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Annual Ranny Reeve Jazz Festival to take place Friday in Kings Park

Improv jazz legend Ranny Reeve, 86, plays the

Improv jazz legend Ranny Reeve, 86, plays the piano with Bennett McComb, 12, of Riverhead, during a lesson in Reeve's home in Coram. (Feb. 11, 2012) Credit: Daniel Brennan

“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!”

That’s what 87-year-old jazz composer and piano teacher Ranny Reeve of Coram says about his enduring love of the genre. His commitment to keeping jazz alive and teaching residents of Kings Park prompted the Kings Park Heritage Museum to name its ongoing jazz celebration of Black History Month after Reeve last year.

The Ranny Reeve Jazz Festival, to be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Ralph J. Osgood building of the Kings Park Central School District, 101 Church St., will include performances by Reeve, professional musicians and young students.

“We’re a heritage museum that is trying to put across to kids: This is what your heritage is about,” said museum director Leo Ostebo, adding that the museum, which hosts monthly programs recognizing local ethnic groups, will also be open Friday night.

The festival concludes with an improvisation of “Watermelon Man,” where children share the stage with adults.

“I feel that if you don’t have the youth, you lose the music,” Reeve said. “These kids can see if you stick with it, what you’ll play like later on.”  

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