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New jazz festival to debut in Falls


Fri, Jul 1st 2022 12:35 pm

2022 Niagara Falls Jazz Fest presented by Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective & Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative

The Niagara Falls National Heritage Area and the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective are announcing the first Niagara Falls Jazz Fest will take place from 5-8 p.m. Sunday, July 17, at Beloved Community Center (lawn), 1710 Calumet Ave., Niagara Falls.

Organizer said, “This event is a free community concert that highlights ‘Women in Jazz,’ and reflects on the influential history of jazz and music in Niagara Falls.”

Attendees can enjoy rhythmic performances by Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame Inductee Marsha McWilson, and Curtis Lundy and Umoja, featuring Harpist Cassie Watson Francillon. Food trucks Dirty Bird, Cater 2 U Kitchen, and Buffalo Burger Bros will serve their signature fares, and sweet treats will be available from 6-8 p.m. from Kona Ice and The Yummmm Truck.

The Niagara Falls Jazz Fest was created in collaboration with Dawn Berry-Walker, daughter of jazz legend James “Pappy” Martin, and founder of the Pappy Martin Masten Jazz Festival. Pappy Martin and his brother, John “Spider” Martin, grew up in the Highland neighborhood of Niagara Falls, and famously played at renowned establishments including the Ontario House. To highlight Spider Martin’s story, the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area commissioned Buffalo artist Edreys Wajed, in 2019, to create a mural of Spider Martin along Main Street, bringing his story into public space for the first time.

Honoring the Martins’ legacy, the Niagara Falls Jazz Fest will present its annual festival by celebrating women of jazz whose musical influence sparked a movement like no other.

“Musical storytelling resounds throughout our community, and we are excited for people to come together to enjoy notes by jazz greats such as Marsha McWilson and Cassie Watson Francillon,” says Saladin Allah, Niagara Falls National Heritage Area project coordinator. “It will be an event not to miss.”

This concert is open to everyone. Attendees can bring a lawn chair or blanket and settle in for an early evening performance of jazz. For more information, visit the website

A press release added, “For more opportunities to experience the power of women in jazz following the Niagara Falls Jazz Fest on Sunday, July 17, check out the Pappy Martin Legacy Masten Jazz Festival, taking place on July 24 and 31 at the Buffalo Museum of Science.”

The Niagara Falls National Heritage Area (NFNHA) is one of 55 National Heritage Areas in the U.S. Designated by Congress in 2008, its mission is to preserve, protect and promote the historic, natural and cultural resources of the area stretching from Niagara Falls to Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown. The NFNHA facilitates partnerships between artists, public and private organizations, and community members and stakeholders to envision and create public art, impacting the cultural landscape with pieces that reflect and honor the history and legacy of Niagara Falls. Learn more at Discover Niagara and discover the mural of John “Spider” Martin through NF Murals

The Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective was formed in Buffalo to recognize and address the multipronged aspects of continuing the music legacy of James “Pappy” Martin. Their Pappy Martin Legacy Masten Jazz Festival returns on its traditional last two Sundays in July at the Buffalo Museum of Science (side lawn). The festival is a homage to women in jazz, featuring the Baylor Project, Endea Owens & The Cookout, Shamie Royston, George Caldwell with Curtis Lovell, Carol McLaughlin featuring Joyce Carolyn and The Love Supreme School of Music. Learn more on this website. 

The Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative “serves as a catalyst for fully engaging the community and bringing innovative approaches to creating a healthier Niagara Falls. As committed residents of Niagara Falls, we hope to lead by example and encourage others along the way to step forward and join us as ‘change agents.’ ” Learn more through CHNFC’s website.

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