Starting today, Jazz Bridge
opens the tax-deductible Kwame Hall Fund" for Kwame Hall, an alto saxophonist and composer born and raised in Philadelphia
who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. Tomorrow is a big day for Hall. He'll undergo a 12-hour surgical intervention at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania for a condition only diagnosed two months ago when he started having hearing and balance problems.
Son of drummer George Hall
, young Kwame studied piano at the Settlement Music School and began playing saxophone at the age of 9. He was taught and mentored by the Philly's best—Rufus Harley
, Trudy Pitts
, Bootsie Barnes
, Tim Warfield
, and Rayburn Wright—and went the usual route to professional playing: high school jazz band, the Tony Williams
Youth Ensemble and the Philadelphia Cleff Club Youth Ensemble. After high school, he was accepted into the famed Florida A &M University Jazz Ensemble, where he studied with Victor Goines
, and then later to Long Island University in Brooklyn, studying with Pete Yellin
. His first professional gigs started at Radio City with gospel singer Hezekiah Walker, and he quickly rounded out his musical life working with singer Bilal
, pianist Orrin Evans
, trumpeter Duane Eubanks
, and singer TC III.
After the surgery, Kwame Hall may lose his hearing entirely. He recently posted on the Internet, There is a possibility that I may not play the sax again, but the devil is a liar and I am a fighter."
The Philadelphia jazz community has been supporting him all the way, already raising about $4600, but he'll need more.
To donate to the Kwame Hall Fund"an help with excess medical bills and post-surgical rehabilitiation, please go Jazz Bridge
and select the menu option I want my donation to go to" and choose the Kwame Hall Fund". All donations are tax-deductible.
Photo credit: Anthony Dean