In his introductory remarks, Strickland told the audience that ever since he was 14, when a teacher named Frank Ross saved him from the streets by taking him to jazz concerts at the Civic Arena, he had a fantasy about creating a space where that music could be passed on.

“And that has come to pass. This room is here because a lot of people sacrificed to get this music heard because people like Marty and me realized it is part of the cure for mental illness,” he said.

“When we dedicated this place, it was Ahmad who did it on this Steinway. When I saw him in the green room a bit ago, he remembered the date and day of the week.  Ahmad, when I’m 83, I want to be just like you.”

After seeing and hearing his performance, so did everyone else.

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