Melba Joyce the Composer, Singer, Band Leader, Associate Professor, Student & Steward of Jazz Music Art Form is one of my favorite people. She is great fun to be with and to talk to. She has performed with giants like: Louis Armstrong, Benny Carter, Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, Dr. Billy Taylor, Frank Foster, Barry Harris, and others. Melba comes from a legendary music family and is also an accomplished bandleader. For 50 years she has preserved traditions as a local, national and international jazz singer offering the best in the art form from all venues from USO entertainment tours in Vietnam to sharing Jazz Mobile “bright moments” in the streets of NYC to acclaimed shows at Lincoln Center.
Melba is an active force performing; teaching at SUNY College at Old Westbury; using new computer-based resources and maintaining a steadfast determination to document the African roots of the Blues and Jazz art forms in music history.
Here are short excerpts from an interview when “just hanging out” at the Red Rooster restaurant for brunch with Melba. Though we have known one another for a while I asked all kinds of questions and she told me…
Music has always been a vital part of my family DNA. My formal education includes high school and an undergraduate degree earned at Antioch University West, Los Angeles. My formative music studies, outside of my home were directed by Dizzy Gillespie who was like family and my mentor. My father recorded with Diz, Lucky Millender, Don Redmond and others. I met Diz through my Dad, Melvin Moore. My father you see was a talented singer and widely recognized. His singing acclaim got him inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Because my father was a performer as well as an organizer he was offered the positions of regional director of R&B at Decca/MCA. Later he was to rise to the position of national director of R&B pro-motions for Brunswick in 1970. I have inherited these gifts singing and critically thinking about the survival of our craft. This Jazz History and Research study is imperative to me at this point in my life because I feel that it is part of my destiny to curate for future generations an accurate understanding of Blues/Jazz as an art form in the way that I know it — as a scholar and practitioner.
I am a scholar-practitioner of our art form. I recently performed July 28th at the Taylor Made with a three piano birthday celebration for Dr. Billy Taylor at Lincoln Center’s, Damrosch Park. I also performed in Austria at the Inntone Jazz Festival in Diersbach and at the Porgy and Bess Club in Vienna.
I am interested in creating products that contribute to the American and International Blues/Jazz legacy from the standpoint of a seasoned artist. My end in view is to create new digital footnotes, archival references, professional portfolios and courses with face-to-face and online instructional designs. My objective is to tremendously expand use of the profound African America signature, commodities and academic threads of Blues /Jazz origins complete with “extensive research” clarifying trends in cultural anthropology from the African American experience. Contact Melba about her research.
Melba Joyce will be appearing at the Red Rooster in Harlem on July 27, 2013
Get Her CD Melba Joyce Live in London