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Community Advocacy Organization

World's Only Black Seven String Jazz GuitaristLeverages Grant to Teach in Lansing, Michigan

Courtesy Photo-Ron Jackson, Seven String Guitarist to teach master class

On Monday March 7, 2022 Ron Jackson, seven string jazz guitarist will bring his signature brand of guitar education to Elderly Instruments. The masterclass is not a "strum and go" class, but a way for Jackson to spread the history of Jazz and especially, the seven-string guitar. Unlike the six-string, the seven is more popular in rock and progressive metal, but not so in Jazz - that is unless you’re familiar with The Pizzarellis, Lenny Breau, or George Van Eps.

Jackson says, "Teaching and performing is the ultimate way to play and demo the instrument to communities outside of my immediate area. To be able to afford a standalone visit to the Lansing area during a pandemic was worrisome logistically. But thankfully, Kremona Guitars whom I have a long-standing relationship introduced the idea of me teaching to the folks at Elderly. And South Arts provided a Jazz Road Tour Grant which helped me plan other workshops and performance dates around this one, offsetting the costs of my visit. These grants also provided a way to bring other musicians with me so we can perform and teach in communities that I would otherwise be unable to do independently - all at a fair wage".

He continues, "As a multi-racial person, born in the Philippines to a Black father and an Asian mother, I identify as African American. While my life’s work is playing the guitar, I am exceptional because I am likely the only living seven-string, black, jazz guitarist in the world. The responsibility is met with huge challenges, especially as an independent, self-published artist. But I try to widen my reach using social media which provides free and low-cost education and demonstrations that are accessible for everyone, in every part of the world." Jackson's goal is to bring awareness to the instrument and make it more of a household name. A child in middle school band class should know (or have the option to learn) the seven-string. He says, "I was surprised to learn that even in my circle of jazz peers, and established jazz guitarists, most are unaware or have never heard of a seven-string guitar for jazz music! The value of my content and programming is important in raising the bar here.".

Ron Jackson's "Whatever's Open" Tour is made possible with the support of Jazz Road, a national initiative of South Arts, which is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Jazz Road is an artist-centric touring and residency grants program to spread jazz throughout the country, strengthen work opportunities and compensation. The tour will start in the Midwest playing dates, wherever at "whatever's open". And, will forge partnerships with local organizations to educate communities in each city about the history of jazz and the seven-string jazz guitar.

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