“Musicians have incorporated prison life into their material throughout the 20th century. MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer and folk-hero bluesman Lead Belly both famously spent time in jail, Johnny Cash recorded and released his live shows from Folsom and San Quentin prisons, and rappers like Gucci Mane and Lil Wayne have waxed poetic about their time on the inside … the list goes on. Rarely, though, do people from the outside go into prisons to play music. Jazz Artists of Charleston’s (JAC) new program, Jazz in the Joint, aims to do just that.
Organized by the JAC and band leader Steve Simon, Jazz in the Joint is a series that brings jazz shows to local prisons, starting with the Lieber Correctional Institute in Ridgeville, S.C. The first performance, which took place on Tues. Oct. 4, is part of the JAC’s community service and outreach program, and featured Simon on clarinet, Heather Rice on vocals, Charlton Singleton on trumpet, Brett Belanger on bass, Markus Helander on drums, Chris Williams on sax, and Mayor John Tecklenburg on the keys.“