HOLYOKE — The annual Holyoke Community College Jazz Festival returns for its 24th year on Friday, March 3, with bass player Avery Sharpe joining the Amherst Jazz Orchestra and members of the HCC jazz faculty for a big-band concert.
The show will begin at 8 p.m. in HCC’s Leslie Phillips Theater in the Fine & Performing Arts building on the main HCC campus, 303 Homestead Ave. The concert is free for HCC students, faculty, and staff, and $10 for the general public.
In addition to his work as a performer, Sharpe is a prolific composer, as well as a music educator and founder of the artist-owned record label JKNM Records. Sharpe’s most recent album was 400 in 2019. Released on JKNM, the album marked the 400th year since Africans were brought to U.S. shores in 1619.
“We’re very excited to welcome Avery Sharpe to HCC this year as guest artist for our annual jazz festival,” festival organizer and HCC Music Professor Bob Ferrier said. “He’s not only a great musician, but also a great teacher and a great human being.”
The Amherst Jazz Orchestra, led by trombonist David Sporny, has been a mainstay of the HCC Jazz Festival since the first one in 1998. This year’s concert will feature Sharpe performing with Amherst Jazz Orchestra and members of the HCC jazz faculty: Geoff Cunningham (on trumpet), Pete Grimaldi (on trumpet), and Robert Ferrier (on guitar).