Camay Calloway Murphy to be honored April 21

The Baltimore Renaissance Jazz Festival group is planning to honor Camay Calloway Murphy, the eldest daughter of Baltimore’s Cab Calloway, swing era jazz singer, band-leader and dancer, for her contributions to jazz music in Baltimore. The Inaugural Camay Murphy Service Award Ceremony will be held at the Forum, 4210 Primrose Avenue, Baltimore, on April 21st, 1 to 4 pm, and lunch will be served. Jazz drummer and WEAA Radio DJ Robert Shahid will emcee, and other special guests will appear. Tickets are $65, and contributions are welcomed. This event is a fundraiser to kick off the The Baltimore Renaissance Jazz Festival planned for October 2024.

Ms. Murphy is a pillar in Baltimore, and the Service Award Ceremony will recognize her work with the Eubie Blake National Jazz and Cultural Center, the Baltimore Jazz Alliance, The Pierians Foundation and the magnitude of her contribution to up-and-coming jazz musicians in this area. Her vision and the group’s vision with this festival is to change the “Face of Baltimore” from a crime-ridden city to a place that has produced and still produces some of the most extraordinary musicians in the world.

Born in Harlem in 1927 and moving to Baltimore as an adult, Camay Calloway Murphy was an educator and one of the first Black teachers in White schools in Virginia. As an educator, Murphy emphasized music and multiculturalism. She continued her career in education until her retirement. She founded the Cab Calloway Jazz Institute and Museum at Coppin State University. She was also the chairman of Baltimore’s Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center and the commissioner of Baltimore City Public Schools’ Board of Education. Ms. Murphy was among the original board members of the Baltimore Jazz Alliance, starting in 2003 and serving until 2012. She named BJA’s first compilation CD, Baltimore Jazzscapes, and was involved in BJA’s launching its Jazz for Kids program.

Her elder son Christopher attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. As an undergraduate, he transcribed and published the first written transcriptions of guitarists Joe Pass, Johnny Smith, and Wes Montgomery. He later taught guitar, and in 1998, he formed The Cab Calloway Orchestra in honor of his grandfather. Ms. Murphy was featured in a Baltimore Sun article by Mike Klingaman, November 9th, 2021.

Tickets to the event may be purchased at, by CashApp to $CamayCM, or by Zelle to Mail checks by April 10th to Baltimore Renaissance Jazz, P.O. Box 576, Millersville, MD 21108. Tickets for lunch and program are $65; VIP Premium Seats with lunch and program are $100; seats at Sponsor Table are $1,250 (10 seats reserved); General Table Seats are $650. For more information, contact Leslie Imes, or Separate tax deductible donations may be made to Contemporary Arts, with the same mailing address as above.

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