It’s back. For more than forty years, jazzophiles and assorted others have had the good fortune to be able to listen to fabulous jazz in Hartford’s beautiful Bushnell Park every summer. Jazz great Paul Brown put the series together as a labor of love most of these years. Now the Hartford Jazz Society has taken the reins and continues the tradition.
WWUH and this longest running free jazz series in America started right about the same time, and most of these concerts have been carried live on WWUH-FM. Once again, we are pleased to bring listeners live broadcasts of the Hartford Jazz Society’s Monday Night jazz series for four weeks, starting July 6. This year’s musical line up has been coordinated by our own Maurice Robertson and includes a fabulous array of stars. For jazz lovers and summer-evening lovers, this is a series not to miss.
Concerts (and the broadcasts) begin at 6pm and each night will feature two groups. Generally a local group kicks off the evening at 6pm followed by a national/international group at approximately 7:30pm.
The concert line up:
July 6: George Blackman quartet, followed by the Afro-Semitic Experience. The Afro-Semitic Experience, featuring David Chevan and Warren Byrd, has been playing and recording highly acclaimed music that looks to the roots of African and Jewish music for its rich jazz sound. Of their most recent CD, the legendary jazz critic, Nat Hentoff wrote ". . . never before have I heard this lyrically powerful a fusion of Jewish and jazz souls on fire. . . "
July 13 Dezron Douglas/Lummie Spann Quintet, followed by vocalist Taeko Fukao and her trio. Douglas and Spann, though Hartford based, have been burning up the jazz scene internationally, using well the lessons of their Hartt School mentors Jackie McLean and Nat Reeves. Japanese-born Taeko Fukao is a young but international star, bringing her vocals to such venues as New York’s Blue Note and winning the Satin Doll Jazz Club Competition in Kobe, Japan.
July 20 Ed Fast & Conga Bop, followed by Michele Rosewoman and Quintessence and guests. Ed Fast and Conga Bop are a hot Latin jazz octet, just perfect for a warm summer evening, reminiscent of the sounds of Tito Puente and Hilton Ruiz. They will be followed by Michele Rosewoman and Quintessence Plus Guests, presenting new works commissioned by Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Foundation. This group has been recording, performing, and winning lots of acclaim and awards for more than twenty years. National Public Radio called pianist/bandleader Rosewoman “An indomitable modern jazz pianist, her singular sound ideas expand readily to her dark, fiery ensembles. . . Rosewoman and her band are jazz believers, jazz devotees, keepers of the flame.”
July 27 People of Goodwill, followed by the Jimmy Greene/Wayne Escoffery ensemble. The People of Goodwill are no strangers to opening for top performers, having opened for Ray Charles, among others. Their music borrows from R&B, Afro/Cuban, Latin, Reggae and jazz, to bring together a beautiful mix of music reflecting the many branches of the African Diaspora. Just days before playing at the Litchfield Jazz Festival and the Israel Red Sea Jazz Festival, tenor saxophonists Jimmy Greene and Wayne Escoffery will light up Bushnell Park and the WWUH airwaves. The New York Times calls Escoffery “a young, self-assured, hard-swinging tenor saxophonist. Greene, whose Hartford-area roots run deep, has played many of the top jazz venues around the world, has taught at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School, and was identified as one of the 25 Young Rising Stars in Jazz by Down Beat magazine.
The series will continue in the park the following week, though we will not be broadcasting this concert:
Aug 3 Steve Lord Big Band, followed by Luis Bonilla and Trombonilla
Please tune in to 91.3 for this special series of live jazz broadcasts from Hartford. Thanks to the listeners and hosts of the regular Monday night WWUH lineup for their flexibility as we briefly modify the schedule to bring you live jazz.
Program Guide, 2009