Monty Alexander Jazz Festival to Offer Some Surprises on Labor Day Weekend
Contact: Don Buxton 410 819-0380
or Amy Steward 410 829-0436
The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival will celebrate its sixth anniversary at the intimate Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD on Labor Day weekend from September 3 – 6, 2015. The extraordinary energy and virtuosity of Artistic Director Monty Alexander have vaulted the Festival into a four-day event showcasing new talent, as well as jazz greats.
Monty Alexander and Friends take the stage on Saturday night at 8 p.m., including Houston Person on saxophone, Hassan Shakur on bass, Obed Calvaire on drums, and Randy Napoleon on guitar. The concert, “Monty Alexander: Remember Mr. S. and Jilly’s – Celebrating Frank Sinatra 100 Years” will include reflections on Monty’s time with Frank Sinatra at the legendary Jilly’s Club in New York City and will also feature some special guest vocalists, to be announced the night of the concert.
The incomparable jazz vocalist and Grammy nominee René Marie opens this year’s Monty Alexander Jazz Festival at the Avalon Theatre with her Quintet on Friday evening, September 4 at 8:00 p.m. With her latest album, “I Wanna Be Evil (With Love to Eartha Kitt);” nominated for the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocalist, René Marie creates a fresh and evocative perspective on Kitt’s music. While her influences are wide ranging: Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson to name a few, her interpretation of these styles is uniquely her own. She blends jazz with blues, with soul, with folk, with rock, with gospel and with the deeply ingrained impressions of her own life.
In addition to René Marie, this year’s Festival will feature New York-based tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, who will lead Saturday afternoon’s concert at 2 p.m. Alexander is regarded as one of the most prolific and versatile musicians in the bebop tradition. Sunday’s jazz and gospel concert at 2 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre will feature jazz vocalist Alicia Olatuja, whose solo with The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” reached millions of viewers at President Obama’s 2013 Inaugural.
Renowned Baltimore classical and jazz pianist, Jermaine Gardner, will open Sunday’s concert. Gardner, who also happens to be blind and living a creative life with Asperger’s Syndrome, performed with singer Stevie Wonder when he was only three years old and the singer presented him with a Stevie Wonder studio keyboard. He has performed at the White House and has appeared on numerous television shows.
A Festival tradition will continue this year on Saturday morning with a free New Orleans jazz concert at 11:00 a.m. in Thompson Park by The Conservatory Classic Jazz Band. The band will then lead a second line parade to the Tidewater Inn where a jazz brunch at 11:30 a.m. will precede the afternoon showcase.
A returning favorite vocalist, Caterina Zapponi, will open the Festival in an intimate setting on Thursday night with an All-Star ensemble, including Yotam Silverstein, Lorin Cohen, Alberto Piribi, and Chuck Redd at the Academy Art Museum. This concert will not be a part of the Festival Pass and the number of seats available will be limited.
This year’s lineup of world class artists makes The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival an Eastern Shore destination for Labor Day weekend. The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival, presented by Jazz on the Chesapeake, is a program of Chesapeake Chamber Music. For further information on the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival, visit ChesapeakeJazz.org.
Caption: Monty Alexander and Friends take the stage on Saturday night at 8 p.m., including Houston Person on saxophone, Hassan Shakur on bass, Obed Calvaire on drums, and Randy Napoleon on guitar. The concert, “Monty Alexander: Remember Mr. S. and Jilly’s – Celebrating Frank Sinatra 100 Years” will include reflections on Monty’s time with Frank Sinatra at the legendary Jilly’s Club in New York City and will also feature some special guests, to be announced the night of the concert.
Jazz on the Chesapeake is a program of Chesapeake Chamber Music