Hartford Public Library has announced the 15 jazz acts playing in its free, Sunday-afternoon 2019 Baby Grand Jazz Series, which opens Jan. 6 with a special Three Kings Day concert featuring the Ray Gonzalez Quintet and ends April 28 with renowned vocalese improviser Giacomo Gates.
Acts that have not played the series before include the Simona Premazzi Quartet Dream Team on Jan. 13, the Sarah Hanahan Quintet on Feb. 10, and Firey String Sistas! (an ensemble of violin, cello, bass, piano and vocals) on April 7.
All but the opening and closing concerts in the series will take place in the Center for Contemporary Culture on the main floor of the Hartford Public Library. The Ray Gonzalez and Giacomo Gates shows happen in the library’s atrium.
This is the 16th season of the popular series, which draws largely from the Connecticut and New York City jazz scenes. The artists are chosen by a committee of local jazz fans and experts, plus library staff.
Each Sunday-afternoon concert runs from 3 to 4 p.m. and is free of charge, thanks to the sponsorship of the Kaman Foundation. Some of the concerts are simulcast live on the library’s Facebook page.
Andy Hart, the library’s director of communications, says the library is particularly excited about the opening Jan. 6 event.
“It just happened that the first concert fell on Three Kings Day, so Ray Gonzalez wanted to make it special for the Hispanic community.”
The library has posted descriptions of all the events, including the full line-ups of all the acts, at hplct.org.
Jan. 6: Trumpeter Ray Gonzalez and his quintet, with a special Three Kings Day concert.
Jan. 13: Italian-born New York-based pianist Simona Premazzi and her "DreamTeam" quartet.
Jan. 20: Pianist Emery Austin Smith and vocalist/musician Orice Jenkins.
Jan. 27: Saxophonist Darryl Yokley’s band Sound Reformation.
Feb. 3: Saxophonist Sam Newsome and his quartet.
Feb. 10: Saxophonist Sarah Hanahan and her quintet.
Feb. 17: A Presidents' Day concert featuring trumpeter Nick Di Maria and his quintet.
Feb. 24: Another trumpet-fronted act, the Leala Cyr Group.
March 3: Pianist Brian Charette.
March 10: Saxophonist Carl Bartlett Jr. and his quartet.
March 17: Orice Jenkins, in a tribute to Nat “King” Cole marking the 100th anniversary of the crooner’s birth.
March 24: Pianist Mary DiPaola and her trio.
March 31: The King Porter Bam Band, led by bassist Stephen Porter.
April 7: The string/vocal ensemble Firey String Sistas!
April 14: Bassist Matt Dwonszyk and the Dwonztet.
April 28: Vocalese master Giacomo Gates.