I first heard of The Artists Collective a few years ago while in Japan. The pianist Alex Nakhimovsky was touring with my wife, June Bisantz (voice) and Norman Johnson (guitar). I was along for the ride. About an hour outside of Tokyo we went to a beautiful jazz bar named The Cotton Club. In the back was a photo of Jackie McLean - a jazz legend. Alex wanted his photo taken in front of his portrait - he insisted in fact. He's not a guy who particularly likes his picture being taken - so I noticed.
Turns out Jackie founded The Artists Collective is a truly amazing institution doing much needed work reaching out to the youth of Hartford - inspiring them to value and embrace the arts and music - changing lives and enriching the community.
Alex was asked to perform, and he in turn asked some of his favorite (and most talented) musician friends to be a part of it. It was quite a night. Fun, beautiful energy from the band and the crowd, a wonderful space to be in with good food and drink - and world class jazz, the hallmark of The Artists Collective.
Hartford has created, and is still producing some of the best jazz artists in the world - and The Artists Collective is its beating heart.
I was honored to be able to meet Jackie's wife, Dollie McLean - and also his daughter Melonae. They are the soul of the Collective, raising the money for the vision, seeing to the day to day operations. Their kindness, enthusiasm and love for what they do shines through.
The Artists Collective is a gem and a vital part of the community - both small and large.
It was a great night of jazz - enjoy the photos! (click the photo below to see them all)