Gift Of Jazz

For the fourth consecutive year, Barbara Jean has earned an award in recognition of her contribution to the world of jazz.

Jean, who has been writing songs and performing around the region for more than 10 years, has been awarded her fourth ASCAP Plus award.

According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, www.ascap.com, the award is presented to writer members of all genres whose works were performed in unsurveyed media, as well as writer members whose catalogs have prestige value, but who also received less than $25,000 in domestic performance royalties.

In order to win the award, writers must submit an application that will be reviewed by a panel of independent distinguished music experts. In addition to getting an award for recognition, Jean also received a $200 check from ASCAP.

“It’s always nice to get an award and a check,” Jean said.

“There’s a lot that goes into writing songs, but it’s just like anything else you’re passionate about – it’s part of what you do and you have to keep doing it.

“So, it’s nice every once in a while to get a little pat on the back.”

FESTIVAL OF JAZZ

Two years ago Jean was invited to perform on the Rising Star stage of the Lewiston Jazz Festival, but in 2014, she will return as an act on the main stage.

Jean’s first performance at the festival came after sending an application to Ron Corsaro, music director, who unwittingly caught Jean crooning at the White Inn of Fredonia while having dinner with his wife.

“I had a group there in the dining room, and he recognized my voice from the disc I had sent him to apply – I didn’t even know who he was,” Jean said. “He enjoyed the show, so he said, ‘I’m going to book you.’ I got to perform a lot of my original music because I had the guys from the studio there with me.”

The performance at the Lewiston Jazz Festival was met with a positive response, and Corsaro commented that he’d like to see Jean on the main stage the next time she was in the festival. Corsaro ended up making it happen, and Jean will perform shortly before the headliner from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on the main stage.

She’ll be joined by Michael T. Jones, piano; Dan Hull, percussion; Dave Schiavone, saxophone; and Danny Ziemann, bass.

“It’s really exciting,” Jean said. “It’s so much fun – what a great audience up there.

“To be able to share music, and to look out at all these wonderful, happy faces – it just doesn’t get any better than that.”

This year’s Lewiston Jazz Festival is set for Aug. 22-23.

For more information, call 754-8271 or visit www.lewistonjazz.com.

SWEET AND COOL

Over the past 10 years, Jean has released two full-length albums that together feature nearly 30 original tunes.

Entitled “Sweet” and “Cool,” the albums represent a body of work derived from passion for a niche that is no longer the mainstream. As to what drives Jean to continue producing original content: a love of sharing.

“For me, the reason to create is to share something that seems to be a gift that is given to me and not something I earned,” Jean said. “I open my mouth, my voice comes out and I didn’t do anything to get this voice – it’s a gift. And, I would feel bad if I didn’t use it. It’s the same thing with writing music for me. If you have a little creativity, and you don’t share it – that’s just a shame.”

Jean’s albums are available for purchase at Strickland Optical Lab, 1911 Washington St. in Jamestown.

CATCH A GIG

Those who cannot make it to the Lewiston Jazz Festival will still have plenty of opportunities to catch one of Jean’s performances.

Jean performs regionally at various venues in Chautauqua County, Erie, Pa. and Buffalo.

And, on the first Wednesday of every month, including this coming Wednesday, Jean performs from 6-9 p.m. at Scallion Bistro in Lakewood.

For a full listing of upcoming performances, or for more information, visit www.barbarajeanjazz.com.