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Discovering Family and Spreading Peace through Jazz: A Conversation with Rick DellaRatta

Updated On: September 21, 2023

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In the realm of jazz, where creativity and improvisation converge, extraordinary stories often take center stage. In this special podcast episode, we had the privilege of conversing with Rick DellaRatta, a virtuoso jazz musician and the visionary behind Jazz for Peace. 

Rick’s journey is a captivating symphony of music, family revelations, and a resolute commitment to making the world a more harmonious place. Join us as we delve deeper into the captivating narrative of this remarkable artist and humanitarian.

A Musical Odyssey

Rick DellaRatta’s love for jazz has propelled him on a remarkable journey filled with melodies and harmonies that transcend borders and genres. He generously shared his unique approach to introducing jazz to audiences unfamiliar with this distinct musical genre. 

Kicking off with a beloved Beatles classic, “The Long and Winding Road,” Rick leads listeners on a transformative musical odyssey, expertly blending it with free-form jazz inspired by legendary figures like Keith Jarrett and Cecil Taylor.

The Birth of “J.A.S.S.”

Rick’s conversation takes an intriguing turn as he reveals the unusual spelling of “jazz” that served as the inspiration behind the name “Jazz for Peace.” The story unfolded during one of Rick’s concerts in Haiti when he stumbled upon a sign that read, “Welcome Jazz for Peace, J.A.S.S.” 

This unexpected discovery led Rick on a historical quest to uncover the origins of the word “jazz.” He learned that it was initially spelled “J-A-S-S” in Haiti, ultimately shaping the unique identity of Jazz for Peace. “Free JA” now signifies the organization’s unwavering commitment to promoting peace, freedom of speech, and social justice, particularly in regions marred by conflict.

A Family Saga Unearthed

Rick’s enthralling journey took an astonishing twist when he unearthed the existence of a cousin he never knew existed. This extraordinary revelation emerged through the increasingly popular practice of DNA testing. Rick’s cousin, Rob, embarked on a genealogical quest that gradually unveiled the possibility that his biological father might not be the man he thought. 

The tale unraveled, involving a quaint beauty parlor, long-held family secrets, and the profound influence of love and upbringing over biological ties.

Extending a Warm Welcome

Rick’s heartfelt openness and genuine warmth shone brilliantly as he welcomed Rob into the family with open arms. Regardless of the complexities surrounding their biological connections, Rick underscored the paramount importance of the love and nurturing provided by his parents. 

Rick’s willingness to embrace Rob as a cherished cousin stands as a testament to the enduring power of family bonds that extend far beyond the confines of blood relationships.

The Noble Mission of Jazz for Peace

Rick is not merely a consummate musician; he is also the visionary founder of Jazz for Peace, a transformative organization dedicated to championing exceptional causes through the harmonious medium of music and collective action. 

Rick generously shared how Jazz for Peace actively contributes to these causes by expanding their reach, securing vital sponsorships, and raising both essential funds and public awareness. The organization’s overarching mission is to empower and uplift those who are tirelessly making positive impacts within their communities and across the globe.

Closing Notes

Rick DellaRatta’s life story is a symphony that harmoniously weaves together elements of music, family, and humanitarianism. His enduring commitment to leveraging jazz as a powerful force for peace, and his resolute embrace of newfound family members, beautifully exemplify the enduring importance of love, unity, and acceptance in an often-divided world. 

If you’re eager to delve deeper into Rick’s inspiring journey with Jazz for Peace or have a noteworthy cause in mind, consider reaching out and becoming an integral part of this transformative narrative.

As we journey through Rick’s anecdotes and melodies, we’re reminded that, much like jazz itself, life can be unpredictable and full of surprises. However, it is our ability to improvise, connect, and resonate with others that truly defines our shared human experience.

So let us continue to appreciate the beautiful harmony of life, for in the end, it’s the notes we choose to play and the connections we choose to make that compose the most moving melodies.

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