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Renowned Jazz Entertainer to Perform Benefit Concert


Renowned Jazz Entertainer to Perform Benefit Concert

(January 11, 1999)

Jazz vocalist, lyricist and entertainer Oscar Brown Jr. will perform a benefit concert for the Saturday Academy and National Youth Sports Program -- community outreach activities offered by UCR African Student Programs -- at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, in the University Theatre at the University of California, Riverside.

Tickets are $20 for general admission with a $2 discount for UCR students, staff and faculty. For ticket information, call UCR's Theatre Box Office at (909) 787-4331 or any Ticket Master outlet.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Saturday Academy, a 15-week college preparatory program for students throughout the Inland Empire in grades 4 through 12 and their parents. The Saturday Academy program was established nearly 10 years ago.

Proceeds will also help fund the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP), a summer sports and educational program for 250 low-income children throughout the Inland Empire. The intent of NYSP is to enrich the lives of low-income youthand to provide a safe and structured environment where they can learn sports, meet new friends, develop self-esteem and have fun.

Both programs are offered by UCR's African Student Programs Office. E.M. Abdulmumin, director of the office, serves as superintendent of the Saturday Academy and project coordinator of NYSP.

Brown, who has penned lyrics of some of the great jazz standards of his day, has performed with such legendary jazz musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Nancy Wilson. He is currently in residence at UCR as a University of California Regents' Professor.The UC Regents' Professor program was established by the Board of Regents to bring experts in various fields to campus to share their ideas and experiences.

Brown's recordings weave highly stylized elements of history and folklore into jazz standards. His performances, as the New York Times jazz critic wrote in 1997, "fall comfortably at the intersection of jazz singing, comedy, theatre and politics...in his hands, music became not just something that happens at a concert or through a CD in a living room; he made it more vital, as a way of expressing experience."

The son of a Chicago lawyer and real estate broker, Brown became, at age 21, a newscaster with his daily "Negro Newsfront" radio program. After unsuccessful races for seats in the Illinois State Legislature and the U.S. Congress, Brown rose to a leadership position in the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America, as program director of the packing house worker's union in Chicago.

Brown developed his skills as a lyricist, performing artist and playwright and by 1961 he had written and was starring in his own musical, "Kicks and Company." In 1967 his play, "Opportunity Please Knock," was produced in collaboration with a Chicago youth gang. Brown received national attention for his efforts to help gang members realize they could put their imaginations and energies to more constructive pursuits.

He has been artist-in-residence at Howard University, Hunter College and Malcolm X College. He hosted a 13-week PBS series, "From Jump Street; The Story of Black Music," and has acted in television and on the stage. He has composed several hundred songs and more than a dozen full-length theatre pieces.

For more information call African Student Programs at (909) 787-4576.


The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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