“Return to Glory,” held at Arena Stage, celebrated Fred Irby III, retiring professor of music at Howard University and director of the Howard University Jazz Ensemble (HUJE).
Before the band started the concert, Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Howard University’s Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts, was given the Benny Golson Jazz Master Award. Rashad was recognized for her support of HUJE.
Presenting the award to the dean were Denise Saunders Thompson, assistant dean of Fine Arts and Howard University alumna Sunny Sumter, president and CEO of the DC Jazz Festival, which received the Golson Award in 2015.
“Dean Rashad has been an extraordinary champion of the arts working tirelessly for our college and the Howard University jazz studies program,” said Thompson, a past U.S. Medal of Arts recipient.
When accepting the Golson Award, Rashad shifted the focus to Irby, acknowledging his 50 years working with Howard University jazz music students.
“We acknowledge, celebrate, and honor one of the jazz greats of our time,” Rashad said about Irby. “He’s given them access, opportunity, room, and space to learn from and play with other great, professional jazz musicians.”
Irby and HUJE created the Benny Golson Jazz Master Award in 1996 to honor the legacy of the Howard University alumnus.
In 1995, Golson was named a National Endowment of Arts Jazz Master. In 2014, Golson was given an honorary Doctor of Music degree at Howard University’s commencement. He is the composer of jazz standards “Killer Joe,” (1977) “Along Came Betty,” (1954) “I Remember Clifford,” (1958) and many others.
Source: Washington Informer