Connecticut's jazz scene sizzles this summer with a variety of performers, including the supreme saxophone smoothie Marion Meadows, modern tenor saxophone master Sonny Rollins and the rough-riding trad group Igor's Jazz Cowboys.
Meadows, the Connecticut native with a knack for robust record sales, is one of many performers featured at the free Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, which runs from July 19 through 21 in Hartford's Bushnell Park.
The festival begins with an evening of all-Latin jazz featuring Sabor Brasil, Nestor Torres and Gato Barbieri. Other highlights are: July 20, Khani Cole, Special EFX with Chieli Minucci and David Mann, Marion Meadows and Bobby Caldwell and his 12-piece band, and July 21, Afro-Semitic Experience, Patricia Barber, Phil Woods Quintet and Joe Sample.
Making one of his too-rare Connecticut appearances, Rollins performs opening night at the Litchfield Jazz Festival, which runs from Aug. 2 through 4 at the Goshen Fairgrounds in Goshen.
Vocalist Diane Schuur opens for Rollins that night. Also featured: Aug. 3, John Benitez Quartet, Bill Charlap Trio, Antoine Silverman, Mary Stallings with Eric Reed, Toots Thielemans and the Mingus Big Band; Aug. 4, Eric Alexander Quartet, Tom Harrell Quintet, Danilo Perez Trio, Kenny Werner with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Kenny Rankin and Paquito D'Rivera.
Igor's Cowboys return once again to the Great Connecticut JazzFest, which runs from July 26 through 28 on the Guilford Fairgrounds in Guilford.
Besides Igor's posse of jazz cowboys from Tempe, Ariz., the festival lineup also features: Paris Washboard of Cergy, France; the Wolverines of Sydney, Australia; Fenix Jazz Band of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Titan Hot Seven of Largo, Fla.; Midiri Brothers of Mays Landing, N.J.; Stan Mark Sin Sity Suitz of Las Vegas, Nev.; and the Bill Allred Classic Jazz Band of Orlando, Fla. Among the Connecticut contingents are: the Connecticut Festival All-Stars, Eight to the Bar of Northford, the Bearcats Jazz Band of Danbury, the Galvanized Jazz Band of Guilford, the Easton Banjo Society of Easton and Ross Tucker's Hot Cats of Wethersfield.
Music Mountain, an idyllic music site in Falls Village, opens its summer series of eight Saturday-night concerts June 22 with the Galvanized Jazz Band. The schedule also includes: the Mark Templeton Trio, June 29; the jump band Jive by Five, July 13; Ali Ryerson and Joe Beck in their Duo called Alto, July 20; the Ted Rosenthal Trio, July 27; the Elite Syncopation Quintet, Aug. 10; the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, Aug. 17; and Cynthia Sayer's Hot Jazz Trio, Aug. 24.
The New Haven Jazz Festival has selected Aug. 10, 17 and 24 as dates for a free outdoor celebration on the New Haven Green but hasn't yet announced its lineup.
Closer to home, Paul Brown, the Big Daddy of the free outdoor jazz festival in Hartford, is still struggling to put together sufficient funding for his perpetually under-funded Monday Night Jazz Series, a nonprofit venture in Bushnell Park.
Brown believes he's raised enough funding to carry his festival, now marking its 35th season, through July.
Opening night is set for July 8, with Lisle Atkinson and the Neo-Bass Choir opening for an act to be announced. Also scheduled are: July 15, the Josh Evans Quintet, opening for the Jimmy Greene Quintet; July 22, the Kelly Sheppard Quintet, opening for the Wit Williams Big Band; and July 29, the Donna Carter Quintet, opening for the George Johnson Quintet.
If Brown can raise enough to run through August, he plans to feature Fred Smith and the Harlem Jazz Legends and the George Coleman Quintet, Aug. 5; the Jesse Harmeen Quintet and the Charlie Persip Big Band, Aug. 12; the Nat Reeves Quintet and the John Stubblefield Quintet, Aug. 19; and Kitti Kathryn and Company and the Buster Williams Quintet, Aug. 26.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun