Here’s the Albany Jazz Festival’s Schedule of Bands

Ellis Marsalis
Ellis Marsalis headlines the City of Albany Jazz Festival

Photograph by Rudy Lu

The line-up of bands for the City of Albany Jazz Festival has been announced, and as usual, it’s a mix of national and Local 518 jazz artists will fill the bill.

The free, one-day fest has formerly been known as the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival, but the name has been changed this year, and for good reason. Due to ongoing construction at the Corning Preserve, where the fest has been held for the past 14 years, this year’s fest will be re-located to the Parade Grounds at Washington Park (where the Tulip Fest Main Stage is located).

Featuring five acts, the 15th annual fest takes place from 1-8:30pm on Saturday, September 10.

UPDATE, 9/9: Due to the forecast of inclement weather, the festival has been moved to the dreaded rain site – the Corning Preserve Boat Launch parking lot at Water & Colonie streets.

Here’s the musical line-up for the 2016 City of Jazz Festival:

The Grammy Award-winning New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton is stepping as a replacement for Ellis Marsalis, who has cancelled his appearance due to health issues.

Regarded by many as the premier modern jazz pianist in New Orleans, Ellis Marsalis is a legendary performer, a peerless educator, and the patriarch of one of the most famous musical families in the world – including sons Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason. In 2011, Marsalis and his family were awarded the highest honor in Jazz, NEA Jazz Masters, the first group award ever distributed by the National Endowment for the Arts. He continues to be active as a performing pianist leading, and occasionally touring, his own groups. He has several recordings on the CBS-SONY label and currently releases recordings on his own recording label, ELM RECORDS, developed with his wife Dolores and son Jason.

Redefining what it means to be a brass band, Lucky Chops stormed onto the scene in 2015 with the help of millions of YouTube viewers around the globe. This group of six talented individuals has created a unique sound that captures the energy of a rock band and the dance-ability of an EDM DJ. Since first performing in the NYC subways, the group embarked on a European tour and landed the gig as the house band for a season on MTV’s hit talk show “Girl Code Live.”

KJ Denhert’s special blend of urban folk & jazz has earned her four Independent Music Award nominations, and in ’09, she was named as one of’s top female vocalists. She describes herself as an “urban folk and jazz” artist, but KJ decided to step outside of that box a bit for his latest recording, Album No. 9, opting to perform for the first time without her guitar on “Alfie,” recording her first song in French (“Chanson Baz Bar”) and her first reggae song (“Choose Your Weapon”) and to cover the Beatles’ classic “Help!”

Jazz Caravan is a guitar-based Greater Nippertown trio offering a cerebral blend of thoughtful covers and original music rooted in west-coast modern and Latin jazz styles. Roger Noyes (guitar), Tony Berman (bass) and Jim Ketterer (drums) have been performing together in different groups over the past 10 years, joining forces to form Jazz Caravan in 2014. The band premiered a suite of original compositions based on Ralph Ellison’s landmark novel “Invisible Man” at the Albany Public Library, and the performance was featured on reviewer Rudy Lu’s Top 10 concerts of 2015, where Lu wrote that the “music brought Ellison’s evocative prose to life.” Their debut album is slated for release this fall.

Led by drummer, percussionist, keyboardist, composer, producer, arranger and educator Cliff Brucker, a well-respected Greater Nippertown musician with more than 40 years of professional performance under his belt, Full Circle brings together world-class musicians – saxman Leo Russo, pianist Larry Ham, trumpeter Dylan Canterbury, guitarist Mike Novakowski and bassist Otto Gardner – to interpret both classic jazz standards and original compositions on their debut album, released earlier this year.

FALCON RIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL @ Dodds Farm, Hillsdale, August 5-7
S.A.V.E. THE LAKE FESTIVAL @ Shepard Park, Lake George, August 5-7
BALLSTON SPA SHORT FILM FESTIVAL @ Ballston Spa High School & Old Iron Spring Park, Ballston Spa, August 5 & 6, FREE
CATSKILLS BACK FORTY REVIVAL @ Catskill Brewery, Livingston Manor, August 6
BLACK ARTS & CULTURAL FESTIVAL @ Empire State Plaza, Albany, August 6, FREE
SPEED OF SOUND FESTIVAL @ Dutchess County Airport, Wappingers Falls, August 7
NEW YORK STATE FOOD FESTIVAL @ Empire State Plaza, Albany, August 10, FREE
FRESHGRASS @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, September 16-18
JAZZ AT THE LAKE @ Shepard Park, Lake George, September 17 & 18, FREE
AMERICAN MUSIC FESTIVAL FOR THE LAKE @ Charles Wood Park, Lake George, September 24 & 25

1 Comment
  1. Leo Purvis says

    Looking forward to this festival..but I do miss the Corning Preserve….and will not go if @ the “dreaded rain site” under the bridge.

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