Straight Ahead Community

David Pierre-Louis

David Pierre-Louis | Photo by Robert Wade

Monday evening the Seattle jazz community gathered at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall Taper Auditorium for the first Inside/Out Jazz Awards, presented by Lucid. They were there to recognize and celebrate many of the city’s outstanding jazz performers, and to spread the rapidly emerging buzz emanating from the club live jazz on the Ave. The most recent manifestation of the vision of David Pierre-Louis, the founder of Lucid, the event was a benefit for Strength Through Unity, a Haitian assistance organization, also founded by Pierre-Louis.

His straight ahead approach to building jazz community, and rebuilding the neighborhoods of Turgeau, Haiti, are strikingly similar. He establishes goals on the move, involves people around him, makes things happen, and keeps on going. CBS News had to keep moving to cover his efforts to find his mother, after not being able to reach her for 36 hours after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on January 12 this year. He found her, and distributed the medical supplies he took with him. He came home and, with the help of the jazz community, raised money at Lucid, and went back again.

Clarence Acox Inside Out Award

Clarence Acox | Photo by Robert Wade

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra’s own Clarence Acox, musician, bandleader, educator, and key member of Seattle’s jazz ecosystem, was honored with the first Inside/Out award for “Contribution to the Community”. Clarence, who also received the 2007 Mayor’s Arts Award, has been developing musicians and, in his own words, “good productive human beings, and positive factors in their communities and in their homes.” This wonderful video, produced by the Seattle Channel, tells more of the story.

Hadley Caliman

Hadley Caliman | photo Bruce C Moore

Also honored was SRJO tenor player Hadley Caliman, also an educator, with the award for “Straight Ahead Album of the Year”, for his January release on Origin Records, Straight Ahead, which held a Top 10 spot in the Jazz Week Charts for 10 weeks, ranking as high a #2. The album has remained in the Top 50 for 17 weeks.

To wrap up this week in which David Pierre-Louis launched the Inside/Out Awards to celebrated both the Seattle jazz community and his return to his mother’s home in Haiti, Hadley will reconnect with a former community of his own with a Sunday evening gig at the historic Monticello Hotel Ballroom in Longview, WA, just about 30 miles up the Columbia River from Cathlamet, the town and times he remembered with a track from his award winning album “Straight Ahead”.

Here’s a complete list of recipients of the first Inside/Out Awards:

Check out more of Robert Wade’s photos from the show.

Were you at the I/O awards show? We’d love to hear more about it. And if you make Hadley’s show in Longview, let us know how he blows.

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