Downtown jazz series goes green

Concerts to benefit sustainability nonprofit

Published On:
Thursday, September 4, 2008
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A series of jazz concerts at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix is going green by helping low-income families make the transition to sustainable lifestyles.

ASU Online and Southwest Green Magazine, a new publication about eco-friendly issues and sustainability, will sponsor the Green Jazz Series that begins Thursday and runs through April.

While the Herberger Theater has been involved with the jazz series for two years, this is the first year the theme has been green, according to the theater’s vice president, Mark Mettes.

“The concert has been free in the past, but this year we are glad to be benefiting a great cause,” Mettes said. Tickets are priced at $20 for general admission and $40 for VIPs.

Proceeds from the Green Jazz Series will go to the Green Survival Initiative, a sustainability project in Phoenix that seeks to alleviate the energy costs for about 7,000 low and fixed income families in the Phoenix area through “green” concepts such as compact fluorescent lights and low-flow shower heads.

The publisher of Southwest Green Magazine, Dr. George Brooks, proposed to have the proceeds from the concerts go to the Green Survival Initiative.

“People always talk about going green, but they don’t think about using our resources, and the people who need it the most can least afford the conversion,” Brooks said. “We need to bring the benefits of sustainability to low-income families and provide resources to those who need them the most.”

Brotha Love Artist Management, a Phoenix production company, will produce the concerts. The company’s director, Hassan Abdul-Kareem, initially came up with the idea to make the concerts green.

“We are using artists to bring awareness to issues like the green initiative because most people wouldn’t pay attention to it otherwise,” Abdul-Kareem said. “We hope to gain interest on these issues through this jazz series.”

The first performer in the series will be jazz musician Althea René, who will be performing Thursday at 6:30 p.m. René began her music career as a classical flautist at the age of 4. She went on to study music at Howard University, where she fell in love with jazz music and has been playing ever since.

“I feel like I am contributing to something really important, in terms of our environment,” René said of her upcoming performance. “It’s a great cause and I’m really happy to be a part of it.”

René has been on tour to promote her new CD, “No Restrictions,” which is scheduled to be released Tuesday on Universal Records.

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