On February 5th, 2019, the Amplify team had the honor of being a part of a celebration of Jackie Robinson‘s life and legacy at a 100th Birthday Jazz Concert at Royce Hall on UCLA’s campus. Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, Grammy Award winner Dave Koz, and guitarist and four-time World Series champion Bernie Williams performed with other special guests, along with an All-Star band.
Amplify was brought in to facilitate production of two iconic Jackie Robinson Telecaster art guitars that were revealed for the first time at the concert. Fender donated the guitars and the design was done masterfully by Jason Kline of Axe Heaven. One of the guitars will be auctioned with proceeds benefiting Robinson’s estate and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The other guitar will be featured in the Grammy Museum exhibit Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Popular Music and the National Pastime.
Special guests from the worlds of sports and entertainment appeared at the concert, such as Jackie’s daughter Sharon Robinson, as well as UCLA alumnus and Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who took the stage to remember the great Jackie Robinson.
The concert not only honored Jackie’s groundbreaking achievements in sports, but his phenomenal strides in human rights, civil rights, his appreciation of culture and music, and his unwavering devotion to his wife and children as well.
Back in 1963, Jackie and Rachel Robinson hosted backyard Jazz concerts featuring artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones and Dave Brubeck in order to raise funds for the civil rights movement. The funds raised at the first concert went to bail out civil rights activists led by Martin Luther King, Jr. who were jailed in the South. For several years following, the funds raised went to various charities, as well as benefiting The Jackie Robinson Foundation.
The fact that this event was on the campus of UCLA was also very fitting. While a senior at UCLA, Robinson met his future wife, Rachel, a UCLA freshman, just a few steps away from where the concert was held.