Jul 16, 2009
One New England's largest free jazz festival takes place this weekend in Hartford, Connecticut as the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz brings over twenty-five hours of music performed by internationally acclaimed artists. Wonderful world-class musicians will grace the mainstage of the Thomas Harris IV Pavillon in Bushnell Park during the 2009 Festival. Local and regional artists will dazzle with their talents on the Arch Stage located in the market place adjacent to Trinity Street.
The festival's main stage entertainmentis thematically divided between Latin Jazz on Friday night, Smooth Jazz on Saturday, and Straight Ahead Jazz on Sunday. This year's headliners, and some of their representative music, is featured in Podcast 153, and includes:
Charlie Sepulveda - "Mastery of All Situations" from Algo Nuestro (Our Thing). A hot time is guaranteed in the park Friday night! One of the best and most sought after Latin Jazz sideman in the business, Sepulveda can crank it up as a bandleader as well. Here her teams with tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, in a sextet that includes pianist Edward Simon, bassist Andy Gonzalez, drummer Adam Cruz, and Richie Flores on congas and bongos.
Bob Baldwin - "Seems Like One of Those Daze" from New Urban Jazz.com. Quietly Baldwin has emeregd as one of my favorite smooth jazz artists. This 2008 release shows the many facets of his talents, ranging from funk to gospel to R&B. Organ player Ike Stubblefield is a key member of the band, with vocals by Tyrone Iris.
The Rippingtons - "Take Me With You" from Curves Ahead. The 1991 edition of the smooth jazz pioneers was led by Russ Freeman, their founder, writing all this song and playing guitar and synthesizer. He had two powerhouse companions at that time, Steve Reid on percussion and Jeff Kashiwa on saxophone. Both have gone on to successful solo careers, but the group that will take the stage Saturday night should not disappoint, including Bill Heller on keyboards and synthesizers, Dave Karasony on drums, newcomer Rico Belled on bass, Kashiwa and Freeman.
Azar Lawrence - "My Favorite Things" from Legacy and Music of John Coltrane. A powerful and underrated saxophone player who has worked with Miles Davis and Earth Wind & Fire, and led his own group through a variety of sounds and phases. His band will be performing a tribute to John Coltrane, so this track seems a perfect appetizer for his main course on Sunday.
Bobby Lyle - "Groove (Ain't No Doubt About It)" from New Warrior. The festival ends on a funky, if somewhat commercial, note with Bobby Lyle taking the stage. Artists as varied as Sly & the Family Stone, Gerald Albright, George Benson, and Bette Midler have called for his services, so expect a solid set.