|Photo credit: Colored Musicians Club|
The Colored Musicians Club has had a profound impact on development in Buffalo, New York. President and saxophonist of the club, George Scott, 58, has been the leader in the movement to maintain and showcase the club as a downtown historical site and entertainment hub. Scott, wearing several hats as a father, brother and band member, serves as the voice of the club. Speaking passionately an positively, Scott is convinced that the Colored Musicians Club has made its mark historically, culturally, developmentally, and economically.
"It was a symbol of hope, too, you know. Because if they were able to turn things around in a positive way for African Americans and other walks of life for African Americans now, we can do this too." Scott said in regards to the founders of the club and its contribution to economic growth and development. Scott undoubtedly has a passion for maintaining the club and upholding the rich culture and history if offers. "I think George has done a fantastic job at keeping this place alive. I think it's apart of the cultural dynamics of the city of Buffalo," says Tommy Blunt, a volunteer at the Colored Musicians Club Museum.
As a graduate of Canisius College, Scott is a lover of history. He mentioned how often he researches different topics at the library, just for self knowledge. This speaks volumes for his elegant style of speech and his fruitful knowledge about the clubs history. Scotts 17-piece band, the George Scott Big Band, plays a mix of music that is enjoyable for people of all ages. In addition to leading his band, he is also an amateur photographer, former semi-professional baseball player and a fan of fishing and golf. Scotts well-rounded background makes him well-suited to be president of such a prestigious historical site.
Scott notes that his greatest accomplishment over the past several years was the progress that he and others have had in making the club and museum what it has become today.
"I'm just happy that I was able to be an integral part of getting this club turned around and being able to get this museum. This probably means more to me than anything; the fact that I learned from these guys, they were my mentors, my teachers."
And in return, Scott also helps to provide a venue for the youth to come and learn to play different instruments. Currently, the club offers youth music lessons on Saturday mornings from 11:00am-2:00pm.
One of Scotts most precious and memorable moments he experienced was the chance to be the conductor while performing at Kleinhans Music Hall alongside Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which he described as "a jazzmans' dream." When asked how he felt during the performance:
"I was more busy with the conducting, I never thought about it...[he thought] wow, these guys, they're the best of the best...I had a great time, I loved it."
Scott considers trumpet player Wynton Marsalis a prime influence who "carried the torch" for jazz.
The Colored Musicians Club served and still serves as a venue for musicians and music lovers to come, make, and enjoy music together. With help from people like Scott, acknowledging these historical sites will help promote more urban development and growth for African American communities and the city as a whole.
"With all the development in the city of Buffalo they're not going to be able to ignore the Colored Musicians Club because it's here, it's a permanent fixture and it's going to be a part of whatever develops in this area," said Blunt
Growth in the city is not always necessarily about new development, but respect for the old. We can surely appreciate Scott for the respect he has held for the Colored Musicians Club the 14 years he has served as president.
jAmMiNg tO tHe BeAT oF oUR cITy! Getting to know Colored Musicians Club President George Scott