MIAMI — To support America’s indigenous music — jazz — is why the Sunshine Jazz Organization of South Florida was formed in 1986.
It’s also why the organization started its South Florida Jazz Hall of Fame, and convened in the Caleb Auditorium lobby on Oct. 23 to announce its latest inductees.
On hand at Caleb in large part because of a new inductee — South Florida’s own Melton Mustafa — were Sunshine Hall of Famers Alice Day, China Valles, Jesse Jones Jr., Len Pace, Ira Sullivan, Mel Dancy.
Recognizing that Mustafa, Florida Memorial University’s director of jazz studies, had been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer that requires expensive, drastic treatments, the Sunshine organization moved him to the head of its list of new Hall of Famers.
“We kind of go way, way, way back,” said longtime WLRN Evenin’ Jazz radio host Pace, as he recounted for the audience some of his and Mustafa’s shared school and music history. “I just want to tell you that this is a class act, Mr. Melton Mustafa. He’s done wondrous things, including his work over at Florida Memorial.”
There were teary eyes in the room as Mustafa received his honor, and joy as he later took the stage with his trumpet to play — and lead the audience in — a rendition of You Are So Beautiful.
His family has found a way to manage much needed donations (Mail to Melton Mustafa Medical Trust, c/o Attorney Nashid Sabir, 18350 NW 2nd Ave., Fifth floor, Miami, FL 33169; or contact Jesse Jones Jr. at email@example.com).
Meanwhile part of Mustafa’s legacy is that South Florida’s greatest musicians and their fans have been gathering at the well-received series of concerts for his benefit.
This concert — which featured his brother Jesse Jones Jr. and son Melton “Rashaan” Mustafa Jr., as well as Day, Mike Levine, James Cotman, Paul Shewchuk, Daniel “Zebulon” McCleod-El, Sullivan, Silvano Monasterios and others — was the latest, and by many accounts the best yet.
The Sunshine Jazz Organization’s South Florida Hall of Fame members:
Billy Marcus (Quartet)
Photo: Melton Mustafa