December Newsletter

December 23, 2015



Dear Friend,


As the year comes to an end and the holiday festivities are underway, we want to thank you for your gracious support. 2015 has been a great year for MOJA and we hope it was good to you too. We are excited to announce that we now have an Instagram and blog. Check them out by clicking the links. 

We asked some members of the community: "why is MOJA important to you?" and you'll find their insightful responses below. We wish you and your loved ones the best and we’ll see you in 2016!  



The Museum of Jazz and Art 




Terrence Brewer, Multiple Award Winning Jazz Guitatist/Educator and Moja Advisor

MOJA is important to me because all representations of Jazz, art, and creative expression are important to me - creative expression is important to the world and so MOJA is important to the world! Whenever and wherever we cultivate, curate, and support art we are shaping and inspiring the communities around us and that inspiration spills out into the larger world around us - and MOJA is that place!


Michael White & Leisei Chen, Jazz Violinist/Composer & Vocalist/Qigong-Taiji Artist and Moja Advisors


JAZZ liberates, LOVE liberates, ART liberates. Healing Vibrations of the Universe Embraces Us All. As Jazz Artists together for over 100 years, we have been living in JAZZ, the only original American art form, day in and day out, on and off stages. Recent years collaborating with multi-cultural musicians & artists, we present our music and art in open public spaces, magnetized audiences from multi-generations, genders and cultures together we experience and expand our consciousness in timeless peaceful realms. We know it is much needed NOW. Having MOJA can not be more timely for us all. Historically Oakland has always been the gateway for Jazz. Trust the SPACE where JAZZ & ART thrives from its history to the future, as a vehicle for inspiration and artistic endeavors. It’s wisdom, creativity and innovation awakens for the good of humanity.


Mike Charlasch, Consultant for Red Cliff Marketing and Major Moja Supporter


Most jazz “industry” people might say that New York City is the center of their world. But these days, reasonable folks can also agree the Bay Area is this country’s next jazz mecca, second only to NYC. There is a vibrant history of jazz here, from Fantasy Records to Concord Music Group, the Blackhawk to Keystone Korner, Cal Tjader to the Guitar Trio. We have thriving jazz institutions including SFJAZZ, Yoshi’s, San Jose Jazz, KCSM, Stanford Jazz Workshop, the California Jazz Conservatory, Jazz Camp West and others. It is fitting that a museum devoted to the heritage of jazz and related music would take shape in the Bay Area. And Oakland is the perfect location, with a creative energy like jazz itself — unmatched anywhere in the west. The Bay Area is a prime destination for international tourism and MoJA will become yet another major draw for culture seekers worldwide.


Grant Reid, Attorney, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C and Moja Legal Advisor


MOJA is important to me because it preserves and promotes our shared musical and artistic heritage. As the first great American art form, the history of jazz is the history of Oakland, the Bay Area and America. This vibrant history creates pride in our community, inspires creativity and serves as a link to our past amid times of change.


Penelope Adibe, MOJA Advisor


MOJA is important to have a space to restore, enhance, and preserve history for generations to come. Music and Museums were a core of my upbringing in London, they helped open my eyes to new ideas and to think differently, openly and to create. MOJA  provides public benefits––they Sponsored Nnekas Holiday Pop Up in 2014 and helped us feature a local Music group called Sang Matiz.


Aja Cooper, Beneficial State Bank Marketing Strategist, Proud Oakland Resident, and Major Moja Supporter


MOJA is an important project to the city of Oakland. It will play a huge part in helping to create a greater understanding of and appreciation for jazz and its reflection of American culture. Oakland has had quite an influence on Jazz and it's important that we share in the collective narrative of a genre that has so richly contributed to this country's diverse cultural heritage.


Greg Bridges, Radio Personality, Journalist, Presenter, and Moja Advisor


MOJA, The Museum Of Jazz and Art, is important to me as a source of preserving and celebrating the rich history and creativity of this music called Jazz and the culture of such while also appreciating and celebrating the importance of those musicians, educators, presenters and curators of this continuing form of expression.


Tony Calzaretta, Vice President of Design and Creative at Pandora and Chair of Visual and Social Media

Committee at Moja


I grew up wanting to be an artist, a designer, a painter. Jazz became a massive point of influence to me in my early 20s. I fell in love with different sounds: jazz organists like Baby Face Willette, Jimmy Smith, and Charles Earland really hooked me into jazz. Which was followed by a love of great guitarists like Grant Green, to amazing saxophonists like Ornette Coleman, the list goes on. This all fueled my desire to professionally create in the visual realm. While this is a major reason of interest in helping the MOJA vision, the outreach to the community, helping people through something that I’m passionate about pushes why MOJA is important to me to astronomical levels. To think MOJA could help influence and inspire younger generations through the power of art and jazz is something I’ll always feel privileged to be part of. 


David Allen (left), CEO & Visionary Board Chairman of MOJA with Joe Kennedy (right), Moja Vice Chairman and former Pandora CEO


You have to understand the language before you can write a story. This applies to Architecture & Jazz Music as well..." Dizzy Gillespie, around 1989. The jazz scene in Oakland dates back to the 1920s and was influenced by the Chicago and New Orleans styles enjoyed by those who migrated to work on the railroads. In or around 1918, the Sid Deering's Creole Cafe, with their Orleans-style jazz featured one of the legends of early big-band––Jelly Roll Morton. In 1921, the Lincoln Theatre opened at 1620 7th Street offering films and concerts, Billie Holiday was among the many notable performers to play there. In addition to these historic and great venues, Slim Jenkins Supper Club was one of the most celebrated venues in Oakland featuring legends like B.B. King, Nat King Cole, Louis Jordan and Sammy Davis Jr. "The Thrill is Gone," a big hit for B.B. King, was written by Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins in Oakland’s own "Big Town Records" around 1951. Contribution by both Greg Bridges & Jessie "Chuy" Varela, 2013. The assimilationist goal may be for a complete acculturation of immigrants and their children to the American ways & customs.  But these ways must be modified or enhanced through early education to include tolerance, non-violent communication, humility, empathy, self assessment & evaluation, conflict resolution, history from a cultural perspective, etc.  One of the main goals of MOJA is to use this institution as a catalyst for change; with a focus on building of cultures, the telling of stories & testimonies that mitigates prejudice, anger, hatred & move toward a better understanding, appreciation & LOVE of our American Classical Music- JAZZ.

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