The general public can enjoy down-home blues and jazz for two days free
(FRESNO, CA) – Although it’s a well-known holiday within the African-American community, Juneteenth is a celebration not often known by non-black people; the cultural reference is significant as a historical milestone to freedom for African-Americans throughout the United States.
Juneteenth, a national American holiday, celebrates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans, it would be June 19, 1865 when the official enforced announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas, and more generally throughout the former Confederacy of the southern United States would be enforced by troops going territory to territory to make sure slaves were released from these plantations.
Today many Americans join in the celebration of this historical milestone by attending local festivals to learn more history, celebrate with delicious cuisines, or enjoy local performances from the community; Fresno, too, will be celebrating locally throughout the city, especially downtown, where prized Valley jazz and blues artists are ready to entertain the crowds for two days.
The ONME Network in partnership with the Downtown Fresno Partnership and the African-American Museum for the Juneteenth Jazz & Blues 2-Day Celebration, was inspired to use the holiday to celebrate local African-American artists who have paved the way for others; they are giving two awards during the 2-Day celebration to two Valley Greats: local celebrity jazz musician Bobby Logan and posthumously celebrity artist, Curtis “Papa Bear” Hatcher. Both made strides nationally in the music industry despite legalized segregation, helping many local musicians of color to follow their footstep, (bios attached.)
With free admission to both events, the celebrated line-up with 2-Day celebrity event host Ken Mccoy starts Friday, June 15 at 7:00 PM, in Downtown Fresno on Mariposa and Fulton streets, opening with Ray Moore and the Get Down Band, followed by Bobby Brown with Joe Boy Walton and the Starr Choice Band. Awardee and celebrated artist Bobby Logan will headline Friday night’s show, performing with his son, Jeff Logan.
Continuing Saturday, June 16, after the African-American Museum’s “Why 2-PAC Exhibit" from 5:00 -7:00 PM at that 1857 Fulton St. location, in the African-American Museum’s park, night two of jazz and blues opens with young, rising talent Delilah Kidane, followed by a special award tribute to the family members of Curtis “Papa Bear” Hatcher. Thereafter, a special “Papa Bear” Tribute Band will perform, followed by dazzling popular headliner, Keysha and The Impromptu Band.
2018 Jazz & Blues Awardees:
Bobby Logan was born in Fresno and graduated from Edison High School. He earned an A.S. degree in Social Studies from Fresno City College, and completed Community Studies at U.C. Santa Cruz. Logan was the first black driver for an institutional frozen food company. Logan spent 35 years as a planner in the Urban and Regional Planning Department of the City of Fresno.
He joined the Army at 18 and served as a driver, infantry man and traveling military band member.
Logan has been one of Fresno’s premier musicians since 1962; his inspiration and role model was his father, Roscoe Logan.
Logan received numerous awards which include: Outstanding Community Service award from the City of Fresno; the Lifetime Achievement for Jazz Music award from the African American Museum as a 2016 Trailblazer and he was awarded the “Bobby Logan Day” July 4, 2015 by the Fresno City Council.
As quoted by Bobby Logan: “Priorities should be family first, and encouraging children to pursue careers that bring enjoyment and satisfaction with life.”
Curtis James Hatcher was born in 1929 in the small town of Parksdale outside Little Rock, Arkansas. Around 1932 his mother relocated the family to Chicago to be closer to her kin. Curtis began playing guitar, enriched by the musicality of Chicago's fertile crossroads, and soon thereafter, gravitated to the drums.
By age 16, Curtis had become the house drummer at one of Chicago's most famous Clubs - The Blue Note. It was here that his playing truly ascended, drumming behind some of the greatest talent the world has ever known: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Etta James, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie, to name a few.
Curtis's outstanding talent and professionalism also caught the attention of both Count Basie and Lionel Hampton; from 1954 1960 he toured with both their big bands, entertaining folks all over the world.
Curtis's 6'4" stature earned him the nickname "Papa Bear". He settled in Fresno in the early 60's, to be close to his mom. "Papa Bear & Friends" was born and became very popular, playing jazz, ballads, and the new sounds of Motown. By the 1970's "Papa Bear & Company" was the next generation, delivering outstanding R &B, Funk, Soul in addition, and performing all over the Central Valley thus securing a unique & genuine spot in our local musical history.
"Papa Bear" is undoubtedly one of Fresno's most precious musical treasures, still performing and teaching drums at age 84. He has helped countless musicians spread their wings and reach heights they had only imagined, and has given freely of his talent when asked for assistance.
"Papa Bear" & "Mama Bear," his lovely and supportive wife Velma, have been married for 33 years, spreading love, joy, & happiness as they move through the rhythms of life.
For more information on talent and vendors who will be present, visit: www.juneteenth.myonme.com
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