Local jazz & blues legends Bobby Logan and posthumously Curtis “Papa Bear" Hatcher honored during national Juneteenth holiday
(FRESNO, CA) –Juneteenth, a historical holiday rejoicing the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans, June 19, 1865, was celebrated throughout Fresno, Ca and the surrounding areas, especially in Downtown Fresno, where the first 2-Day Juneteenth Jazz & Blues Festival commenced.
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 to 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 the help of state and local sponsors, residents enjoyed some down-home blues and jazz until the night’s end with good music and good food.
Friday night opened to a crowd of almost 800 people with blues legend Bobby Brown, accompanied by Joe Boy Walton and his Starr Choice Band. Joe Boy Walton and his band played thereafter, warming the stage for awardee and jazz legend, Bobby Logan, accompanied by Jeff Logan; the audience screamed “more,” although Logan and company had already been playing for an hour.
The following day, Saturday, June 16 opened with a tribute to late hip-hop artist, Tupac Shakir at the African-American Museum from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM where over 50 patrons enjoyed the
“Why 2-PAC Exhibit," taking commemorative selfies with artist 2PAC's photos who would be 47 years-old this birthday.
Thereafter in the African-American Museum’s park, night two of jazz and blues opened to over 1,100 people 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 performed, followed by dazzling popular headliner, Keysha and The Impromptu Band.
Watch excerpts from both nights on The ONME Network daily at 6:00 PM, 12:00 PM, 12:00 AM, 6:00 AM: www.onmetv.com.
Watch special preview below which will be available on the front page of www.onmenews.com until June 29.
Awardee Bobby Logan– Friday, June 15, 2018
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.”
Awardee– Saturday, June 16, 2018 (posthumously)
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.
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