from The Huffington Post:

Thirteen years ago, 68-year-old jazz guitarist Calvin Keys underwent a life-saving quadruple bypass surgery. Keys, a notable Bay Area musician who recorded and toured with Ray Charles in the ’70s, says he would not have been able to afford that surgery if he hadn’t been covered under his wife’s health insurance.

“I don’t know what would have happened if I wasn’t married,” said Keys, who never had health coverage until he married his wife of 35 years. “There are quite a few musicians out here who don’t have any health insurance. Most of us are from the ghetto, anyway. We don’t know nothing about health care, and that’s a big problem.”

Keys said that as soon as he recovered from his surgery, he was so grateful to the hospital and rehabilitation center that treated him that he decided to throw a benefit concert to show his appreciation and raise money for other musicians who couldn’t afford their health care.

“We raised about four or five thousand dollars, and donated it on the condition that 40 percent went to a musician that needed health care,” Keys said. “That was my way of giving something back to the community. We musicians need all the help we can get.”

Now Keys has joined forces with trumpeter Eddie Gale to throw the second annual San Francisco Jazz Fest, a health care fundraiser for musicians that will take place on Friday, April 23rd. Gale, who rose to fame in the 60’s and recorded on Blue Note Records, says he came up with the idea for the festival after losing a number of his musician friends to health issues that could have been treated or prevented.

Continue reading at The Huffington Post

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