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Jazz & Roots Festival Musical Acts Announced

SPRINGFIELD — Organizers of the free Jazz & Roots Festival on August 9, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Court Square have announced the lineup of musical acts. The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the emergence of Springfield’s Cultural District,and promote an arts driven, community oriented, and sustainable revitalization of the city. Organizers are striving for an inclusive event with a variety of performers, which include:

• Phil Woods: A Springfield native, Woods has established himself as one of the most brilliant alto saxophonists in jazz. He devoted himself to the alto saxophone since the age of 12 and was a student of the Julliard Conservatory. Although he did not copy Charlie “Bird” Parker, bop’s greatest saxophonist, he was known as the New Bird.

• Charles Neville: The second oldest brother and saxophonist of New Orleans’ first family of funk. The Neville Brothers, a collective of four talented brothers and powerfully unique personalities who have thrived on an explosive fusion of diversity and unity, have represented the heart and soul of New Orleans for decades.

• Matthew Curry
: (sponsored by MGM Springfield): Curry has played with the greats since the start, jamming regularly with Tommy Castro, Bernard Allison, Bryan Lee, and Ronnie Baker Brooks. He was one of five international finalists in Ampeg’s “Straight-Up Tone” competition. He has played major summer festivals including the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival and the Chicago Blues Festival. Matthew Curry is a 2013 inductee into the prestigious Brotherhood of the Guitar sponsored by Guitar Center, Ernie Ball, and Fender. Blues Blast Magazine nominated Matthew Curry in 2011 for an unprecedented three awards: Best Debut CD, Sean Costello Rising Star, and Best Blues song.

• Greg Caputo: He’s toured with the big bands of Count Basie, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Nelson Riddle, Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway and Sammy Kay. Greg has also performed with, Benny Waters, Joe Wilder, Phil Woods, Patti Page, Grover Mitchell, Claude Williams, Sheila Jordan, Don Cornell, Barry Harris and Sammy Davis Jr.

• Charmaine Neville: As the daughter of Charles Neville, she is heir to a rich New Orleans musical legacy but has succeeded in placing her own stamp on this musical heritage. Neville and her band dish out a spicy mix of blues to some V-8-driven R & B.

• Grace Kelly: You’ve heard the name before from the movies but perhaps you haven’t heard of this 22-year old Korean American singer/songwriter/saxophonist/composer. She wrote her first song when she was 7 years old, recorded her first out of eight independently released CDs at 12, and orchestrated, arranged and performed an original composition with the Boston Pops Orchestra at 14.

• Chuchito Valdés
: Following in the footsteps of his famed father Chucho Valdés and grandfather Bebo Valdés, continues the legacy of great piano players from Cuba.

• Jim Argiro Quintet: At first glance, the Argiro Quintet appears as an extension of the famous George Shearing Quintet. And while retaining the essence of that revered ensemble, the musical approach is much more adventurous, creating lively, highly original versions of American standards and intricately woven originals.

• Jessica Freeman: A vocalist who studied at Berklee College of Music. She also plays classical violin and has performed with the Brooklyn Symphony. She currently lives in Holyoke and is headed into the Holyoke Community College Radiology Technology program. She hopes to travel the world singing, dancing, and playing violin.

• Alex Snydman: He made a surprising yet decisive switch from guitar to drums during his Senior year at Hampshire College. Since that time in 2003, Alex has fervently sought out a veritable who’s who in modern jazz to study with. This list includes Eric Harland, Gregory Hutchinson, John Riley, Bob Gullotti, Joe La Barbera, and Damion Reid, among others.

• Mikata: Performs a full repertoire of hard-hitting Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Bolero, Cha-cha and Latin Jazz. The band is renowned for their contemporary arrangements of the great classics of Mambo and Salsa from the1950’s, 60’s and 70’s — an era when the dynamic, percussive quality of Latin music reigned supreme.
Blues to Green, a non-profit organization using music and art to celebrate community and culture, build shared purpose, and catalyze social and environmental change, working in partnership with the City of Springfield and the Springfield Business Improvement District is presenting the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival as its first event in the area of many to come. Attendees can also enjoy theater, art, dance, poetry and community as the festival is partnering with these community organizations: The Performance Project, Bing Arts Center, and Community Music School. In addition, Mercy Medical Center will be collecting new socks as a part of the Healthcare for the Homeless program. There will also be music workshops at the Community Music School beginning at noon with Charmaine Neville and Grace Kelly.
This event is a unique opportunity to promote Springfield as Western Massachusetts’ largest urban center and a sought out artistic/cultural destination. The festival aims to bring people from Springfield and the surrounding region together to foster connection, stimulate the local economy, and highlight positive initiatives contributing to the betterment of Springfield’s residents and uniting the city with the rest of the Pioneer Valley. There will be an Opening Party at the Bing Arts Center, Sumner Avenue, Springfield on August 8 at 8 p.m. with Jeremy Turgeon & Bonded.
This event was made possible in part by the support of MassMutual Financial Group, MGM Springfield, NAI Plotkin/One Financial Plaza, and Mercy Medical Center. For more information log on to www.SpringfieldJazzFest.com.

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