May 29--BURLINGTON -- Burlington Discover Jazz speeds straight ahead in its 31st year.
Violinist Regina Carter christens the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts MainStage at 8 p.m. Friday, May 30.
Free performances jump off with Long Trail Live presenting acts including The Main Squeeze, Z3 and Organissimo beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Church Street Marketplace.
Saturday, May 31, is Big Joe Burrell Day, featuring Mike Tucker Organ Trio, Banda Magda and David Gerald at noon in City Hall Park.
Tony Bennett, set for Saturday, May 31, sold out six weeks ago. Artist-hold tickets are snatched up as quickly as they dribble out.
Though a Bennett concert may not be in the offing, there is a host of mainstream and edgy artists to satisfy the jazz aficionado and newbie.
"Personally, I have a couple of favorites," said Linda Little, festival managing director and a professional saxophonist.
"My big favorite is the Ron Carter Trio and Bennie Golson Quartet. I'm really excited about the show.
"Bennie Golson was part of Art Blakely's Jazz Messengers in the 1950s and 1960s and author of so many jazz standards we know. Ron Carter is one of the most prolific bassist, just a legend in the business."
The artists are featured on the double bill Sunday, June 1, at the Flynn.
"I'm just excited," Little said. "We didn't get one of them; we got both of them. You get to see both of them with one ticket."
Festival performers include Valerie June, CÉcile McLorin Salvant, Dawn of Midi and Linda Oh.
On June 5, Maceo Parker (band leader/saxophone/flute/vocals) will blow the canopy off the Waterfront Tent with band members Dennis Rollins (trombone), Will Boulware (keys), Bruno Speight (guitar), Rodney "Skeet" Curtis (bass), Marcus Parker (drums), Martha High (vocals) and Darliene Parker (vocals).
"We have two great tents this year," Little said. "We have Maceo Parker. He's just a legend and amazing."
Two days later, the Waterfront Park Tent features Belizabeha 20th Anniversary Reunion Show. Openers are the Jennifer Hartswick Band and Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band.
"We're flying in (Belizabeha)," Little said. "They are dispersed all over the country. We teamed them up with Jennifer Hartswick and Kat Wright. It's not something we have done in a while at the Waterfront featuring Vermont bands."
On Sunday, June 8, MainStage closers are Jerry Bergonzi Quintet and Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band.
At 10 a.m., the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington hosts "Jazz Service: Solomon Northup's Struggle For Freedom" featuring Andrew Moroz (music arrangement/piano), Caleb Elder (fiddle/viola), Robinson Morse (bass), Geza Carr (drums) and Roxanne Vought (vocals).
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Another festival high point for Little is New Orleans alto-sax great Big Chief Donald Harrison performing on the Flynn's MainStage Friday, June 6.
"He's Big Chief of Congo Square Nation," Little said. "They play traditional New Orleans music. At Mardi Gras, they wear Native American costumes (regalia) bright and ornate.
"His whole mission as a saxophonist is to play music that is danceable. The show is really fun. "
Harrison is the festival's artist-in-residence.
"He will be going around meeting with some youth groups and present workshops with adults with no music training, the All State Jazz Band and U32," Little said.
"It's something I'm really proud of. We get a MainStage artist to stick around four or five days and go in the community and work with a number of people."
Email Robin Caudell:firstname.lastname@example.org
IF YOU GO WHAT: Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. WHEN: Friday May 30, through Sunday, June 8. WHERE: Various venues downtown Burlington. WEBSITE: See full schedule at discoverjazz.com.
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