JAZZ IN THE VALLEY began as an afternoon of music when TRANSART received an individual artist commission from the New York State Council on the Arts to commission Ahmad Jamal to create an original composition for the organization. Inspired by the natural beauty of the area he created “Picture Perfect” and it was first heard in a concert in the summer of 2000.
Promoted as an afternoon of music and art the concert has since grown into an annual festival, showcasing music performed by world-class musicians, fittingly complemented by breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley as backdrop.
Jazz in the Valley has an intergenerational programming philosophy. Its programming allows living legends and younger voices to continue to expand the jazz idiom. The festival has introduced artists working in the industry who are outside of the mainstream and for the first time are able to have their voices heard in a public forum. The festival focus is on the music and often includes films and other programming with dialogue addressing issues that impact the art form, the musicians and its audience.
JAZZ IN THE VALLEY’s educational component is, "Behind the Beat: Intro to Jazz”, a series of workshops conducted in area public schools by our featured artists that are designed to introduce young people from the region's underserved areas to jazz music. This is in keeping with TRANSART’s goal to create a new generation of listeners from our youth that are unaware of the music, its historical significance, and the artists that create it. Behind the Beat consists of assemblies, master classes and a weekly traditional drumming workshop. The jazz instruction workshops are targeted at the population of at-risk youth from the city school districts in New York state.