Sep 27, 2011
The first Northampton Jazz Festival will take place in Northampton, MA on Saturday October 1, 2011. The festival will present free live music from 11AM to 8 PM in the parking lot behind Thornes Market and in Thornes Basement in downtown Northampton. Participants will include promising young players from Pioneer Valley high schools and colleges combined with established local artists, as well as several prominent groups from New York City. “The Valley Cookers”, composed of internationally known musicians like Gary Smulyan and Charles Neville will make its debut at the Festival. Click here for a full schedule with times.
Attendees will not only be able to hear great music from the various participating groups and ensembles, but will also be given the opportunity to sample food, beer, and wine from some of the Pioneer Valley’s finest restaurants as well. Also there will be a "12 Mile Meal Celebrity Chef Throwdown" where area chefs battle each other using local ingredients to produce gourmet selections guaranteed to astonish festival attendees.
I spoke with John Michaels, the President of the Jazz Festival, and you can hear our conversation by clicking here. Among the acts who will be on two stages at the Festival featured in the Podcast are:
Marcus Strickland – “Cuspy’s Delight” from Triumph of the Heavy. His quartet’s white-hot show at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT is Disc 2 of this release, and this is the song that ends the set. Strickland is on saxophone, David Bryant on piano, Ben Williams on bass, and E.J. Strickland on drums.
Jonathan Kreisberg – “Nice Work If You Can Get It” from Shadowless. The guitarist led a quintet into recording studios in Brooklyn last spring to recor this Gershwin staple. The band is Jonathan Kreisberg – Guitar; Will Vinson – Saxophone (a headliner in his own right); Henry Hey – Piano; Matt Penman – Bass; and Mark Ferber – Drums.
Gene Bertoncini and Roni Ben-Hur – “Besame Mucho” from Jazz Therapy, Volume 1. What began as a project for Ben-Hur and the late bassist Earl May became guitar duets of the highest order. Check out their interplay on this tune, written by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velázquez in 1940, and now a jazz and pop standard. Bertoncini will play duets with Rick Balestra.
Geoff Vidal – “Darjeeling” from She Likes That. Reviews of Vidal’s first CD, released last year, compared the young sax player with Sonny Rollins, Chris Potter and Joe Henderson. This original tune has Vidal on tenor sax; Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet; Joe Hundertmark on guitar; Michael O'Brien on bass; and Western Massachusetts’ own Makaya McCraven on drums.
John Michaels – “Big Vic” from Spoke. Not content to just be President, he’ll play as part of the Interplay Jazz Band to kick off the day, featuring Michaels on guitar This track from his debut CD has been performed live by Charles Neville, and the recording has Michaels, Mark Dunlop (bass), Geoff Vidal (sax) and Makaya McCraven (drums).
FlavaEvolution – “Dat Dere” from an unreleased demo. The innovative drummerless quartet plays their version of the Bobby Timmons classic, arranged by bassist David Picchi. On this track, the band is Frank Newton on alto sax, Mat Schumer on tenor sax; Paul Olesuk on trombone; and Picchi on double bass.