Starting tomorrow, Jazz Bridge will open the "Kwame Hall Fund" for Kwame "Geez" Hall, an alto saxophonist and composer born and raised in Philadelphia who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. Tomorrow is a big day for Hall: he'll undergo a 12-hour surgical intervention at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania for a condition only diagnosed two months ago when he started having hearing and balance problems.
Son of drummer George Hall, young Kwame studied piano at the Settlement Music School and began playing saxophone at the age of nine. He was taught and mentored by the Philadelphia’s finest-- Rufus Harley, Trudy Pitts, Bootsie Barnes, Tim Warfield, and Rayburn Wright--and went the usual route to professional playing: high school jazz band, the Tony Williams Youth Ensemble, and the Philadelphia Clef Club Youth Ensemble. After high school, he was accepted into the famed Florida A &M University Jazz Ensemble, where he studied with Victor Goines, and then later to Long Island University in Brooklyn, studying with Pete Yellin. His first professional gigs started at Radio City Musical Hall with gospel singer Hezekiah Walker, and he quickly rounded out his musical life working with singer Bilal, pianist Orrin Evans, trumpeter Duane Eubanks, and singer TC III.
After the surgery, Kwame Hall may lose his hearing entirely. He recently posted on the Internet, "There is a possibility that I may not play the sax again, but the devil is a liar and I am a fighter."
To donate to the "Kwame Hall Fund" and to help with excess medical bills and post-surgical rehabilitiation, please visit http://www.jazzbridge.org/ways-to-help/donate/ and select the menu option "I want my donation to go to" and choose the Kwame Hall Fund. All donations are tax-deductible.
Jazz Bridge, an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to assisting Greater Philadelphia Metro area jazz and blues musicians and vocalists in times of crisis, sponsors these neighborhood concerts throughout the region to keep the sound of Philadelphia alive.
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