Home Jazz The 36th Syracuse Jazz Festival Blends Bebop, Funk, and Fusion Downtown, June 23-25 ​​– Eagle News Online

The 36th Syracuse Jazz Festival Blends Bebop, Funk, and Fusion Downtown, June 23-25 ​​– Eagle News Online


SYRACUSE — Last held five years ago at Onondaga Community College, the Syracuse Jazz Festival is back in 2022 and will return to downtown Syracuse on June 23, 24 and 25. As usual, admission will be free.

“Jazz Fest returns downtown to Clinton Square Friday and Saturday and to area nightclubs Thursday,” said founder and artistic director Frank Malfitano, one of Central NY’s most prominent impresarios. This year will mark the festival’s return to the city center after 20 years in other venues.

Malfitano is particularly proud of this year’s jazz-centric lineup.

“In order to grow festival audiences to attract sponsors, many jazz festivals have been forced to move away from programming jazz, the music they are supposed to represent,” he said. “But this year, Syracuse Jazz Fest returned in full force to its jazz roots with 28 of our 30 100% jazz acts, artists and bands.”

Saxophonist David Sanborn presents his Electric Band at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 24 on the main stage of the Syracuse Jazz Festival in Clinton Square.

When Clinton Square hosted the Syracuse Jazz Fest in the 1990s, it drew thousands of people every year. This scenario will likely repeat itself as the main stage headliners feature saxophonist David Sanborn’s Electric Band, pioneering bebop singer Sheila Jordan and Scottish funk septet the Average White Band on Friday. And on Saturday, the Zydeco Cha-Chas from Louisiana will take the stage in front of Massachusetts saxophonist Boney James followed by former 5th Dimension singers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

The festival was last held in Clinton Square in 2000, when headliners Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, Pete Fountain and Diana Krall drew an overflowing crowd estimated at over 35,000.

Al Stirpe, Assemblyman for New York’s 127th District, was among them.

“The best thing I remember years ago when I came to Jazz Fest downtown was how many people would be here after the shows,” Stirpe said April 19 as Malfitano announced this year’s headliners.

“They were going to bars and restaurants,” Stirpe said. “There would be more music there. Everyone stayed downtown for a long time, spent a lot of money and I think that’s really the best thing we can do right now.

Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse each pledged $125,000 to support this year’s 36th festival, and Malfitano also secured an additional $150,000 for a new presenting sponsor, Amazon.com.

“We couldn’t be more grateful to New York State, Onondaga County, the City of Syracuse, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, and Amazon for bringing Syracuse Jazz Fest back to downtown Syracuse in June,” Malfitano said. “We are all thrilled to see this long Syracuse summer tradition return, and it simply wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Amazon.”

2022 Syracuse Jazz Festival Schedule

On the first day of the festival, Thursday, June 23, nearly two dozen of CNY’s hottest combos will be showcased at various downtown venues such as Funk ‘n Waffles, Fitz’s, The Gilded Club, the Press Room Pub and the Mezzanine of the Landmark Theatre. (see below).

And here is the program for Friday, June 24 on the main stage in Clinton Square:

4pm Salt City Jazz Collective
5:45 p.m. Sheila Jordan Threesome
7:30 p.m. David Sanborn Electric Band
9:15 p.m. Medium white band

Here is the program for Saturday, June 25 on the main stage in Clinton Square:

4:00 p.m. Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Cha’s
5:45 p.m. Urban knights
7:30 p.m. Boney James
9:15 p.m. Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.

For more information, visit syracusejazzfest.com.

Downtown venues will be buzzing on opening night

More than 100 local musicians and bands, including national artists Nancy Kelly, Ronnie Leigh and Bob Holz & A Vision Forward, will perform on opening night as part of this year’s Syracuse Jazz Fest on Thursday, June 23, in downtown Syracuse.

Twenty CNY-based jazz bands will perform at 20 different venues that day to kick off this year’s festival.

“The Syracuse jazz scene has so much incredible talent, we wanted to do everything we could to showcase our local stars at Jazz Fest 36 for all of the out-of-town visitors and guests who will be coming from all over the United States. and Canada,” Malfitano said. “Syracuse has had so many great jazz musicians and artists over the years, and they all deserve to be seen and heard by a wider audience. With over 100 Syracuse jazz artists appearing on our stages and thousands of visitors expected, this year’s lineup may prove to be the best ever.

Participating opening locations include the Press Room Pub, Pastabilities, The Fitz, Mulrooney’s, Benjamin’s on Franklin, Clinton Street Pub, Saltine Warrior, Tasting Room at Epicuse, Modern Malt, The Gilded Club, Kitty Hoyne’s, Funk’n’Waffles , Wunderbar, The Weighlock Lounge, Bar and Board, Redfield’s, King of Clubs, The Corner Bar, Kasai and the Grand Mezzanine of the Landmark Theatre; syracusejazzfest.com.

Eagle Newspapers entertainment writer Russ Tarby recommends:

  • 4:00 p.m. Joe Davoli’s Hot Club of Syracuse at Kitty Hoyne’s
  • 5 p.m. The DiCosimo-Pagan Latin Jazz at the Wunderbar
  • 6:00 p.m. The Carol Bryant Quartet at the Gilded Club.
  • 7 p.m. ESP at the Corner Bar
  • 8pm Jazz Horn Legacy Sextet by Jeff Stockham at the Press Room Pub
  • 9 p.m. The Jazz Mafia at the King of Clubs

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Bebop singer Sheila Jordan sings here on June 24

A black and white photo of Sheila Jordan, an older white woman with a dark bob and a long nose.  She smiled, her hands clasped under her face.  She wears a patterned blouse and a black hat.
At 93, Sheila Jordan is still singing bebop charts and changing pitches on a whim. Here she sings on the main stage of the Syracuse Jazz Fest in Clinton Square, at 5:45 p.m. Friday, June 24. (Photo by JazzYYC.com)

When Sheila Dawson dropped a dime in a Detroit restaurant jukebox in the late 1940s and listened to Charlie Parker’s The Reboppers’ “Now’s the Time,” she was immediately hooked – and so it was. his jazz journey of more than 70 years began.

Working primarily with black musicians, she met with disapproval from the white community but persisted in her career. She was a member of a vocal trio, Skeeter, Mitch and Jean (she was Jean), who sang versions of Parker’s solos in a manner close to that of the vocal trio, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.

After moving from Detroit to New York in the early 1950s, Dawson married Parker’s pianist Duke Jordan and studied with improvising pianist Lennie Tristano, but it was not until the early 1960s that she realized her first recordings. One of them was under his own name; the other was “The Outer View” with George Russell, which featured his famous 10-minute version of “You Are My Sunshine”.

Over the years, Jordan has become famous for her sultry, springy vocals, sudden, innovative pitch changes, and creative flourishes.

Later in her career, in 1993, she collaborated with Fulton-born bebop singer Mark Murphy on an album called “One for Junior”.

Now 93, her voice remains strong and she remains active. On May 14 and 15, she was scheduled to perform at historic New York nightclub Birdland with the Royal Bopsters.

When she appears on the main stage of the Syracuse Jazz Festival in Clinton Square at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, June 24, she will be accompanied by Westchester bassist Harvie S and Israeli jazz guitarist Roni Ben-Hur.

Veteran jazz critic Scott Yanow considers Jordan a unique vocalist.

“She is one of the few singers who can improvise logical lyrics that often rhyme,” Yanow wrote. “She’s a superb scat singer and she’s also an emotional performer of ballads.”