[JPL] Two Jazz Fests Have New Homes

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Thu Jan 29 14:21:14 EST 2009

Two Jazz Fests Have New Homes



Two Jazz Fests Have New Homes

Owen McNally

Riffs: Jazz Notes

January 29, 2009

Without losing a beat in quality, two of Connecticut's premier jazz
festivals are relocating to new venues this summer for their popular weekend

The Litchfield Jazz Festival is moving from its longtime home on the Goshen
Fairgrounds to the campus of Kent School, the prestigious boarding school
one minute from the center of Kent. The festival is also relocating its
noted Litchfield Jazz Camp to the campus.

The Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Festival is also moving, relocating
from Sunrise Resort in Moodus to Mountain Ridge Resort, High Hill Road,
Wallingford. The state of Connecticut recently purchased the 140-acre
Sunrise Resort site for $3.2 million to add it to the state park and forest

LJF's Big Move

Litchfield Jazz Festival's jazz camp had recently embarked on a long-term
association for 2009 and beyond with Kent School, Vita Muir, the jazz
festival's executive director, says, explaining the move.

With the jazz camp on the campus, an invitation and warm welcome from the
Kent community quickly followed, Muir says.

"It was clear," she adds, "this would be the year that Litchfield Jazz came
to Kent ‹ lock, stock, and barrel. Kent School's gorgeous campus on the
banks of the Housatonic provides the perfect backdrop for the festival as
well as the camp."

Kent, Muir says, has an array of art galleries, cafes and restaurants,
shops, inns and other amenities for concert-goers. LJF runs Friday, July 31,
through Sunday, Aug. 2, kicking off the weekend Friday night with the
Friends of the Festival Gala at the Morrison Gallery in Kent. The party
offers hors d'oeuvres, micro-brews, premium wines and music by outstanding
students from the jazz camp. The party is followed by opening night
performances at Kent School.

The festival continues with daylong music Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at
11 a.m. Music runs from noon to 10 p.m.

Premium tickets are $350, which includes the gala and Best Friends VIP
weekend passes; $150 for the opening gala and performance. Premium tickets
include upfront seating and VIP parking. Multi-day discounted jazz passes
are available for a limited time in advance of the festival.
Advance-purchase general admission tickets: $35 for lawn; $55 for tent.

Its 2009 lineup will be announced in February.

Tickets and information: phone, 860-567-4162; fax, 860-567-3592 and website,

The Litchfield Jazz camp, led by Don Braden, a celebrated saxophonist, runs
four one-week sessions from July 5 through July 31.

Trad Fest's New Home

The Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Festival, which basks in trad jazz as
devoutly as Litchfield serves its broad-sweeping communion of modernism,
also runs from Friday, July 31, to Sunday, Aug.2, in its new home at
Mountain Ridge, just off I-91, Exit 15 on the town lines of Wallingford,
Meriden and Middlefield.

On its newly refurbished website, the Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz
Festival boasts that Mountain Ridge "offers one of the most scenic mountain
views in central Connecticut," along with, for festival patrons' use, a
larger-than-Olympic size swimming pool, tennis courts and a variety of
activities for children. Since its inception more than two decades ago, the
festival has prided itself on being "children-friendly."

The new facility, which opened in 2007, is described as "the perfect place
for our festival. We don't have to worry about weather; the indoor venues
can be closed or opened up to the decks and outdoor seating. There will also
be one large tent venue."

To help inaugurate its new home grounds, the festival presents Louis Ford
and His New Orleans Jazz Flairs, making its festival debut.

Ford, a clarinetist and saxophonist, is descended from a long line of New
Orleans musicians, including his father, Clarence Ford, a reed player who
performed with such Crescent City royalty as Fats Domino.

A New Orleans native, Louis Ford has performed with such luminaries as Alvin
Batiste, Ruth Brown and Harry Connick Jr., and played at the New Orleans
Jazz & Heritage Festival and French Quarter Festival.

Among acts back for encores are Connecticut's piano wizard Jeff Barnhart and
his All-Stars, the Galvanized Jazz Band and drummer Bill Logozzo with The
Heartbeat Jazz Band. Among out-of-state attractions are Cornet Chop Suey, a
band from St. Louis, and the perennial favorite, Igor's Jazz Cowboys, a jazz
posse from Arizona. Tickets and information: 800-468-3836,
kcjazz2001 at yahoo.com and www.greatctjazz.org.

Rivera Rocks Studio

Saxophonist/composer Albert Rivera, from the Bronx, leads a quintet
featuring Hartford's formidable Curtis brothers in concert Friday at 8 p.m.
at The Studio @ Billings Forge, 563-565 Broad St., Hartford.

Along with the Curtis brothers, Zaccai on piano and Luques on bass, the
quintet features trumpeter Jean Caze and drummer John Iannuzzi.

Marking its debut season, The Studio is the city's newest performance and
exhibition space.

An alliance packed with youthful power and mature versatility, Rivera and
his sidekicks are well known in the Hartford area. They've performed at such
venues as La Paloma Sabanera during its all too brief Golden Age as a
nourishing hothouse for burgeoning, young jazz talent under the aegis of its
then co-owner Luis E. Cotto.

Look for Cotto, a Hartford city councilman with a passion for jazz, the arts
and community outreach, to bring more top-line, young, rising talent to The
Studio for evening performances. Admission: $10, general; $7, students.

Named Top Drummer

Jimmy Macbride, of West Hartford, a senior at Hall High School and the
Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, has been chosen to be the drummer for
the Jazz Band of America, a prestigious ensemble whose members are chosen
from top high school jazz musicians around the nation.

With Macbride on drums, the national all-star band performs in March at the
Music For All Festival in Indianapolis. Also, the young drummer/composer has
received honorable mention from the National Foundation for Advancement in
the Arts as well as an honorable mention in the Stamford Symphony
Instrumental Scholarship Competition.

Other Notes

In what promises to be one of the brightest winter highlights of the free
"Baby Grand Jazz" series, pianist Warren Byrd performs Sunday from 3 to 4
p.m. in the atrium at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St. Information:
www.hplct.org and 860-695-6295.

Singer Terri Nicholas and her combo entertain tonight at 7:30 at Szechuan
Tokyo, 1245 New Britain Ave. Saxophonist Kris Jensen, a master chef of
cordon bleu jazz, cooks up top-grade, steamy servings as he leads his combo
Friday at 8 p.m. at the restaurant in the Elmwood section of West Hartford.
Information: 860-561-0180.

€Send information to jazz at courant.com.
Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant
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