Native Jazz musicians Ed Littlefield and Christian Fabian, who were in town a couple weeks ago to perform for Juneau audiences, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the first-ever Native Jazz workshop at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, scheduled this year from Aug. 13-19. Kickstarter, a web-based system, allows the public to pledge funds toward specific projects; goals and deadlines are set by the project creators. The Native Jazz quartet launched the campaign so that they would be able to bring Native Jazz to students of all ages, and to expand a movement that integrates indigenous music with jazz in brand new music.
“We’re encouraging everyone attending the workshop to bring melodies of their own native background, and we will give instruction on arranging and composing them in the Jazz idiom,” Fabian said in an email.
The Native Jazz project began in 2011, when Tlingit musician Ed Littlefield was inspired to combine the traditional melodies he heard as a child with jazz, the genre in which he was currently working. He was joined by Christian Fabian, who had previously collaborated with musicians from the Nez Perce tribe in making jazz arrangements for traditional songs, and later by Reuel Lubag and Jason Marsalis.
The Native Jazz Quartet played for Juneau in 2011. Their CD, “Walking Between Worlds,” was also released around that time.
Littlefield, who is from Sitka, and Fabian hope to bring Native Jazz to Sitka every year, and to attract an international audience.
Kickstarter pledges range from $10 (which includes a thank you in the workshop program) to $4,000 and up (which includes a private live concert by the Native Jazz Quartet). Any donation is welcome.