The Moorestown Library celebrated the debut of its new jazz program, “Jazz Journey with Greg,” on June 27.
The first film of the series, the documentary “Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise” by Robert Mugge, explores musician and philosopher Sun Ra’s influence on the world of avant garde jazz.
“The music is unique, it’s different, it’s challenging, but that’s what Sun Ra did,” said Greg Drusdow, creator of the library’s new program. “He challenged a whole lot of people in a whole lot of ways creatively, musically (and) philosophically.”
Drusdow explained how “Jazz Journey” started and the message behind the first event.
“It all started when Joe Galbraith was the library director, and it was when we had the old library in Moorestown …” Drusdow recalled. “He and I had been talking for well over 10 years about doing a program like this, and he was excited about it. But there were some challenges.
“ … Part of it was inspired by a man (named) Phil Schaap,” he added. “ … I’m sort of dedicating this to the memory of Phil. He passed away a little less than a year ago, because he was someone who was a big supporter of Sun Ra, and I talked with him about this kind of an educational program.”
“Jazz Journey with Greg” will host its second episode next month.
“What we want to do here is present a very rare jazz documentary,” Drusdow said. “It’s called ‘On the Road with Duke Ellington’ … It’s really interesting, because it shows Duke Ellington being one of the very, very famous composers and arrangers (of) bands.”
Drusdow reflected on other goals he hopes the program accomplishes.
“ … I’m interested also in bringing it to the attention of people that aren’t aware of this, programs (that) involve women in jazz,” he explained. “That’s been a segment of the jazz community that’s been greatly neglected, unfortunately, and there’s no need to neglect it.”
Drusdow wants people to enjoy learning about jazz musicians’ backgrounds through film.
“ … If we can help people realize some of the aspects of what it takes and how the creative process works, and how these musicians have done what they do, it doesn’t hurt to look as to how that can inspire people’s lives in whatever they do,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be in music.
“They can learn a lot from these artists in terms of the paths that they have traveled and the things that they have negotiated to get to where they are.”
For more information on “Jazz Journey with Greg,” email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit moorestownlibrary.org.