Festival Fever: Jazz at the Lake @ Shepard Park, 9/17-18/11

Is there such a thing as too much jazz? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Nippertown’s month-long embarrassment of jazz riches continues on Saturday and Sunday with the annual Jazz at the Lake: Lake George Jazz Weekend at Shepard Park in Lake George. And admission is FREE.

With the lake sparkling in the background behind the stage, Shepard Park is an ideal setting for a weekend’s worth of magnificent – and equally sparkling – jazz sounds, sponsored by the Lake George Arts Project.

Here’s the line-up of performers slated for the 2011 fest:

THE OSMANY PAREDES QUARTET: The Cuban-born bandleader is a pianist, composer and arranger whose style blends jazz with his Afro-Cuban rhythmic heritage. As The Boston Globe says, “Steeped in the European classical tradition, enamored of jazz and fully conversant with Cuban popular music dating back to the 1920s, Paredes is a thrilling player who combines percussive attack with a vivid harmonic imagination.”
JOHN ELLIS & DOUBLE-WIDE: The Brooklyn-based saxophonist will be backed by the New Orleans sounds of Double-Wide. As All About Jazz declares, “His style is part classic soul and funk, part modern jam band groove and part freewheeling improvisation.”
THE GRACE KELLY QUINTET: Although she’s only 19 years old, alto saxophonist Kelly has already snagged top honors from DownBeat Critics’ Poll and the Boston Music Awards.

THE DON BYRON NEW GOSPEL QUINTET: DownBeat’s Jazz Artist of the Year in 1992, the clarinetist, saxophonist, composer and arranger redefines each of wide-ranging genres of music he plays, be it classical, salsa, hip-hop, funk, r&b, klezmer or any jazz style from swing to cutting-edge downtown improvisation.

THE CHARLES CORNELL QUARTET: Still a student at Purchase College Conservatory, the young pianist (and student of Lee Shaw) has already made quite a name for himself. He’ll be joined by bassist Mike Craner, drummer Matt Niedbalski and tenor saxophonist Steve Kirsty.
APEX featuring RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA & BUNKY GREEN: Guggenheim fellow and 2009 DownBeat Critics’ Poll winner Mahanthappa is one of the most innovative young musicians and composers in jazz today, fusing together the culture of his Indian ancestry with myriad jazz influences. He’ll appear with Apex, a quintet that highlights alto-sax master Bunky Green.
THE KYLE EASTWOOD BAND: The eldest son of actor-director-jazz enthusiast Clint Eastwood, the bassist-composer released his debut album “From Here to There” in 1998. He’s released four more albums as a bandleader since then, including the brand new “Songs From the Chateau,” in addition to composing for the soundtracks of such films as “Mystic River,” “Million Dollar Baby” and “Invictus.”


The Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival @ Saratoga County Fairgrounds, Ballston Spa, September 16-17
LarkFest @ Lark Street, Albany, September 17, FREE
PearlPalooza @ North Pearl Street, Albany, September 24, FREE
FreshGrass: A Festival of Art & Bluegrass @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, September 24-25
Hippiefest @ the Palace Theatre, Albany, October 13

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