The Queens Jazz Orchestra at Flushing Town Hall will honor Phil Schaap and Charlie Parker with BIRDING


On Friday, June 17, 2022, the Queens Jazz Orchestra from Flushing Town Hall will return live to the stage with “As the crow flies” a special tribute program to Phil Schaap and the genius of Charlie Parker. Antonio Hart, GRAMMY-nominated jazz artist and original member of the QJO, will make his debut as a new bandleader, following the death in 2020 of his longtime leader, NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath.

The title of the concert pays homage to Phil Schaap (1951-2021), America’s beloved jazz broadcaster, record producer and specialist, best known as the host of Bird Flight, a radio show on the WKCR of Columbia University dedicated to Charlie Parker, which he launched in 1970 and continued for 52 years. Widely regarded for the breadth and depth of his jazz knowledge, Schaap has received six GRAMMY Awards for his compilations of vintage jazz recordings and received America’s highest honor in jazz when he was named the NEA Jazz Master in 2021. Schaap, who lived in Hollis, Queens, regularly promoted and supported jazz programs at Flushing City Hall and attended several concerts there. The June 17 event will include special comments from her colleagues.

The QJO performance will feature the work of the American jazz saxophonist, bandleader and composer Charlie Parker Jr. (1920-1955), nicknamed “Bird” or “Yardbird”. During his short life, Parker changed the course of jazz music. As Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane, Parker was a pioneering composer and improviser who ushered in a new era of jazz and influenced subsequent generations of musicians, writers and artists. The GRAMMY-winning musician has been repeatedly inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame, an award that recognizes recordings of enduring qualitative or historical significance dating back at least 25 years, and he received the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985. Parker was also inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame (1979) and Jazz at Lincoln Center: Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame (2009).

Antonio Hartsaxophonist and director of jazz studios at Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music, will debut on June 17 as the new leader of QJO. Hart was personally selected for the role by his mentor, the late NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath who was the original musical director of QJO. To honor his memory, Hart will also lead the QJO in a special music performance composed by Master Heath.

“We are delighted to welcome back the Queens Jazz Orchestra from Flushing Town Hall for the first time since the start of the pandemic,” said Ellen Kodadek, Executive and Artistic Director. “Antonio Hart is an incredible musician and conductor, who was personally selected by Dr. Jimmy Heath to be his successor for QJO. We can’t wait to see him conduct the full orchestra of incredibly talented artists in our beautiful venue! Jazz and Queens lovers, rejoice!”

The orchestra features the incredible formation of Antonio Hart as musical director and conductor, Gross brand (alto sax), David DeJesus (alto sax), Bobby LaVell (tenor sax), Sam Dillon (tenor sax), Gary Smulyan (baritone sax), on trumpet: Jon OwensNathan Eklund, Michael Mossman and Brandon Lee, on trombones: John Mosca, Steve Davis, James Burtonand Douglas PurvianceJeb Patton (piano), David Wong (bass) and Evan Sherman (drums).

Queens Jazz Orchestra was co-founded in 2008 by NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath and the jazz producer from Flushing Town Hall Clyde Bullard. This 17-piece orchestra is dedicated to preserving the legacy of jazz in Queens and nurturing the next generations of great jazz musicians.

The Queens Jazz Orchestra will perform at Flushing City Hall on Friday, June 17 at 8 p.m. ET. In-person tickets are $45/members $35/students $20. This performance will be streamed live for FREE on the Flushing Town Hall YouTube channel. (RSVP HERE to receive the broadcast link and reminder email!)

This commitment is made possible through the Jazz Touring Network program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

For the full calendar of venue events, visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.organization/events

COVID Policy:

Although, as of March 7, 2022, New York City has relaxed its COVID policies for indoor arts and entertainment events, Flushing City Hall will maintain its prior policy for the safety of its audiences, artists, and community. personal. This policy will remain in effect until further notice: Flushing City Hall requires all visitors, performers, and staff to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination with corresponding ID. In addition, masks will be mandatory at all times. For more details on Flushing Town Hall’s Covid safety measures and vaccine requirements, please visit:

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All gifts of $50 or more get you exclusive Flushing Town Hall Circle of Friends member benefits, including Smithsonian membership, ticket discounts and more! Donations of any amount are appreciated to support artists and the nonprofit cultural organization as they continue to provide programs and entertainment in New York City and around the world.

Flushing Town Hall is a non-profit organization and receives major support in its 2021-2022 fiscal year from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council for the Arts with support from Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (2021) and Mayor Eric Adams (2022); New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Gonzalo Casals; Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; The New York City Council, Chairman Corey Johnson; Members of the Costa Constantinides Council, Daniel DromBarry Grodenchik, Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz, Paul A. Vallone, jimmy Van Bramer; Howard Gilman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Guru Krupa Foundation, Fan Fox, and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.

To view current donor lists, please visit

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Henry R. Wright