Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good Music, Good Cause

Summer can now officially begin - The 18th Annual Hot Steamed Jazz Festival takes place this weekend (6/25-27) on the grounds of the Essex Steam Train, right off Exit 3 of Route 9 South.

As usual, the committee has put together a "killer" lineup.  Festival favorites such as Dan Levinson (pictured), Bob Seeley and the Galvanized Jazz Band play alongside newcomers like Cangelosi Cards and the duo of Bolcom & Morris.  And there's more where they came from.  4 separate sessions (Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday afternoon) will showcase musicians young and old.  The music takes place under several tents (so the show goes on rain or shine) and it's all for a good cause.  All the proceeds (after expenses) go to Paul Newman's Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, CT, a place for young people with serious illnesses or diseases can have a "summer camp" experience. It's quite a place with a wonderful staff but it costs plenty of money every year to keep it running.

Other artists scheduled to appear include Kevin Dorn's Big 72Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band, Annette St. John, The Festival All-Stars with Ray Skalski, and the Sugarfoot Youth Jazz Band (an ensemble made up of talented young musicians from Connecticut under the direction of Art Hovey.)

The above-mentioned Levinson will appear, at least, twice - first, he'll be heard with the James Langston's New York All-Star Band and then he'll present an interesting program called "The Three Benny Opera", a salute to Benny Goodman featuring 3 clarinetists. 

William Bolcom is, most certainly, one of the United States most eclectic composers. He's created operas, symphonies, sonatas, cabaret songs and "modern" rags.  Along with his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, he's organized a program of "popular songs" from the early years of "Tin Pan Alley", songs that have heart and humor and a taste of history. The duo will appear in the Saturday evening program and there's a possibility Bolcom will also share the state with the great boogie-woogie pianist Bob Seeley.  No matter when he's playing, the music will be great fun.

Sunday's session will start with a Gospel Service at 10:30 a.m., led by Reverend Josh Crowell and featuring Ms. St. John, Seeley and the Festival All-Stars. That event is free and open to the public.  For ticket information, go to www.hotsteamedjazz.com or call 1-800-348-0003. 

Go have fun and do it for a good cause.

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