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Jazz fest brings lively music to Old Town
Posted: August 03, 2011 - 11:48 AM
Lansing's 17th annual JazzFest returns Friday, bringing two days of lively jazz music to the heart of Old Town.
"Jazz encompasses a wide range of sounds," said Mike Skory, who is on the JazzFest coordinating committee, serves as president of the Capital Area Blues Society and plays in local blues band Freddie Cunningham and the Root Doctor.
Beginning 4 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday, Turner Street and Grand River Avenue in Old Town will be filled with soulful music, happy faces, joyful families and vendors selling food, beverages, art, clothing and crafts. As always, the event is free.
Headliners this year include Dr. E, Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystal Quartet, The Tyrone Johnson Funk Fusion Group, Los Gatos and Straight Ahead.
Performers hail from Lansing, the Midwest and far beyond.
"We mix up the best local talent, and from there, we have some Detroit and Grand Rapids musicians, and our headliners are national and international," Skory said.
Dr. E headlines the Jackson National Stage Friday. Powerhouse vocalist Elaine Richardson, who has a doctorate from Michigan State University, fronts the Cleveland group.
Saturday brings Ann Arbor-based musician Pete Siers and his band Los Gatos. The Latin jazz quartet headlines the MessageMakers stage. "He's played the festival several times with different acts, and we love to have him," Skory said.
Chicago's Nicole Mitchell, a world-known jazz flautist, also plays Saturday.
Regional talent comes from Straight Ahead, who bring a Detroit feel to their jazz with funk, rhythm and power. "I like them because they represent Detroit very well," Skory said.
Find more information on the performers at http://jazzlansing.com.
Families, musicians love the festival
Skory says JazzFest has built up a reputation nationally over the years.
"The acts we get are musicians that are working at their craft right, who didn't have a hit years ago," he said. "These aren't tribute bands. They're working at their jazz or at their blues. Because of that, this festival has always been a favorite of musicians."
Aside from the music, JazzFest is just plain fun.
"It's a big party in the street where you can dance, listen to funky Latin music, check out the art galleries, eat some good food and walk around," Skory said. "There's a lot of freedom in the streets, and that's what we encourage."
One of the most popular areas at JazzFest is the Kidz Corner. Parents and kids are welcome to come and take part in an "instrument petting zoo," thanks to Elderly Instruments.
This year, the zoo is bigger than ever.
"People love it," Skory said. "Kids are allowed to play with the instruments, and experts show them how to play, make noises and even make their own instruments."
Gallery 1210 in Old Town hosts intimate lectures and workshops both days.
Above all, JazzFest is about bringing together the community and offering a full weekend of entertainment that's absolutely free.
"My favorite thing every year is to watch the committee that's worked hard on this all year, and just to see them enjoy the festival, along with the entire city," Skory said. "I also love watching people talking to each other and walking around and seeing friends during the weekend.
"It's a lively festival."
• What: 17th annual Lansing JazzFest
• When: 4 p.m.-midnight Friday; 1 p.m.-midnight Saturday
• Where: It centers around Turner Street at Grand River Avenue in Old Town
• How much? It's free! No cover charge for the beverage tent (ages 21 and over) between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. $5 cover charge for the beverage tent starting at 6 p.m. Friday.
• Chairs: Some are set up, but it's a good idea to bring your own, in case they fill up.
• Parking: Free. Continuous shuttles are available from the LCC lot. Handicapped-designated parking will be available on the south side of East Grand River near Turner. There is limited metered parking along Grand River Avenue, free from 6 p.m. through the weekend. Free unmetered parking is available on streets surrounding the festival area. Full details on accessibility can be found in the website.
• Riverboat: Patrons may park in the Lansing City Market's parking lot, with a $1 riverboat ride to the festival.
• Bicycle corral: On-site at JazzFest, right off the river trail. Patrons may "check" their bikes in for free, and it will be a monitored area.
• 4:30-6:30 p.m. Jeff Shoup Quartet featuring Tamara Mayers
• 7:30-9 p.m. Dave Sharp's Secret Seven
• 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. The Tyrone Johnson Funk Fusion Group
Jackson National Stage
• 6:30-7:30 p.m. Lisa Smith
• 9-10:30 p.m. Dr. E
• 7:30-8:30 pm Maeve Gilchrist
• 5-6 p.m. Dr. E: My Music & My Life
• 6:15-7:15 p.m. Elden Kelly Guitar Clinic
The Other Stage - 1215 Turner
• 6-10:30 p.m. - Friday Open Night Jam
• 12:45-1:45 p.m. Saginaw Area Youth Jazz Ensemble
• 2-3 p.m. Lanswingers & LCC Jazz Band
• 3-4 p.m. Ray Kamalay
• 5-6 p.m. Marcus Elliot Quartet
• 7:30-9 p.m. Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystal Quartet
• 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Los Gatos
Jackson National Stage
• 4-5 p.m. Peter Nelson Quartet
• 6-7:30 p.m. Elden Kelly & the Global Roots Jazz Collective
• 9-10:30 p.m. Straight Ahead
• 1-2 p.m. Children's Ballet Theatre
• 2-3 p.m. Happendance's Community Dance Project
• 5-6 p.m. PC Blues
• 6-7 p.m. Jeff Shoup Drum Clinic
• 7-8 p.m. Cory Allen Guitar Clinic
• 8-9 p.m. Pete Siers Music Clinic
• 4-5 p.m. Marion Hayden Clinic
• 5:30-6:15 p.m. Nicole Mitchell Clinic: What Is Free Jazz Improvisation and Composition?
• 6:30-7:30 p.m. Detroit Music Before Motown: A Survey of Jazz in Detroit, 1927-1961
The Other Stage - 1215 Turner
• 4-10:30 p.m. Roger Jones Trio
Read the LSJ article here.