Jazz in the Valley Returns to Poughkeepsie for its 17th Annual Celebration of America’s Music on Sunday, August 20, by the Walkway Over the Hudson in an Afternoon Full of Stars including Delfeayo Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, Javon Jackson, Elio Villafranca, Christopher Dean Sullivan, Mala Waldron, Steve Nelson, Neil Clarke, and Jimmy Cobb
MUSICIAN BIOS: http://www.jazzinthevalleyny.org/2017-artist-bios
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Jazz leaders including trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, saxophonist Javon Jackson, bassist Christopher Dean Sullivan, pianist Elio Villafranca, pianist/vocalist Mala Waldron, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel, and percussion master Neil Clarke will headline the seventeenth annual Jazz in the Valley festival on Sunday, August 20, noon-6:00pm, at Waryas Park alongside the majestic Walkway over the Hudson on the river’s banks in Poughkeepsie (gates open at 11:00am).
As always the festival’s performances will span musical approaches from straight-ahead jazz to more contemporary and international interpretations, this year echoing from New Orleans to Havana. Under the mainstage tent, Delfeayo Marsalis from today’s first family of jazz (he’s a younger brother of acclaimed Wynton, Branford) will join forces with Chestnut, Jackson, and iconic drummer Jimmy Cobb in the group “Swing Unlimited.” Sullivan’s quartet will tap the soulful Waldron and the modernist Nelson. Cuban-born Villafranca brings Latin and Ellington influences to his “Jass Syncopators” ensemble, and rhythm abounds in Siegel’s drummer-led sextet that includes pianist Francesa Tanksley. Neil Clarke’s Mongo Santamaria Centennial Project will celebrate the band’s namesake artist, the legendary Latin percussionist, with longtime Santamaria trumpet player Eddie Allen.
Three Hudson Valley-based groups will be heard on the festival’s free second stage at nearby Upper Landing Park: The New Groove, Poughkeepsie Funk, and The Dutchess Community College Alumni Jazz Combo.
Jazz in the Valley is a daylong celebration held at two stages on a nine-acre green oasis in downtown Poughkeepsie. The main stage under the big tent at Waryas Park features the festival’s headline acts. The festival’s second stage for free performances by regional musicians has moved to Upper Landing Park directly adjacent to the Walkway over the Hudson. A food court and global marketplace at Waryas add more flavors to the day.
In past years Jazz in the Valley has presented a galaxy of star musicians, including several Grammy winners and National Endowment for the Arts “Jazz Master” honorees: Randy Weston, Ahmad Jamal, Ron Carter, Roy Hargrove, Hugh Masakela, Kevin Mahogany, Bill Charlap, Cedar Walton, Curtis Fuller, Mulgrew Miller, Jimmy and Percy Heath, Eddie Palmieri, Arturo O’Farrill, Steve Turre, Michelle Rosewoman, Roy Ayers, Houston Person, Ray Mantilla, Lou Donaldson, and “Chocolate” Amenteros.
Jazz in the Valley is presented by the Hudson Valley based non-profit organization TRANSART & Cultural Services.
(music begins at noon, ticket required)
Promotional partners for Jazz in the Valley are Metro North, Dutchess Tourism, and the Poughkeepsie Journal. This program’s funding also comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Arts Mid Hudson. Additional program support is provided by Central Hudson, Westchester Medical Center Network, Poughkeepsie Italian Center, Exempt Fireman’s Association, and the City of Poughkeepsie.
TRANSART & Cultural Services, Inc. is a West Park, NY non-profit arts organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the art, history and popular culture of people of African descent. TRANSART has a long history of reaching out to students in public education to communicate with kids about how cool the arts can be, whether it’s fine art, visual art, performance art or music of all kinds. “We go into the schools all over the Hudson Valley to educate underserved kids through a series of programs and classes including Behind the Beat: Intro to Jazz,” says founder and president Greer Smith. During Behind the Beat sessions, professional musicians interact with local band students. Other opportunities for students include weekly drumming workshops, musical assemblies and master classes.
Beyond school programs, each August TRANSART becomes a concert promoter with Jazz in the Valley to show the public, in many cases local students, what professional musicians are like in action. “With Jazz in the Valley the audience gets to experience the thrill of live music with masters of the genre,” says Smith. TRANSART hopes to create a new generation of jazz lovers and listeners through educating students about the history of jazz and its cultural relevance in minority communities. Kids need to see they are part of something bigger, part of a history, an artistic movement that’s alive,” says Smith.