Rush on Rush....An Interview with Naji "Rush" Rushdan
Rush Hour IV: "The Roof is on Fire" is upon us...
and the natural mystic is flowing towards the Rooftop 220 /.. sight of the fourth sequence of "Rush Hour" to be held Saturday, August 24. 2019 / 7pm-ST. Rush Hour is a refreshing pop-up utopia of a mature kind\ (i.e Grown Folk Only).. where one can experience a rare blend of live jazz coupled with essential grooves provided by top DJ's from around the country (DJ Oxygen with Bad Boy Entertainment will DJ this Rush Hour). Founded by Naji "Rush" Rushdan, Rush Hour gives credence and light to Rush's many years of travel to music festivals and concerts around the world...as well as hosting his own events. Rush's ultimate desire is to create environments that are festive, relaxing, and enjoyable by providing friendly service, scrumptious food, thirst quenching cocktails, and the best dance music in town.
We recently caught up with Rush after his journey to The North Sea Jazz Festival (Rotterdam, Netherlands) this past July, to gain further insight into his recent travels to discover new music, as well as to speak with him about this upcoming Rush Hour, and Land On Your Feet Inc. (LOYF) / A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded by Rush, which focuses on giving back to elementary school teachers/classrooms geared toward STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs which in turn will contribute to the health and welfare of students in various counties throughout the USA.
P: How was this years North Sea Jazz Festival experience different from the rest?
R: First and foremost it was pure goodness! As in my previous 22 years, this year’s festival was a music bonanza! Guaranteed to satisfy the appetites of music enthusiasts and aficionados; all genres of art and jazz was on full display throughout the three-day spectacle. I’ve attended the North Sea Jazz Festival for 23 consecutive years; every festival was special and uniquely different than the previous year and this year did not disappoint.
I’m convinced there’s no place that could host the Jazz Festival like the Dutch; they are welcoming, polite, and speak English. I base this on seeing thousands of visitors who travel from across the globe to make their annual trek to Rotterdam, the Netherlands for the festival; it’s a culmination of 40+ years experience in music, sight, sound, food, and drink.
There are over 100+ acts in 14 different venues over three-days. So sometime one must make hard decisions when deciding which artists you want to see.
I always leave saying WOW what an awesome event!
P: What artists are you currently vibing too?
R: Depending on my mood. I go from smooth jazz, straight up, Latin Jazz, Afrocentric Jazz Rhythms, and vocalists that sing standards. I like the versatility of RJ and the Assignments, Jimmy Dludlu, Jonathan Butler, Marcus Anderson, Marcus Johnson, Najee, Pieces of a Dream, Gregory Porter, Kem, Raul Midon, Ledisi, Nancy Wilson, and Maysa....just to name a few.
P: After establishing /hosting Rush Hour overseas for many years, why Tampa now?
R: When I was working and living in Germany, l would host at least one big party annually just for fun! The parties were really for me and I just invited people who would enjoy the vibe. I’ve hosted private parties in three different countries; Darmstadt, Germany, Carvoriero, Portugal, and The Hague, the Netherlands.
In November 2017, I retired from the Department of Army after 40 years of service and relocated to Tampa. After settling in and getting use to retirement, I visited different cities within a 150 mile radius looking for the kind of parties I use to host in Europe. What I found was there was a gap in the entertainment I’ve grown accustomed to; so I created Rush Hour.
Why Tampa? Everywhere I go there I am. In other words, I take me everywhere I go. So I decided to bring the Rush Hour to T-town! For me, Tampa is the right place for Rush Hour; it’s a small town with a big feel. I like the ease of moving in and around the city, the infrastructure, the people, and its multi-cultural events.
P: You created and established Land On Your Feet Inc. (LOYF) as a way to give back after many years of service in the military...how important is it for you to make manifest the organizations' mission?
R: LOYF is my passion! Its been said “You make a living by what you earn and a life by what you give.” I decided to give back to society by sharing my experiences in hopes it could help someone else. More art then science, my mission is to train, coach, and mentor the underprivileged youths in order to help them see the possibilities to meet and exceed their own expectations (underscore). I do this through a series of discussions; teaching v. preaching.
Join Rush on Saturday, August 24. 2019 / 7pm-ST at the Rush Hour IV: The Roof Is On Fire. Rooftop 220 //.. Armature Works. 220 W. 7th Ave. Tampa. FL. 33602. Also learn more Land On Your Feet Inc. and its' mission @ landonyourfeet.de