The Ninth Annual Scranton Jazz Festival
The Electric City will come alive with the sounds of Jazz this weekend as The Scranton Jazz Festival celebrates its ninth year at the historic Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel as well as many other downtown Scranton venues. Some of this year’s participating artists are Freddy Cole, Dave Samuels and The Organik Vibe Trio with saxophonist Joel Frahm, La Cuchina, Vic Juris with Jay Anderson and Adam Nussbaum, and The Carl Fischer Nouveau Big Band. The event is free on Friday night, Aug. 2; $15 in advance or $20 at the door for Saturday, Aug. 3; and $20 in advance or $25 at the door for Sunday, Aug. 4. Tickets are available at all Gallery of Sound locations, by phone at 487-3954 or by emailing hrunco@yahoo.
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 event, the festival as we currently know it began as a Saturday of jazz under the tent at Hanlon’s Grove and soon blossomed into a 3-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.
“The primary artistic goal was to present the highest quality jazz, blues and world beat,” executive committee member Marko Marcinko said. “We consistently do a great job presenting that and we also want to present the highest quality festival atmosphere, where people can have great food, great drinks and see all of the artists and vendors involved. We want all of this rolled up into one giant ball for three days in downtown Scranton. We have a successful record of presenting artists from all over the world and we’re always trying to be something slightly different each year that is enticing unto itself.”
Keeping that approach intact, a new aspect of this year’s Jazz Festival is that all of Friday’s performances are free to the public. “We had additional funding that came in from the county,” Marcinko said. “The festival coincides with First Friday and we thought it would be a good idea to offer the Friday as a free night being that there are so many other things going on in downtown Scranton. We’re inviting everyone to finish their night at the Radisson, to come in and enjoy the music at the end of the night.”
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.
“When we started, we went from 300 people to 3,000. That’s a good way of defining what’s happening locally and regionally. It’s grown significantly on the vendor end, the music end, the audience participation end, on the educational end. People are recognizing the festival, traveling from far away to Scranton because they love the music, patronizing our restaurants and hotels.”
Once 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 at Keystone College in the skills necessary to perform jazz, blues, and world beat music. The students will then deliver a performance on Sunday.
“The Scranton Jazz Festival is a unique thing and we’re doing it for those wonderful reasons,” Marcinko said.
— tom graham
For a complete list of participating Jazz Walk venues and more information, visit www.scrantonjazzfestival.org.
Scranton Jazz Festival Schedule:
Main Stage Radisson Hotel
8 p.m. — Indigo Moon Brass Band
9 p.m. — La Cuchina
10 p.m. — 1 a.m. The Jazz Walk
8 p.m. — The Vic Juris Trio with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Adam Nussbaum
9 p.m. — Carl Fischer Nouveau Big Band Remembering Maynard Ferguson featuring alumni of the MF Big Bop Nouveau Band
10 p.m. – 1 a.m. The Jazz Walk
11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. The Jazz Brunch, Carmen’s Restaurant, Radisson Hotel
5 p.m. — The Keystone College Jazz Institute Student Combos
6 p.m. — The Benny Carter Saxes
7 p.m. — Dave Samuels and the Organik Vibe Trio with saxophone great Joel Frahm
8 p.m. — Jazz Legend Freddy Cole
9:30 p.m. — 12 a.m. The Festival Jazz Jam in Trax Bar, Radisson Hotel