Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Williamsburg Jazz Festival-August 14, 2007
The 5th annual Williamsburg Jazz Festival kicks off this Sunday night at 8pm when festival founder Jesse Selengut and his supporting cast Noir take the stage at Surf Bar. The festival lasts the entire week with live jazz every night at five different Williamsburg venues. The Williamsburg Jazz Festival has garnered critical acclaim both for its quality of music and dedication to promoting arts in Williamsburg. This year's festival is the biggest and best yet.
The Festival has grown from a small concert series to a renouned music festival in four fast years. Festival founder, Williamsburg musician, Jesse Selengut recapped the festival's growth, "When we started it, we were just getting our feet wet. We didn't have any contacts or any money. By year two we had some sponsorship and we were able to get some big-name headliners and that put us on the map. Each year it's gotten bigger. It's been a big success from a music standpoint, attendance, ticket sales, energy, it's been great. We're real excited."
The festival's mission is "to bring you great music, to honor great artists where they live and to re-invigorate our culture with honest, impeccably crafted, present tense artistic expression." With the lineup set for this week, they will have no problem accomplishing exactly that. Selengut reflects on past festival performances, "Great music is about communicating ideas in sound. It's about connecting with the listener in a personal, immediate way. Were you there when Van Gogh painted 'La Sieste?' Me neither. But I was there at Galapaos when Donny McCaslin took his saxophone and carved a hole as wide as the sky into the Williamsburg night. I was present when Mike McGinnis constructed pristine acrhitecture out of thin air. These were materpiece performance right before our eyes. Everyone felt it and knew: 'That was amazing and will never happen again.' It was a perfect moment at the nexus of inspiration, craft, skill. Better still, hundreds of people were there to hear it. That's our mission."
The Festival's opening night goes down at Surf Bar. Located at N6th and Bedford, Surf Bar boasts a great seafood menu with a beach style atmosphere equipped with sand covered floors. It's easy to get to as well, one block away from the L-train stop at Bedford and North 7th. Admission is free.
Monday night's festivities take place down the street at Spike Hill, a classier establishment than the previous night. Aviv Cohen’s Pocket from the Promised Land will be supplying the jazz while Spike Hill's bar serves 12 beers on tap, over 50 different bottled beers and microbrews, a great selection of fine single malt scotch and a full range of cocktails. Aviv Cohen' s Pocket from the Promised Land brings their experimental, electronic sound all the way from Jerusalem, Israel. Admission is free.
The music continues the next night a few blocks further up Bedford Ave. at My Moon Restaurant and Bar with Williamsburg artist Gavin Fallow Quartet featuring Greg Ruggiero, Pete Rende, and Jordan Perlson. My Moon is an exquisite venue situated in a converted warehouse space. They have a full dinner menu and wine list to compliment the evening's music. Admission is free.
The action returns to Surf Bar Wednesday night when Williamsburg artists Tin Pan Blues Band featuring Jesse Selengut, Clifton Hyde, Tuba Joe, and Adrian Mira take the stage. Tin Pan Blues Band bring audiences back to the days of the early 20th century with their old-school jazz style. They harken to the days of Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton with their raw, gritty, old-fashioned sound. Admission is free.
Thursday night action returns to My Moon where James Carney Group with Josh Roseman, Chris Lightcap, and Tom Rainey will perform. Thursday is the last night that admission to the show is free. The music starts at 8pm.
The music continues Friday at Rose Live Music (located at 345 Grand St.). While the ten dollar admission price is ten dollars more than festival goers will have had to pay any other night, three top-of-the-line performers will grace the stage. Try finding that for ten dollars anywhere else in the city. The night starts off with Mark Guiliana Trio featuring Nir Felder and Panagiotis Andreou at 9pm. Then at 10:30, the Pheeroan akLaff Duo with Mixashawn play a set. Then, if you can stand any more jazz in one night, at midnight Greg Heffernan's Sauce with Myk Freedman, Ohad Talmor, Todd Neufeld, and Josh Myers close the evening's music out.
Saturday night marks the closing performances of the festival at Laila Lounge (113 North 7th). The night begins at 8pm when Williamsburg artists Rick Parker Collective featuring Xavier Perez, Sam Barsh, Gavin Fallow, Kyle Struve jazz it up. They are followed by Yosvany Terry Quartet with Osmany Paredes, Yunior Terry, and Justin Brown at 9:30. The final performance of the festival starts at 11pm when Brandon Ross's For Living Lovers featuring Stomu Takeishi and Tyshawn Sorey start. The admission is ten dollars for Saturday night's festivities as well.
The Williamsburg Jazz Festival is getting bigger every year. Take advantage of the free admission and availability of seating while you can. Even when you have to pay ten dollars to get in on Friday and Saturday night, that is a steal for the quality of music you will hear. In ten years, the Williamsburg Jazz Festival could be internationally famous, known as one of the best jazz festivals in the world. Go now, support Williamsburg artists, and hear some great music. You will not be disappointed.