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The University of Hartford

By Chuck Obuchowski

     As noteworthy as the Bushnell Park Monday Night Jazz Series is, it’s only one of many options people in the WWUH listening area have to hear live jazz during the summer months.
            And despite the dismal state of the economy, there’s still an embarrassment of jazz riches to be sampled throughout the region during the next few months. Only the Norwalk Jazz Festival has opted to cancel its 2009 event, although it promises to be back “bigger, better” next year.
            Our jazz announcers are pleased to share information about these events on the air, and – of course – to play music by many of the performers who’ll be gracing area stages this summer. We also encourage you to check out the WWUH Jazzline for weekly updates about these and other events: 860-768-5267.
            WWUH will be offering ticket giveaways during July and August to a number of upcoming jazz concerts and festivals. Stay tuned to our jazz programs (Mon – Fri, 9 am – noon, Tues – Fri, 9 pm – midnight) for your opportunity to win tickets.
            Here’s a look at jazz festivals taking place nearby this summer. I have not attempted to list all the performers; you can visit each event’s web site for complete details about artists, costs and directions. Festivals are listed chronologically.

Saturday Evening Twilight Jazz Series at Music Mountain – Norfolk, CT. June 27 – August 30. Highlights include a performance by the New Black Eagle Jazz Band on July 11.  musicmountain.org

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz – Bushnell Park, Hartford. July 17 – 19. The eighteenth annual GHFJ is free of charge, and will include performances by Charlie Sepulveda & Turnaround, the Rippingtons and Bobby Lyle, among others.  hartfordjazz.com

Litchfield Jazz Festival – Kent School, Kent, CT. July 31 – August 2. This year’s festival takes place at a new location and features Jane Monheit, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Houston Person, Poncho Sanchez, plus many others.  litchfieldjazzfest.com

The Great CT Traditional Jazz Festival – Mountain Ridge Resort, Wallingford. July 31 – August 2. Also at a new location, the 23rd annual Trad Fest features old favorites like Igor’s Jazz Cowboys and newcomers such as Louis Ford & His New Orleans Flairs.  greatctjazz.org

Caramoor Jazz Festival – Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, Katonah, NY. August 1 and 2. Musicians include Randy Weston, Luciana Souza, Junior Mance and Dianne Reeves, plus a 50th anniversary tribute to John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” by Cedar Walton’s group.  caramoor.org

George Wein’s Jazz Festival 55 (formerly known as the Newport Jazz Festival) – Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI. August 7 – 9. Newport Festival founder Wein came to the rescue after the company that ran this event for the past couple years ended up in financial trouble. Among this year’s highlights: Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano’s UsFive, Etta James, Roy Haynes, the Bad Plus and Tony Bennett.  jazzfestival55.com

New Haven Jazz Festival – New Haven Green. This one-day free festival takes place Saturday, August 22 from 2 – 9 pm. Shawnn Montiero, the Bobby Sonabria Quartet & Candido and Hamiett Bluiett are among the scheduled performers.  jazzhaven.org

Tanglewood Jazz Festival – Tanglewood, Lenox, MA. September 4 – 6 (Labor Day weekend). Headliners include the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Regina Carter’s quartet, Paquito D’Rivera and the Dave Holland Octet.  tanglewoodjazzfestival.org



Copyright©WWUH: July/August Program Guide, 2009

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