Over 200 jazz enthusiasts and neighborhood residents crowded into the standing-room-only Shellens Gallery at Brooklyn Historical Society’s downtown headquarters in Brooklyn Heights Thursday, April 28, to witness the induction of Montego Joe and Wally “Gator’ Watson into the Brooklyn Jazz Hall of Fame.
The Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium (CBJC) which hosted the event, presented awards to the inductees and a host of others.
The Deacon Leroy Applin Young Lion Award was presented to Edwin “Tut” Burks by CBJC Youth Coordinator Tom Abney; the Jazz Shrine Award was presented to The New Muse — represented by former Executive Director Andrew Gill, by vocalist and CBJC member Mari Toussaint; the Jazz Impact Award was presented to Louis Reyes Rivera by CBJC member Beareather Reddy; the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to bassist Alex Blake by Pure Jazz Magazine publisher Jo Ann Cheatham.
Elise E. Watson, wife of the late drummer Wally “Gator” Watson, accepted the award on his behalf, and daughters of percussionist Montego Joe, Juanita Brown and Mahasin Mais, accepted his award. CBJC Board member Michael Howard presented the awards..
Everyone enjoyed the Eric Frazier Trio jazz jam and refreshments, as the Brooklyn Historical Society turned into an entertainment venue.
This event was supported in part by Brooklyn Tourism and Visitors Center, an initiative of Borough President Marty Markowitz; FoodTown of Bedford Stuyvesant; AfroArt Designs, the Daily Challenge publication, and the 40 member organizations of the CBJC.