The Troy Street Observer

May 4, 1986: A Woodwind Summit at Swift’s

On May 4, 1986, James Williams convened a Woodwind Summit at Jonathan Swift’s on Harvard Square.

I’d never call Jonathan Swift’s a jazz club, but the big basement room with the low ceiling did book its share of jazz in the late 1970s and 1980s, and I heard the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Stan Getz there. This Woodwind Summit, though, was a one-of-a-kind.

For starters, it was a benefit, organized by the Boston Jazz Society to raise money for its scholarship fund. Founded in 1973 with the mission, “Keep Jazz Alive,” the Boston Jazz Society’s primary means of doing this by 1986 was through its scholarship program. The Society staged concerts, and held its famous Jazz BBQs, to raise the money needed to fund the program. Scholarship recipients prior to 1986 included saxophonists Bobby Ricketts and Ralph Moore, and trombonist Mike Grey.

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