“Minor Mood”, Major Chops: The All American Jazz Collective

Imagine eating lunch under the shade of an old oak tree, the mellow sounds of John Coltrane or Thelonious Monk wafting around you from a quintet sitting adjacent in the park. How melodious. How cosmopolitan. How All American.

Well, I have news for you: You can do just such a thing on the campus of Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) every other Friday this coming fall when the All American Jazz Collective starts playing again. This loose quintet–sometimes a quartet, sometimes a sextet or more–plays on campus as well as various community gathering places around Fayetteville.

Jazz has a long history in the state. Coltrane hailed from High Point, Monk from Rocky Mount. Nina Simone is from Tryon, Billy Strayhorn spent formative years in Hillsborough. The NC Arts Council maintains a trail through eastern North Carolina dedicated to these luminaries and their stories. Perhaps we can get Fayetteville on the map: trumpeter Waymon Reed is from here. So the All American Jazz Collective is carrying on a proud North Carolinian tradition.

All American Jazz Collective
One lineup of the AAJC, Pappas far left, Carey in middle. Photo courtesy Anthony Russell.

AAJC started performing together in the fall of 2017. Co-founder Daniel Pappas mused, “Fayetteville had lots of R&B or Smooth jazz, even some fusion, but we wanted to do traditional jazz music.” Pappas moved here five years ago to teach and now runs the music department at FTCC. Jazz wasn’t his main musical focus before teaching at FTCC. “I felt I could speak about it better if I played it,” he chuckled. And with the wide spectrum of jazz styles, musicians, and songs to choose from, there is always something to play or to improvise around.

Jenne Carey, also a recent transplant to Fayetteville, and vocal instructor with FTCC, sings with AAJC. Jazz isn’t her background either–she’s a classically trained opera singer–but she jumped at the chance to grow her skills and range. “Ellington, Gershwin: these composers fused jazz with classical,” she enthused. The other members of the Collective vary from performance to performance. The March 2019 lineup at Holy Trinity included Jay Locklear on piano, Landon Oliver on organ, Anthony Russell on drums, and Willie Lockett (who is a former 82nd Airborne Bandmaster) on bass.

In addition to private functions, the AAJC has played at the opening of the Hope Mills Lake and with Sweet Tea Shakespeare. “I wish there was a jazz club here,” Pappas said. Hence the Friday Jazz Lunches and other community performances. Perhaps the new Jazzio’s restaurant on Bragg Blvd might be interested in the group to perform…

AAJC is an exciting contribution to the Fayetteville music scene. Pappas mentioned he was particularly enthusiastic about the Cape Fear New Music Festival, held at Methodist University in the Spring. Both Methodist and Fayetteville State University have strong music programs, including jazz studies. All these musical connections between educational establishments, bands, and individuals will make our city sound that much more rhythmic.

The Creative Frenzy: An Arts + Crafts Playground on Yadkin Rd

Addrienne VanOver, owner of The Creative Frenzy on Yadkin Road, glanced around the shop, smiling as she said, “There’s so much more I want to do, too.” It’s hard to believe there’s more, as VanOver currently runs the shop, does custom design work for private clients, leads private and group crafting workshops, and teaches both one-on-one in her store and at Fayetteville Technical Community College (and is a mama of three and married for almost twenty years!).

She opened The Creative Frenzy in August 2018 and moved into the current location at 4760 Yadkin Road (near the corner of Yadkin and Skibo) in March of 2019. It’s a bit like an arts & crafts playground. You can bring your own toys–er, arts and crafts supplies–and work on your project in the company of others. Or you can buy or borrow from the shop. “Anything you see on Pinterest, we can do here,” Addrienne quips. There’s supplies for paper-crafting, painting, embroidery, making wood signs, printing t-shirts, even a photo studio set up for product or people shoots. And at $25-35 per hour for most workshops or instruction, it’s affordable to try everything.

Group workshops are the current shop specialty. In addition to her general craft workshops, there are also events geared towards veterans and for homeschoolers. There’s even a quilting club who meets at the shop every Monday! “We also have a free kids story time–it’s always on Saturday but varies through the month–and book club on the last Sunday of every month,” Addrienne said. “They both have crafts involved and everyone is welcome to come.” She did say the kids’ storytime tends to fill up, so get there early!

Addrienne also does custom design work and sells her original embroidery designs through her website. “I want other crafters to use the shop as a place to start their own Etsy stores,” she expressed. And since she often brings her own kids to the shop, kids are more than welcomed: they are encouraged to come and craft, too! Oh, and did I mention you can rent the shop for birthday parties? Eight kid minimum and an amazing craft to take home after!

image via The Creative Frenzy Facebook page

Check out her website, Facebook, and Instagram, and sign up for the email list to find out about ALL Addrienne has going on! She’s also looking for other crafty teachers, so if you have friends asking “how do you do that?,” maybe it’s time for you to teach it!