Valley Jazz, Jazzmobile, Harlem Awakening, Johnny O’Neal
Ron Scott | 8/14/2014, 6:02 p.m.
The Jazz in the Valley Festival, which commences Aug. 17, has an outstanding lineup of musicians to get Big Apple jazzheads out of their city complacency and on the highway or train to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for the 14th annual festival in Waryas Park.
The music begins at noon on the main stage (ticketed seating) and the pavilion stage, which is free to the public and just outside the pavilion gates. The all-star lineup will include the Message, featuring saxophonists Javon Jackson, Bobby Watson and Gary Bartz, trombonist Steve Turre, pianist George Cables, trumpeter Eddie Henderson and bassist Buster Williams (all alumni of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers), plus drummer Lewis Nash.
Other featured artists include the Kenyatta Beasley Quintet (the trumpeter from New Orleans is an explosive keg of music); Melba Joyce, a world-renowned vocalist and one of Harlem’s singing queens; and the organist Mike Torsone, among others.
This year’s festival will have folks dancing on the lawn with “Salsa Meets Jazz,” featuring Zon Del Barrio, one of the few orchestras expressing the varied genres of Latino music from the African Diaspora and the urban streets of New York (they have a reputation for their rousing salsa music); Chocolate Armenteros, the Cuban trumpeter who brought his Afro-Cuban rhythms to the bands of Eddie and Charlie Palmieri and Machito; and on timbales and percussions, it’s Nicky Marrero, a former member of the Fania All-Stars and with Larry Harlow.
This year’s festival will focus on the message of jazz and its ability to inspire and bring people of all backgrounds together.
“Renowned drummer Art Blakey said, ‘We started the messengers because somebody had to mind the store for jazz. No America, no jazz. It is the only culture that America has brought forth,’’ said Greer Smith, founder of TRANSART & Cultural Services and producer of Jazz in the Valley. “Jazz in the Valley has been carrying the torch and minding the store for the past 14 years, and we look forward to continue sharing the message for many years to come.”
General admission is $45 and $55 at the gate. For the complete schedule, call 845-384-6350 or visit www.jazzinthevalleyny.org. The concert goes on rain or shine.
Jazzmobile continues its 50th anniversary and free Summerfest with the Arturo O’Farrill Quintet Aug. 18 at Brooklyn Bridge Park on the Harbor Lawn at Pier 1. Although O’Farrill isn’t with his orchestra, he may play a few tunes from his latest CD, “The Offense of the Drum” (Motema Music).
Aug. 19, Jazzmobile travels to Queens with drummer Winard Harper and his Jeli Posse in Cambria Heights in Cambell Park, located on Francis Lewis Boulevard at 121th Avenue, between 219th and 220th streets.
Aug. 20, the Jazzmobile can be found at its regular Wednesday location, Grant’s Tomb on Riverside Drive at 122nd Street. The featured guest will be composer, educator and saxophonist Jimmy Heath with special guest trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. Percussionist Ray Mantilla celebrates his 80th birthday at the Louis Armstrong House Museum “Jazzmobile Block Party in Corona Queens 34-56 107th Street.