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Lewiston Jazz Festival: Top musical acts, 150 performers, Militello Mass take center stage

Mon, Aug 21st 2017 10:05 am
The Hot Sardines will headline this year's Jazz Festival on Saturday in Lewiston.
The Hot Sardines will headline this year's Jazz Festival on Saturday in Lewiston.
Al Jarreau once said, "Jazz should be recognized as music of the people."
But there's a hiccup. As Esperanza Spalding noted, "The problem with jazz accessibility is not the content of the music, it people's ability to access it."
So, just where can people find live jazz music in 2017?
In New York, the answer is Lewiston.
The 16th annual Jazz Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25-26. Now known as the Northwest Jazz Festival, Lewiston, NY, and presented by Northwest Bank, the event is a jazz music lover's delight: a free, two-day event with more than 150 musicians lined up and down Center Street, with performances on a half-dozen stages.
Headlining the Northwest Jazz Festival Main Stage at 8:30 p.m. Friday is the Dave Stryker Quintet with Eric Alexander. (www.davestryker.com)
Whether you've heard guitarist Stryker leading his own group (with 27 CDs to date as a leader), co-leading The Stryker/Slagle Band, or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine or Jack McDuff, it's not hard to imagine why the Village Voice called him "one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years."
Recently voted once again into the Downbeat readers and critic's polls, Stryker will bring to the Northwest Jazz Festival stage an ensemble of today's leading jazz all-stars: Jared Gold has been consistently selected in the Downbeat critic's poll top 10 in the organ category and is regarded as one of the finest Hammond B-3 Organ performers in jazz today. Vibraphonist Steven Nelson is in the same top 10 category of recognized jazz vibraphonists. Rising star McClenty Hunter will join in on drums.
Special guest will be one of the top tenor saxophonists in jazz today: Eric Alexander, a sought-after tenor sax player who has worked with Harold Mabern, Pat Martino, Ron Carter, Vincent Herring and Steve Davis.
Stryker will release his latest CD, "Striking Ahead," just a few days after the Northwest Jazz Festival.
The Dave Stryker Quintet - he is shown above - will headline this year's Jazz Festival on Friday in Lewiston.
Headlining the Northwest Jazz Festival Main Stage at 8:30 p.m. Saturday will be The Hot Sardines. (www.HotSardines.com)
In the talented hands of the New York-based ensemble, music first made famous decades ago comes alive through a brassy horn arrangements, rollicking piano melodies, and vocals from a chanteuse who transports listeners to a different era with the mere lilt of her voice.
On "French Fries & Champagne," The Hot Sardines' new album for Universal Music Classics, the jazz collective broadens its already impressive palette, combining covers and originals as they effortlessly channel New York speakeasies, Parisian cabarets and New Orleans jazz halls.
Bandleader Evan "Bibs" Palazzo and lead singer "Miz Elizabeth" Bougerol met in 2007 after they both answered a Craigslist ad about a jazz jam session above a Manhattan noodle shop. The unlikely pair - she was a London School of Economics-educated travel writer who grew up in France, Canada and the Ivory Coast; he was a New York City-born-and-raised actor who studied theater at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia - bonded over their love for Fats Waller. Influenced also by such greats as Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, they began playing open mic nights and small gigs and, by 2011, they headlined "Midsummer Night Swing" at New York's Lincoln Center.
Jazz Festival Board Chairman George Osborne, a noted musical sage, and former head of Artpark & Company, said, "I believe that the Dave Stryker Quintet with special guest Eric Alexander will be a very special night for all true jazz lovers. They make music that is top drawer.
"The Hot Sardines is what the name implies. They deliver an upbeat and highly entertaining performance somewhat in the New Orleans tradition. They will provide a fabulous ending to our 16th festival."
VIP seating tickets for these two performances, $20, are available online at www.LewistonJazz.com.
The Lewiston Jazz Festival Inc. board, led by Osborne, coordinates the festival in partnership with the Town and Village of Lewiston.
Each August, this free music festival draws over 30,000 people to the quaint and historic Village of Lewiston on the Niagara River.
The festival runs from 5-10:30 p.m. Friday, and from noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Jazz music performances will take place on the Main Stage, Rising Star Stage, Peace Garden Stage, Frontier House Stage and DiCamillo Courtyard Stage.
Jazz music coordinator Tony Zambito of JazzBuffalo.org has organized 30 musical acts with more than 150 musicians over the two-day event, which is the largest outdoor jazz festival in Western New York. The Lewiston event features nonstop performances on five stages, with culinary delights and Niagara Wine Trail wineries offering fare along Center Street.
John Golding, New York region president of Northwest Bank, said he is looking forward to the upcoming festival.
"It's an honor to be the presenting sponsor of the Jazz Festival, which brings thousands of people to Lewiston every year," he said. "This is an event many of our employees look forward to attending each year; so to be involved at this level is an exciting opportunity for Northwest. We're happy to be part of this year's festivities and hope everyone will come out and support this great local event."
Scenes from last year's "Jazz Mass" at St. Peter's.
Another highlight of the weekend is the third annual "Jazz Mass" at St. Peter R.C. Church, 620 Center St. It will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday, with music by Bobby Militello and then the Mass following at 4:30 p.m.
Lori Presti, a Jazz Festival board of directors advisory board member and long-time volunteer, said, "When I suggested to Father David LiPuma of St. Peter's Church that the addition of a 'Jazz Mass' to the Lewiston Jazz Festival was something I envisioned for a long time, I was thrilled with his enthusiastic response. He embraced the idea with open arms and ran with it.
"We had no idea what the turnout would be the first year, but it became apparent that the parishioners and visitors to St. Peter's Church were in support, as well."
For the past two years, the "Jazz Mass" has been celebrated to a standing-room-only crowd with people clapping and moving back and forth to the sounds of music resonating through the church.
The performing jazz quartet will feature saxophonist Militello and a contemporary ensemble from the St. Joseph University Parish in Buffalo, under the direction of Timothy Wells.
The popular Jazz Festival Jewelry Tent also returns to Center and Fifth streets both days.
For the complete schedule of performances, VIP ticket and sponsor information, visit www.LewistonJazz.com or call the Jazz Festival office at 716-754-9500.
The Northwest Jazz Festival, Lewiston, NY is a nonprofit event supported by community donations, corporate sponsorship, the Town and Village of Lewiston and Niagara County. Numerous Buffalo/Niagara companies, organizations, provide corporate and private support, and individuals help make the festival a free event to attend.
Official notice to Center Street businesses & residents
Street closing dates and times for The Northwest Jazz Festival, Lewiston, NY
Center Street will close at 5 am Friday, Aug. 25, from Fourth to Seventh streets.
The cross streets at Fourth and Seventh streets will remain open north and south. Center Street will re-open at about 2 a.m. Sunday.
Fifth Street will be closed at the Northwest Bank drive-thru to the KeyBank drive-thru during these same hours. Customers will retain access to the drive-in areas of both banks.
Businesses are advised to make necessary arrangements for delivery trucks during these hours, as vehicles will not be permitted onto Center Street while it is closed.

Center Street to be partially closed off for Jazz Festival

Official notice to Center Street businesses & residents
Street closing dates and times for The Northwest Jazz Festival, Lewiston, NY:
Center Street will close at 5 am Friday, Aug. 25, from Fourth to Seventh streets.
The cross streets at Fourth and Seventh streets will remain open north and south. Center Street will re-open at about 2 a.m. Sunday.
Fifth Street will be closed at the Northwest Bank drive-thru to the KeyBank drive-thru during these same hours. Customers will retain access to the drive-in areas of both banks.
Businesses are advised to make necessary arrangements for delivery trucks during these hours, as vehicles will not be permitted onto Center Street while it is closed.

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