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Eddie Durham. Photo courtesy of Linda Kelsey-Jones

Eddie Durham Birthday Celebration Jazz Fest

Bringing the music home
Friday, August 17, 2018

The public is invited to the 3rd Annual Eddie Durham Birthday celebration and musical tribute Saturday, Aug. 25, noon- 6 p.m., in the park named for him at 217 MLK Drive.  

The Eddie Durham Birthday Celebration, sponsored by the Calaboose African American History Museum, is a cultural event designed to highlight the life and legacy of musician Eddie Durham (1906-1987), renowned jazz musician, composer and arranger – and native of San Marcos.  

The Jazz Festival is part of the Calaboose’s commitment to provide cultural enrichment for residents of the Dunbar Historic District, as well as community outreach to bring people from other parts of San Marcos and surrounding municipalities to the Dunbar Historic District. 

Eddie Durham is known in musical circles around the world – his birthday, Aug. 19, is celebrated regularly on NYC Jazz stations and his legacy as a composer, arranger and performer with many of the best known musicians of his time such as Jimmie Lunceford, Count Basie and the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band is documented for all time. He is also credited as the first musician to record playing an electrified guitar. 

Durham first made his reputation in the early Kansas City jazz scene playing with the Kansas City Six, and many might assume he is from New York where he finished out his career. But it wasn’t until fairly recently that – thanks to Johnnie Armstead and the Calaboose Museum – San Marcos realized that Eddie Durham was arguably one of the most world renowned celebrities from our city.

This year’s free event will kick off at noon with children’s activities and crafts. Vendors including the Texas State Black Arts Association, African fashions by Ghanaian designer Deku Justice, Yogurt in Love will be out and Constable David Peterson will be out with free hot dogs for children and grilled burgers for sale.

Dave Oliphant will speak about Eddie Durham’s jazz legacy in the context of Texas Jazz at 1 p.m. in the Cephas House, next to the park. Oliphant, a former UT professor, is an award winning poet and jazz historian. He is the author of numerous books including “Texan Jazz” and newly released, “Austin: A Poem.” He will have some books available at the event. 

Local poet Faylita Hicks will offer a drop-in free poetry workshop and reading from 2 -3 p.m. in the Cephas House. 

Music in the gazebo will begin at 3 and include the Jerry Espinoza Band,  Blu Moon and the San Marcos Jazz Collective, coordinated by Texas State Jazz Studies saxophonist, Jamal Edwards. Texas State senior lecturer and long-time musician Morris Nelms will be a special guest artist. 

Tours of the Calaboose will take place from noon – 6 and will feature a new art exhibit by members of the Black Arts Association. 

The annual Eddie Durham Jazz Fest is sponsored by the Calaboose African American History Museum and the city of San Marcos, with support from the San Marcos Arts Commission.

 For more information or to reserve a vendor’s booth call Ramika Adams at 512-787-0364, or e-mail LKJ@centurytel.net.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666