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Mel Wanzo Halal Jazz Cafe

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The Muslim Center welcomes you to the Mel Wanzo Halal Jazz Cafe on Sunday, January 12th at 3:00 PM. This beautiful jazzy event will feature performances by Tariq Gardner's Evening Star Trio.

Evening Star is a Space Odyssey led by Detroit Drummer Tariq Gardner. The group has its roots in Detroit’s expansive musical tradition blending the city’s rich Jazz legacy, with its legacy of musicians being largely malleable to fit into a wide array of musical styles. Traveling to the different galaxies of the music of the African Diaspora (Jazz, Neo-Soul, Afro-Cuban, Negro Spirituals, Hip-Hop), Evening Star brings listeners light years into the cosmos while staying true to the roots of the Motherland

You will not want to miss this special occasion; a day filled with sounds that will enlighten and open the minds and souls! 

Tickets are $20 online and at the door. 

Refreshments will be included.

*If you are interested in vending at this event, there will be booths available 

About Mel Wanzo

Melvin F. Wanzo, born in Cleveland, Ohio, November 22, 1930, was a Jazz Legend, who worked with the Glen Miller Orchestra and the Woody Herman Swinging Heard in the 1960s prior to working with the Count Basie Orchestra from 1969-80 and 1980/96.  During the four years he was not performing with Basie, he was Ella Fitzgerald’s librarian, performed with Mercer Ellington doing Sophisticated Ladies, worked in Bill Berry’s band as well as Frank Capp’s Juggernaut Band. After retirement from the Basie Orchestra, Mel served as a mentor for the Wayne State University Trombone Ensemble from 1997 through 2002 and for the Jazz Lab I Band (1996-2005). He and his wife, Carolyn Patrick-Wanzo, a graduate of Wayne State University's School of Social Work, currently live in Detroit, Michigan. Unfortunately, Mel passed away in September, 2005.


Mel spent over 40 years on the road playing and recording with many of history's greatest jazz artists, including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan. He is most widely known as the longtime "lead trombonist" for the world famous Count Basie Orchestra (1969-96). Special highlights of his career include a Command Performance for the Queen of England, performances for Thailand's King Bhumipol Adulyadej, Rama IX,  the President of Finland, and receiving six Grammy Awards. Mel retired from the Count Basie Orchestra in 1996. His discography includes performing on more than 70 CDs.

About the Halal Jazz Cafe:

After Ramadan, 2012, the former mosque, which was now being used for storage,  was renovated to provide a wonderful space for all of the framed posters and memorabilia from the various jazz venues where Mel Wanzo had performed throughout his 40 year career. The Halal Jazz Cafe opened on August 31st 2012 with a performance by the Winard Harper Octet.  

The vision and mission of the founders was to provide space and fund music lessons for interested students attending the DPS. Through the tireless efforts of the Jazz Halal Cafe Committee, lessons were procured from professional musicians but offered from their studios, instead. In addition to music lessons, the cafe was to be made available for rent for all special occasions approved and supported by the mosque board of directors and to provide community services to help keep the original American art form (Jazz) alive within the Metropolitan Detroit area. 

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