PIEDMONT — The Mineral County Historical Society (MCHS) will honor Hall of Fame jazz artist Don Redman with a special February program in his hometown.
The Piedmont native, known as “the little giant of jazz,” was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in November, 2009, during a ceremony at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston.
The Wednesday, Feb. 3, program will feature performances of some of Redman's best known work presented by the Classic Jazz Quartet, a group of area musicians led by another Piedmont native, bassist Jim Roderick. The program will also include remarks from Hall of Fame director Michael Lipton, video excerpts from the induction ceremony, reflections from several local residents, and an extensive display of Redman photos and memorabilia.
The event will take place in the Social Hall of Trinity United Methodist Church with dinner at
6 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m.
Persons wishing to attend just the program are welcome to do so without charge, and no reservations are required.
The cost for the baked steak dinner is $11 per person. Meal reservations must be made no later than Sunday, Jan. 31, by contacting society member Nancy Marshall by phone at 304-788-5882 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the Classic Jazz Quartet are Tom Harrison, piano; Rich Norwood, saxophone; Bart Lay, drums; and Jim Roderick, bass.
While a graduate student at West Virginia University, Roderick conducted extensive research into Redman's life and music.
Don Redman was one of seven Hall of Fame inductees in the “class” of 2009, representing genres ranging from country to classical. He was also the historical focus of this year's Mineral County Day gathering in Charleston on Jan. 14. During a meeting with the Mineral County delegation, Gov. Joe Manchin posthumously honored Redman with a "certificate of recognition" presented to Piedmont mayor James "Ebbie" Gilmore. Resolutions
of recognition were also adopted by both the West Virginia State Senate and House of Delegates.
In addition to playing saxophone, clarinet, piano, and several other instruments, Redman has been recognized worldwide as a major composer and the first great jazz arranger. According to biographical information compiled by the Hall of fame, "Redman was a consummate musician and his innovative arrangements were the foundation for the big band era." He was born in Piedmont in 1900 and died in New York in 1964.
“We are pleased to join in celebrating the life and legacy of such a remarkable Mineral Countian,” MCHS president Ed McDonald said. “We also believe it is significant to offer this program during Black History Month, recognizing the accomplishments of a world famous African American musician.
“We hope a lot of people will take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy some great music and to learn more about one of our outstanding native sons.”
To find out more about the program or other activities of the Mineral County Historical Society, contact McDonald at 304-788-0129.