Jazz Festival heats up the Electric City this weekend
The Electric City will come alive with the sounds of Jazz this weekend as The Scranton Jazz Festival will celebrate its eighth year at the historic Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel as well as many other various downtown Scranton venues. Some of this year’s participating artists are Average White Band, Roseanna Vitro and The Hot Club of Detroit. The festival’s committee had the initial goal of reinstating the summer music festival that Scranton hosted for many years at Nay Aug Park. After reestablishing the music event, the festival as we currently know it began as a Saturday of jazz underneath the tent at Hanlon’s Grove and soon blossomed into a three day event in downtown Scranton. The historic Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel plays host to the Annual Jazz Festival and boasts a covered outdoor amphitheater and a lounge for the late night jazz crowd.
“We have an indoor outdoor vibe happening now,” executive committee member Marko Marcinko said. “We also have all of these downtown venues participating in the jazz walk. It’s definitely more of a city and community oriented Jazz festival.”
Established in 2004, The Scranton Jazz Festival has become a permanent fixture on the northeastern Pennsylvania arts and jazz circuits. Attracting international, national and regional artists, the festival brings downtown Scranton a breath of life with more than 100 musicians, artisans, staff, and volunteers for three days of continuous entertainment
“Music festivals have different components,” Marcinko said. “We try to implement the same kind of components in Scranton. We have a main stage with bigger and national acts. Then we have smaller regional acts playing in the jazz walk that get to have the same kind of exposure in a smaller venue. The venue capacity has a lot to do with the vibe we are trying to generate. When you think about jazz, you think about a club atmosphere and the kind of romanticism that it brings. We want to try to keep that. We want to still have the intimacy of what can happen afterwards. When the main stage closes, we want people to visit the down town and walk through the streets and see the sights visit these different taverns and places.”
Making her return is nationally renowned jazz singer Roseanna Vitro. “I’m looking forward to an audience who’s ready to hear some smoking music,” Vitro said. “I’ll be singing Duke Ellington to Randy Newman tunes, plus some Milton Nascimento and Cedar Walton tunes. I’m excited to hit with my band since everyone tours and records with a variety of musicians. When we all get together, it’s magical.”
Not only are they celebrating their 40th anniversary with a tour, Scottish funk and R&B band The Average White Band is also looking forward to coming back to Scranton for another performance. When asked about their upcoming visit and what audiences could expect, guitarist and founding member Onnie McIntyre said he was looking forward to playing in the open air and mingling with fans.
“It’s good to play outdoors and it’s nice to meet the people afterwards,” McIntyre said. “We hang around and get talking to people and get their feedback. It’s all about playing. It’s all about the interaction between the band and the audience. We need them as much as they need us. We’re all in it together to have a good time and enjoy very American music which we grew up listening to and tried to emulate. We’re looking forward to be playing Scranton again.”
The Scranton Jazz Festival is also proud to present its student jazz educational component. Some artists performing at the festival will educate selected students in the skills necessary to perform jazz, blues, and world beat music. The students will then deliver a performance on Sunday.
Marcinko only sees the festival growing stronger year after year. “Between the local and regional ties and the educational student ties and then the international and national things that we do, the festival in its eighth year has taken on some good roots and getting recognized for it.”
— tom graham
Scranton Jazz Festival Main Stage Schedule
Friday, Aug. 3
7:30 p.m. — La Cuccina (Gato Barbieri/Smooth Jazz)
8:15 p.m. — Average White Band (Funk and R&B icons)
9:30 p.m. — Jazz Walk
Saturday, Aug. 4
6 p.m. — Bill Goodwin 70th Birthday Quintet (Straight Ahead Jazz)
7 p.m. — Roseanna Vitro (Grammy Nominated Vocal Jazz Great)
8 p.m. — The Hot Club of Detroit (Swinging French/Gypsy Jazz Style)
9:30 p.m. — Jazz Walk
Sunday, Aug. 5
11 a.m. — The Jazz Brunch @ Carmen’s (Jazz Piano and Bass Duo)
1 p.m. Big Band Rehearsal on Stage (Theater is closed)
4 p.m. —Keystone Jazz Institute Student Combos
5 p.m. — Presbybop featuring vocalist Warren Cooper (Be-bop, Straight Ahead Vocal Jazz)
6 p.m. — The Baritones (Straight Ahead Jazz)
7 p.m. — Giacomo Gates and Friends (Modern Vocal Jazz)
8 p.m. — Big Band Tribute to Jaco Pastorious (Jazz Fusion/Funk and More) special guest artists include: Trumpet Great Lew Soloff, Saxophonist Gary Keller, and Bass Master Matt Bonelli
For a complete list of participating Jazz Walk venues and more information, visit www.scrantonjazzfestival.org. Tickets are $25 for Friday, Aug. 3, $20 for Saturday, Aug. 4 and $ 20 Sunday, Aug. 5. Tickets are also Available at all Gallery Of Sound locations by phone at (570)487-3954 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.