The Wilbur Ware Institute began its formation in the late 1970s with Wilbur’s support and encouragement and the assistance of many jazz masters and innovators. We received nonprofit status 501(c)(3) in 1983. We were incorporated in 1987. The Corporation Bureau of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has filed our name as The Wilbur Ware Institute, Inc. and most recently, we were granted authority to operate in New York State.
Clifford and Sandra Jordan, and Gloria Ware were the initial organizers, along with others like Frank Fuentes, and Shirley Goods (Charles “Specs” Wright). All assisted with organizational matters. We began as a nonprofit organization concerned with the arts & humanities as they relate to improvisational musicians, historical accuracy, and the musical legacy, now acknowledged as an American National Treasure. Among the supporters and artists who joined us in programming planning and/or performing throughout the 1980s were Chris Anderson, Wilbur Campbell, Sam Dockery, Bobby Durham, Tommy Flanagan, Arthur Harper, Barry Harris, Billy Higgins, Eloise (Wood) Jones, Julian King, Esq., Melba Liston, Jymie Merritt, Hank Mobley, Jimmy Owens, Mickey Roker, Curly Russell, Shirley Scott, Victor Sproles, Barry Harris, Leroy Williams, Reggie Workman, and many others.
Because The WW Institute is devoted primarily to those generally acknowledged as innovators and master musicians, some of our presentations in the past consisted of the following artists with SHIRLEY SCOTT as our Musical Director: MELBA LISTON & COMPANY, TEDDY WILSON, GEORGE DUVIVIER, LEROY WILLIAMS, CLIFFORD JORDAN, MAJOR HOLLEY, BOBBY DURHAM, SAM DOCKERY, VICTOR SPROLES, MICKEY ROKER, JYMIE MERRITT, JIMMY GOLDEN, CHARLIE ROUSE, EVELYN SIMMS, JIMMIE SLYDE, LON CHANEY, ARTHUR HARPER, AL HIBBLER, CURLY RUSSELL, HILTON RUIZ & SALSA MASTERS, BUDD JOHNSON, BARRY HARRIS, TOMMY FLANAGAN, ODEAN POPE, and many others. We produced and enjoyed performances, seminars and workshops in family-oriented venues: museums, churches, art centers, universities, theaters, parks, and media events.
The organizational focus then and now…for the 21st century and beyond… includes all aspects of this most highly developed artistic expression called Jazz that has influenced music and art worldwide and has remained unsurpassed in subsequent American musical development.
- To preserve the history of jazz as seen and experienced by the innovators and master musicians who create, perform, and perpetuate the art form.
- To create performance opportunities, seminars, workshops, and other educational opportunities suggested by and using the musicians as primary sources while focusing on marginalized youth and utilizing seasoned members of the community.
- To seek appropriate compensation and benefits for our musicians’ expertise and artistry.
- To establish a Mentoring Program that will include pairing master musicians with novices and providing free services to youth with limited incomes.
- To seek greater national and international exposure within mainstream and popular culture for these music masters, using whatever technology and techniques prove effective.
- To collaborate with other nonprofit organizations with similar goals that work for the recognition and perpetuation of this music.