and peerless giants posthumously. All have left legacies of jazz creativity and style. Billie Holiday, Lester (Prez) Young, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, and Jimmy Lunceford all played in Harlem in they heydays and we wish to memorialize their contributions.

The Bill Holiday tribute, “Holiday for a Lady” at the Cotton Club will welcome back to Harlem after an absence of over ten years Abbey Lincoln. This great lady of song will do the songs of “Lady Day” accompanied by four of Billie’s former pianists, Eddy Heywood, Ram Ramirez, Jimmy Rowles, and Tommy Flanagan and by her great trumpet accompanist of innumerable club and recording dates, Buck Clayton.

The tributes to Lester (Prez) and Coleman Hawkins will be jam sessions. A host of musicians who played with these giants will be taking part as well as many surprise guests.

A “don’t miss” concert will be Johnny Hartman singing “Hartman Remembers “TRANE,” a tribute to the matchless tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. This will also be at the Cotton Club on August 31.

Of today’s living legends, we are paying special tribute to Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie. Dizzy will be playing at Small’s Paradise on August 30. The “Count” will be honored by a reunion of some of the great musicians who came out of his band and went on to greatness in their own right. These include Helen Humes, Buddy Tate, and Earl Warren and the Countsmen.

We’ve mentioned just a few of the Festival’s highlights and only a fraction of the many great musicians participating. Please check the Festival schedule for a complete listing of all the First Harlem Jazz Fesitival’s events and artists. We welcome to attend them all.”