Rename 132nd St between 7 & 8 ave in NYC to "Seleno Clarke Way"
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We respectfully ask that the street, 132nd Street between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Blvd, be renamed as “Seleno Clarke Way” in honor of Mr. Seleno Clarke. Seleno was a legendary jazz organist who sadly passed away on December 28, 2017. He was highly respected in the community, and an iconic musician for many in the jazz world.
For 19 years, the Seleno Clarke And His Harlem Groove Band performed live jazz music in the basement of the American Legion Post 398 (also known as Colonel Charles Young Post 398). Seleno created a place where people from diverse backgrounds worldwide could listen to him play the Hammond B3 organ he called "The Beast" in a welcoming milieu he called his "Living Room". Meanwhile, venues that featured the Hammond B3 organ became increasingly rare in New York City. To this end, he provided his own equipment: the Hammond B3 organ, Leslie speakers, a drum set donated by guitarist George Benson, and a guitar amplifier donated by organist Jimmy McGriff.
Traditionally a local veterans organization on a small street in Harlem, the American Legion Post 398 transformed into a popular and crowded spot for local and international guests to hear top-quality music, free of charge. He hosted “jam sessions” where musicians of all ages, from children to the elderly, had the opportunity to perform with his band. He mentored many who became professional musicians. Many of his prominent friends visited him and participated in the jam sessions, including George Benson, Lou Donaldson, Eddie Henderson, Jimmy McGriff, Joey DeFrancesco, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Michael Torsone, and Russell Malone, to name a few.
Seleno Clarke is featured in several publications, including the New York Times, All About Jazz, and Time Out, and in the documentary film, "Killer B3". In recognition for his contributions to the Harlem community, Seleno Clarke received numerous awards and proclamations throughout the years. For more information on Seleno Clarke, please visit: www.selenoclarke.com
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