Home Jazz Syracuse Jazz Fest headliner cancels; new performer added to lineup

Syracuse Jazz Fest headliner cancels; new performer added to lineup


A headliner dropped out of Syracuse Jazz Fest 2022, prompting a lineup change for the free music festival’s closing night.

Original 5th Dimension singers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. will not be able to perform on Saturday, June 25, due to “Covid-related travel restrictions,” Jazz Fest founder and executive producer Frank Malfitano has announced. The Grammy-winning pop-soul duo were scheduled to perform on the main stage in Clinton Square as the closing act for the final night of the three-day event.

“I know Marilyn and Billy share our disappointment that this year’s performance in Syracuse will not take place, but we have all encountered unforeseen circumstances that we simply could not resolve. Unfortunately, in the era of Covid, things like this happen and no one is to blame,” Malfitano said. But due to increased travel difficulties, the band have been forced to cancel a series of nationwide tour dates, including ours. Naturally, we are all extremely disappointed and apologize to all of our fans for this last minute change of plans.

Additional details were not disclosed. The United States lifted Covid testing requirements for international travel on Sunday, and New York State has no travel restrictions. Community levels of Covid-19 are low in Onondaga County and central New York, according to the CDC.

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. perform at Syracuse Jazz Fest 2022 at Clinton Square.

McCoo and Davis Jr., married since 1969, are known for songs like “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)”, “Saving All My Love for You” and 5th Dimension hits like “Up, Up and Away” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)”. They have won seven Grammy Awards and also co-hosted “The Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. Show” on CBS.

Zydeco artist Nathan Williams & The Zydeco Cha Cha’s, who were originally scheduled to perform at 4 p.m. on June 25, will now perform at 9:15 p.m. in place of McCoo and Davis Jr.

A new artist has been added to Saturday’s lineup; the Joey DeFrancesco Trio will occupy the 4 p.m. slot. Bandleader and vocalist Joey D, who plays organ/keyboard, trumpet and saxophone, is a Grammy-nominated jazz musician with over 30 albums released.

Joey DeFrancesco

Multi-instrumentalist Joey DeFrancesco has been added to the 2022 Syracuse Jazz Fest lineup. (Photo provided)

After a five-year hiatus, Syracuse Jazz Fest 2022 will take place Thursday, June 23 through Saturday, June 25 at Clinton Square. This is the first time since 2000 that Jazz Fest has taken place in downtown Syracuse.

Main stage headliners on Friday and Saturday include funk band Average White Band, jazz great David Sanborn and his Electric Band, and contemporary jazz saxophonist Boney James. Thursday’s action will feature local and regional artists at more than a dozen local venues, restaurants and bars.

All performances will be free, including club and main stage shows.

2022 Syracuse Jazz Festival Schedule

Thursday June 23

Locations as indicated; no admission or cover charge

4-6 p.m.: The Instigators – Jake Lawless, Brian Miller, Liam Hines, Marcus Oliver, Mike Pasarelli Jr, Theo Curtin (Funk ‘n’ Waffles); Syracuse Hot Club – Joe Davoli, Peter Chwazik, Harvey Nusbaum (Kitty Hoynes); Avenue J – Peter Allen, Dave Clément, Lee Tiffault (Kasaï).

5-7 p.m.: Exit 11 South – Sam Wyn, Vynce Watson, Mikal Serafim, Gary Iacovelli, Nick Fields, Dunham Hall (Weighlock Lounge); Seth Carper Set – Seth Carper, Daniel Dufour, Richard Mikell (Mulrooney’s); Marc Nanni Solo (Bar & Charcuterie Board); DiCosimo – Pagan Latin Jazz Ensemble – Edgar Pagan, Bill DiCosimo, Adam Fisher, Mike Cortese, David Donley (Wunderbar).

6-8 p.m.: Funky Jazz Band – Dave Hanlon, Ron France, Ed Vivenzio, Brian Scherer, Jim O’Mahony (Benjamin’s on Franklin); Carol Bryant Quartet – Carol Bryant, Bruce Wood, Dave Arliss, Steve Orlando, Jr. (The Golden Club); Julie Howard Quartet – Julie Howard, Joe Cortini, Dave Solazzo, Bass-tba (The Tasting Room at Epicuse).

7-9 p.m.: Nancy Kelly Trio – Nancy Kelly, Carmen Intorre, Dino Losito (Landmark Theater); Trio by John Rohde – John Rohde, Rick Montalbano, Jimmy Johns (Pastabilities); Bob Holz & A vision of the future – Bob Holz, Vynce Watson, Mikal Serafim (Clinton Street Pub); Marc HoffmanSwing that! Mark Hoffmann, Jo Anne Bakeman, Bob Purdy, Liz Simchik (Saltine Warrior); ESP – Matt Vacanti, John Magnante, Evan DuChene, Anthony Greene (The Corner Bar).

8-10 p.m.: Tamaralee Shutt Tamaralee Shutt, Carl Lovell, Matt Sokolic, Joe Karwacki (modern malt); Jazz Horn Legacy Sextet by Jeff Stockham – Jeff Stockham, Seth Carper, Paul Merrill, Barry Blumenthal, Tom Brigandi, Daniel Dufour (Press Room Pub); michael houston & Sam Wynn – Michael Houston, Sam Wynn, Tom Carter (The Tasting Room at Epicuse)

9-11 p.m.: Vibe Check by Melissa Gardiner – Melissa Gardiner, Luis Carrion, Deyquan Bowens, Kinyatta King (The Fitz); Ronnie Leigh Quartet – Ronnie Leigh, Peter Chwazik, Andy Calabrese, Shawn Kelley (Redfield’s); The Jazz Mafia – Joe Cortini, Matt Vacanti, Dave Solazzo (King of Clubs)

friday june 24

Clinton Square Main Stage

4 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.: The Salt City Jazz Collective

5:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Sheila Jordan Trio

7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.: David Sanborn Electric Band

9:15 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.: Medium White Band (50th Anniversary Edition)

Saturday June 25

Clinton Square Main Stage

4 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.: Trio Joey DeFrancesco

5:45 p.m. – 7 p.m.: The Urban Knights, with guitarist Henry Johnson

7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.: Boney James

9:15 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.: Nathan Williams & The Zydeco Cha Cha’s

For more information, visit syracusejazzfest.com.