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Uplift, One Note at a Time: A Letter from Monifa Brown, Host of Saturday Afternoon Jazz


If you are like me, music has always played a leading role in your life. In times of joy, fear and uncertainty, it has always been by my side like a trusted companion.

I have often said that music has saved my life more than a few times! As Ray Charles so eloquently put it, “I was born with music inside me...Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me-like food or water.” This quote resonates with me because it gets to the essence of what music means to so many of us. It is a vital force that keeps us centered, spiritually aligned, hopeful and ready to face another day.

From an early age, my parents gifted me one of my most valuable treasures: jazz. By the time I was in elementary school, I was a regular at clubs like Sweet Basil, The Village Gate and The Village Vanguard. After I graduated from Music & Art High School, I went on to Temple University to earn a degree in Music Therapy with a concentration in classical voice. So much of my existence has been predicated on the fact that music is a healing force, and a powerful tool for navigating life's many challenges.

Every Saturday I have two missions, to Swing Hard and Take No Prisoners — but most importantly, to uplift one note at a time. No matter what is going on, the focus is and remains on using this beautiful music to unite, elevate and spread positivity. I lean on the words of Horace Silver, who once said, "Musical composition should bring happiness and joy to people and make them forget their troubles."  I thank the universe for allowing me to be your guide for these four hours, and I thank you for allowing me to take you on the journey.

Many Blessings,

Monifa Brown
Host Saturday Afternoon Jazz