The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival Returns Labor Day Weekend
Presented by Jazz on the Chesapeake, this three-day festival offers high-caliber performances that will delight concert lovers and jazz aficionados alike. The festival, now in its seventh year, boasts an extraordinary lineup, sure to appeal to a wide range of music enthusiasts—meaning you should get your tickets now before they sell out!
The festival kicks off Friday evening with “The Magic of Gershwin,” featuring Ted Rosenthal, renowned as one of the leading jazz pianists of his generation, and accomplished vibraphonist Chuck Redd. Rosenthal’s 2014 release, “Rhapsody in Gershwin,” presented his arrangement of the American composer’s 1924 Rhapsody in Blue. The album reached the number one position in jazz sales at iTunes and Amazon. Redd’s vibraphone work—referred to by the Jazz Times as “exquisite”—in addition to his skillful drumming, has been featured on more than 70 recordings. He is currently a faculty member at The University of Maryland School of Music in College Park, Maryland.
The Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Field Band take festival goers into the weekend with a free concert on Saturday, September 3rd at the Avalon Theatre. The morning performance will showcase the 23-piece ensemble’s diverse repertoire, including big band swing, Latin, contemporary jazz, popular tunes, and Dixieland. The dynamic and energetic show is fit for all audiences, from young to old!
Dominick Farinacci returns to Easton for a Saturday afternoon concert. Dubbed a “trumpeter of abundant poise” by the New York Times, Farinacci is set to release his Mack Avenue Records debut “Short Stories” on June 10th. This soulful album brings together a mix of exceptional musicians, along with producer Tommy Lipuma, cultivating a unique narrative of covers and original compositions that not only spans genres, but generations, too.
Festival headliner Monty Alexander showcases “50 Years of Music – The Full Monty” on Saturday night. Considered one of the top five jazz pianists ever, Alexander’s performance celebrates more than five decades of performing across the world and recording on more than 70 releases, including 50 albums. The Jamaican-born musician is revered for his creative, dramatic style, infusing hard-swinging jazz with Caribbean sounds and blues melodies.
Closing out the weekend is pianist Cyrus Chestnut, performing in a Sunday afternoon concert. Born in Baltimore—his father the organist at his local church—the composer and producer says he’s always believed in the deep connection between jazz and God. His works unabashedly demonstrate this concept, seamlessly blending facets of jazz with elements of gospel, R&B, and classical genres. Chestnut will be joined by Afro Blue, Howard University’s premier vocal jazz ensemble.
– Becca Newell
Jazz on the Chesapeake is a program of Chesapeake Music. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 410-819-0380 or visit Chesapeakejazz.org.