Tuesday, October 26, 2021

LG Jazz Fest is back! 3 days of live, cutting edge music

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

The Lake George Jazz Weekend returns full force, live and in person, outdoors in Shepard Park, Lake George Village, Friday to Sunday, Sept. 17 to 19.

A signature production of the Lake George Arts Project for more than 25 years, the festival typically draws an appreciative crowd of hep cats, music appreciators, and general listeners from the Capital Region and beyond for its blend of current, cutting edge and classic jazz in a picturesque setting overlooking Lake George.

We asked Jazz Weekend director/curator Daniel Kelly to give a quick overview of the lineup: Beyond the bios, what excites him about this year’s Jazz Weekend?

‘Jazz at the Lake,’ by the Lake George Arts Project, returns Friday to Sunday, Sept. 17-19, in Shepard Park. Pictured here: Pianist David Kikoski and bassist Ugonna Okegwo of the Wayne Escoffery Quartet, in 2019. Chronicle file photo/Cathy DeDe
“I’m thrilled that we’re able to safely resume outdoor performances again and come together as a community of music lovers to hear world-class jazz artists,” Mr. Kelly says.

“The experience of listening to music together as a community in the context of the pandemic and all we’ve been through reminds us to deeply appreciate each other. Music is something that makes us feel alive and celebrates our shared humanity.”

“I’m also very excited to present my own project — Blind Visionaries.”

Blind Visionaries opens the festival with a special Friday night performance at 7 p.m.

Mr. Kelly describes it as “A multi-media performance where the audience will experience…stunning images created by the blind and visually impaired photographers of the ‘Seeing with Photography’ Collective, along with music performed by my trio that I’ve composed in reaction to these surreal images.”

He adds, “Photos from the group are currently on display in the Courthouse Gallery until the evening of Sept 19. The partnership between Jazz at the Lake and the Courthouse Gallery is very exciting.”

What artists might appeal to specific listeners, and why?

If you want to hear classic jazz, Mr. Kelly suggests: Black Art Jazz Collective, Sunday at 5 p.m.

Cutting edge? Aaron Parks Little Big, Saturday at 5 p.m.

Something super-interesting? “All the artists are exploring the art form in creative ways with the highest level of musicianship and artistry,” Mr. Kelly says.

Latin? Yosvany Terry Quintet, Saturday at 7 p.m.

What else? Mr. Kelly says, “Helen Sung’s latest album ‘Quartet+’ features compositions by women jazz composers like Geri Allen, Carla Bley, Mary Lou Williams, Marian McPartland, and Toshiko Akiyoshi while carrying the tradition forward with her own stunning new works. The official album release is Friday, Sept 17.”

She plays Saturday at 1 p.m.

Who’s playing when

Below is the full Jazz lineup.

Admission, as always, is free. See the Lake George Arts Project Facebook page or www.lakegeorgearts.org for more detail, and for weather updates. Info: 668-2616.

Friday, Sept. 17


• Special 7 p.m. show: Blind Visionaries. Daniel Kelly & The “Seeing with Photography Collective.” Multi-media event pairing photography by the blind and visually impaired Collective members with live original music by festival organizer Daniel Kelly, and audio interviews with the artists.

Saturday, Sept. 18

• Helen Sung Quartet, Jazz pianist and composer and 2021 Guggenheim Fellow with her new album Quartet +, celebrating women jazz composers, plus guest violinist Jannina Norpoth at 1 p.m.

• Dayna Stephens Quartet, saxophonist-composer-arranger, with his 10th album Right Now! at 3 p.m.

• Aaron Parks Little Big, pianist-keyboardist-composer’s quartet features drums, bass and guitar, at 5 p.m.

• Evening headliner: Yosvany Terry Quintet, Cuban saxophonist/percussionist/composer blends Cuban roots music and jazz, at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 19

• Stephanie Chou Quartet, blending classical and Chinese influences with Western jazz and pop, in English and Mandarin playing off Chinese folk songs and tongue-twisters and selections from her full-length jazz opera “Comfort Girl,” at 1 p.m.

• Ingrid Jensen Band, jazz trumpet-led ensemble, at 3 p.m.

• Black Art Jazz Collective, “all-star sextet featuring trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, trombonist James Burton III, pianist Victor Gould, bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr.” at 5 p.m.

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