One of the highlights of the Savannah Jazz Festival is sure to be the induction of four new members into the Coastal Jazz Association's Hall of Fame, followed by a concert.
Set for Sept. 27 at Forsyth Park, the concert will feature current Hall of Famers Teddy Adams, Huxsie Scott, Eddie Pazant, Howard Paul and Ben Riley and inductees Delbert Felix, Eric Vaughn and Dr. Randall Reese. Dr. Julius "Boo" Hornstein also will be inducted.
"Prerequisites for the Hall of Fame are that you must have made some kind of impact on the national or international level by performing or playing with renowned players and you must be a native Savannahian or associated with living here 18 or more years," Adams says.
"Eric played with a number of name acts and Randy Reese has been the co-director of the Savannah Jazz Orchestra over the years," Adams says. "Delbert Felix has played with all the Marsalis family. Even though he's from Frogmore, S.C., his foundation and development were in Savannah and he has played in Savannah for years.
"Boo was president of the Coastal Jazz Association for a number of years," Adams says. "He was on the ground floor of the CJA and is being inducted as a jazz advocate. He also wrote 'The Sites and Sounds of Savannah' book in the jazz genre."
Vaughn currently is based in Berlin, but will return to Savannah for the induction and concert. He is the youngest inductee to the Coastal Jazz Hall of Fame so far and is receiving the award for his life's contributions to the international jazz and art community.
His father, Robert Vaughn, was a jazz drummer in the region for more than 35 years, and his mother was a teacher. Adams was his early music mentor and gave him his first professional gig when Vaughn was only 16.
Other local mentors include pianist Joe Jones and bassist Ben Tucker. Johnny O'Neal, who played Art Tatum in the movie "Ray," also was a mentor, and pianist/vocalist Freddy Cole introduced Vaughn to the international scene in the 1990s.
After moving to Atlanta, Vaughn established himself as a drummer and band leader of the jazz community. He created his own sound and brand, called "Naked Jazz."
Vaughn moved to Berlin in January 2010 and is the resident jazz curator at the Wekstatt der Kulturen, which produces music and art events. He performs and tours throughout Europe, and as a composer/arranger, has worked on musical projects for CNN and Walt Disney with jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel.
A professor of music at Armstrong State University, Reese has been part of the Coastal Jazz Association from its beginning, helping found it after taking a jazz appreciation course from Adams and Tucker.
"I started out as a classical player and my bachelor and master's degrees are both in classical performance," Reese says. "After that time, I began to get more involved in jazz.
"I needed work as a classical saxophone player and there's not a whole lot of opportunity out there. I needed more outlets.
"I got past a certain level of fear of improvisation," he says. "It's sometimes hard to take the risk and go out there and see what you can do. I definitely learned on the job."
As a music educator, Reese has spent more than 35 years working at Armstrong and with state education programs.
"There's an influence there because the kids we turn out at Armstrong are teaching, too," he says. "When I started out, I thought I was a sax player and hoped to be a good player who would probably end up teaching because he needed a job.
"Over the years, it's been reversed," Reese says. "Now I think of myself as a teacher and the area I teach is music. I'm as interested in classical music as jazz."
With Adams, Reese has been a coleader of the Savannah Jazz Orchestra since it was started.
"It provides an opportunity for musicians to develop their skills," Reese says. "That's an important thing for Teddy and I.
"Whatever value it has as a public entertainer, it's been a good thing for education," he says. "We've had quite a few musicians come out of it and a number who moved here."
Putting on the jazz festival is a monumental effort, especially without paid staff, Reese says.
"A lot of people have been working behind the scenes to make things happen," he says. "Between school and this, we've put on hundreds of free concerts for people.
"It's important to us to share music with people," Reese says. "A lot of people are working hard to do that."
Through the Coastal Jazz Association and the Savannah Jazz Orchestra, Reese has worked with many jazz legends.
"I worked as a local sideman with dozens of traveling acts ranging from Tom Jones to Lynyrd Skynyrd, and did a series of concerts with the Darius Rucker Big Band," he says. "I perform annually at the Georgia Music Educators Conference with the Georgia Association of Jazz Educators Directors Band, performing in all five sax chairs at various times."
Felix first learned music from his father, who was the band director at St. Helena High School. He was 8 when he received a bass guitar.
While still in high school, he was influenced by such performers as Earl Davis, John Ferguson, Steve Best and Nate Drake. It was Bill Barnwell who introduced him to jazz.
After attending the Berklee School of Music, Felix joined the U.S. Navy's music program, becoming bass instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music.
The original bassist in the Branford Marsalis quartet, Felix has performed with Lavon Stevens, Teddy Adams, Freddie Hubbard, Lou Rawls, Freddie Cole, Sting, Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie and members of the Marsalis family - Wynton, Ellis, Jason and Delfeayo.
Felix has traveled and performed extensively throughout the world, and has made numerous appearances on television, including NBC's "Early Morning Show" with Bryant Gumbel. He lives on Hilton Head Island and works as a freelance musician.
Hornstein is the author of "Sites and Sounds of Savannah Jazz." Printed in 1994, it covers 80 years of Savannah's jazz history.
Also a founding member of the Coastal Jazz Association, Hornstein was first involved in the Telfair Jazz Society.
"We decided we wanted to have a jazz association," he says. "Basically, it was a kind of national movement. A lot of cities have jazz organizations.
"We set out to have a jazz festival the first year we were organized," Hornstein says. "Our first festivals were at Grayson Stadium, then we moved to Forsyth Park.
"We decided to use the extension part and put a stage out by the dummy forts. From there, we grew and grew and grew and grew and attracted some of the greatest players in music."
For a time, Hornstein was president of the CJA.
"I'm kind of an idea man," he says. "We expanded the festival. On the first night, it would be on River Street, then City Market and the major part was at Forsyth Park.
"We created a children's festival. In addition to the jazz festival, we created a very successful once-a-month Sunday jam session at various venues around the city.
"The festival is probably one of the few free jazz festivals that still exist in the country," Hornstein says. "It is very well known."
Hornstein learned he was going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame about a month ago.
"It just amazed me," he says. "I'm not a musician per se, but I've always loved music.
"I don't play an instrument. This is sort of a separate category for someone who is - not to make a pun - instrumental to keeping music alive in the community.
"It's quite a group, and I'm very honored," Hornstein says. "Jazz has always been playing around my home."
Hornstein learned about jazz through his older brother, Bobby.
"When I was a little boy, he formed a band," Hornstein says. "The guitars were made out of cigar boxes.
"There was a Saturday night radio program that emanated out of Savannah on WTOC, 'The Effinger Dancing Party.' Effinger was a beer, and a contest would come on and the winner would guess the names of the songs. I could almost always guess them, but I was too young to win a case of beer."
Hornstein announced jazz on local radio stations at Georgia Public Broadcasting and Savannah State University.
"I've gotten to meet so many fantastic figures who have deep Savannah connections," he says. "I put my whole love and life into it. I lived and ate and slept jazz."