In November, no one in the music community expected to hear the sad news of the death of founding Jazz Artists of Charleston board member, jazz historian, producer, and emcee Jack McCray. Over the last four years, McCray had worked hard to establish JAC as an independent group of artists. He helped produce big-band and small-combo events at the Charleston Music Hall, Footlight Players Theatre, Voodoo, and other venues, and the Charleston Jazz Orchestra took shape with his guidance and encouragement. On Nov. 15, JAC president Leah Suárez and many others in the JAC family and local jazz community joined members of McCray's family and led a surprisingly celebratory and upbeat morning funeral procession through the streets of downtown Charleston, from Ansonborough Field to Mother Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street. "I think it's evident by the people who are out here today that Jack was the glue in the community," Suárez told the City Paper. "We want to make him proud today. He finally gets his parade."
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