Friday, January 8, 2016

Support for Co-Naming Lymon Place "Elmo Hope Way"

Dear District Manager Dudley
As founder and director of the Bronx African American History Project, I would like to offer my enthusiastic support for efforts to co-name Lymon Place, "Elmo Hope Way." This is an important part of the BAAHP's efforts to have the jazz history of Morrisania commemorated so that a new generation of Bronx residents can understand an important portion of their borough's musical history.
Elmo Hope was a brilliant jazz pianist and composer, a leader within the "Hard Bop" jazz tradition, who spent many of his most creative years as a resident of Lymon Place. One of the people we interviewed for the Bronx African American History Project, Jacqueline ("Jackie") Bonneau Smith, talked with great passion about the hours she spent at Elmo Hope's apartment on Lymon place watching him jam with her uncle, Thelonious Monk. She also described Elmo Hope's encouragement as an important influence on her own decision to become a musician and composer
Elmo Hope played with some of the great musicians of his era, among them Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Lou Donaldson, and his recordings are prized by jazz historians and jazz afficianados. We feature his song "Hot Sauce" on the "Music of the Bronx" CD we play at Bronx African American History Project lectures and tours.
I look forward to this great musician being commemorated with a street renaming as has been done for Maxine Sullivan and Henry "Red" Allen.
It is deeply gratifying for us to see the Bronx African American History Project's research on Bronx Jazz History be transformed into living reminders of a great tradition.
Dr Mark Naison
Professor of African American Studies and History
Fordham University
Founder and Director, Bronx African American History Project