City of New Haven Announces 25th Anniversary Jazz Festival Lineup
(6/29/2006) Planning the anniversary party celebrating 25 years of live, free jazz is no small feat. But the City of New Haven is up to the challenge. At least, that was the buzz around the room from the attendees of the media conference and official kick-off at CHOW restaurant today.
As a staple event in the community, this year’s Citizens Bank New Haven Jazz Festival presented by Casey Family Services is ready to bring an unbelievable roundup of all-star performers to the City’s historic Green for its 25th year.
Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. kicked off the 25th anniversary festival with an enthusiastic grin. “Each year, the New Haven Jazz Festival’s popularity, exposure and audience continue to grow,” said Mayor DeStefano. “The continued support from our sponsors has helped make the Festival possible—not to mention drawing thousands of visitors to downtown New Haven on Saturdays in August. It has really put New Haven on the map as a destination that’s not to be missed.”
The 2006 Jazz Festival will include legendary and red-hot performers Dave Brubeck, Jonny Lang, Kool & the Gang, Tito Puente Jr., T.S. Monk and Blue Orchid Orchestra. The activities begin on Saturday August 5 at 4 pm and run for three consecutive Saturdays on the Chapel Street end of the Lower Green. Headliner performers start at 6:30 pm. Each week boasts their own special theme—August 5 is A Night of Classic Jazz, Dance Under the Stars on August 12 and the Festival culminates in a 25th Anniversary Celebration on August 19.
“For the 25th anniversary we decided to dramatically increase our performer budget to sign-on six headliners giving concert-goers even more reasons?and music?to head to the Festival,” said Barbara Lamb, Director of New Haven Festivals, Inc.
Joining the Mayor were the Title and Presenting Sponsors—Citizens Bank of Connecticut President and CEO, Richard Barry and Ann Sullivan, Deputy Executive Director for Field Operations, standing in for Casey Family Services Executive Director, Raymond Torres. Other local dignitaries and business people were among the crowd who gathered to help unveil the performers and kick-off summer in the Elm City.
“For the past 25 years our jazz festival has been a catalyst that’s helped transform New Haven into the cultural capital of Connecticut,” said Mayor John DeStefano Jr.
As one of the nation’s longest-running free outdoor music celebrations, the Citizens Bank New Haven Jazz Festival presented by Casey Family Services is a truly historic concert series that has hosted Grammy award-winning jazz icons such as Ray Charles in 2001, when an estimated 30,000 people gathered on the New Haven Green to experience his classic hits. The Green has also hosted greats like Arturo Sandoval, Celia Cruz, Nancy Wilson and Isaac Hayes in recent years. Historically, attendance over the three-week Festival totals an estimated 50,000 – 75,000.
The Jazz on the Green Concert Series Sponsors include AT&T, think creative group and the New Haven Register. In addition, IKEA is sponsoring the Kool & the Gang concert and additional financial support comes from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.
Again this year the music doesn’t stop at the Green. Jazz in the Parks presented by Empower New Haven features some of Connecticut’s best musicians and will be held on five consecutive Thursday nights starting July 20 in neighborhood parks around New Haven. Children’s activities start at 6 pm and concerts run 7-9 pm. Supporting sponsors include Yale-New Haven Hospital, Yale University and Winstanley Enterprises with media sponsor WYBC 94.3FM. The Parks series is jointly produced by the Office of Cultural Affairs, Jazz Haven, The Arts Council of Greater New Haven and the City’s Dept of Parks, Recreation and Trees.
New Collaborations for the 25th Anniversary Jazz Festival
In an effort to bring even more jazz to the City on more days, the Festival is partnering with New Haven businesses to provide more venues and more types of jazz. Jazz in the Clubs will take place at a dozen restaurants and nightclubs around the City on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during the first three weeks in August. Criterion Cinemas will present jazz-themed movies on Friday and Saturday evenings and 11am on Sundays for Jazz at the Movies. And Jazz Brunches may be enjoyed at Anna Liffeys and Scoozi on Sundays.
In addition, the Music Library at Yale University, 120 High Street, will present “A Jazz Collection,” an exhibition of original artifacts taken from library’s holdings relating to Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and other jazz greats. The ongoing exhibition of the New England Jazz Alliance Hall of Fame, currently in the lobby of the Shubert Theater, will continue through the end of the Festival, with a closing reception planned for Wednesday, August 16th at 5 pm.
And for the first time ever the Festival is offering up a one night only Jazz Dinner Cruise in New Haven Harbor on Friday, August 11 from 7-11 pm. The elegant yacht Mystique will sail from Long Wharf Pier for an evening of extravagant dining, wining, schmoozing and dancing to the sounds of August 12th’s performers—the Blue Orchid Orchestra— for a limited audience of 200 people.
The Full Festival Package
Working in coordination with the Greater New Haven Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Jazz Festival is offering travel package to visitors through Travelocity. And to make it easier for the overnight visitor and locals alike, the Festival this year will be fully self-contained, encouraging people to enjoy everything downtown New Haven has to offer—shops, museums, restaurants, nightclubs and other cultural attractions. With special parking offers in downtown lots after 4 pm, audiences may come early and stay late without the hassle of lugging chairs and coolers to the Green. Starting each Saturday at 4 pm the Festival will open with live performances on a second stage, demonstrations of freestyle urban art, giveaways and displays while offering chair rentals, food vendors, Gourmet Boxed Dinners and a Jazz Café.
And with the continuation of last year’s four strategically placed giant screens, there’s not a bad seat in the house!
Commemorative Poster Contest winner announced
Along with announcing the performers, the winner of the Commemorative Poster Contest was also revealed at the kick-off. The 10-person panel of judges narrowed the entries down to 10 finalists from the call for entries that garnered more than 30 entries locally and internationally including submissions from Connecticut, Florida, Brazil and the United Kingdom. The winner—Louis Jefferson—is a native of Connecticut and is the youngest member of New Haven's newest art group ECCA Fine Artists. Jefferson's work has appeared in ARTS! a publication by the New Haven Arts Council, Paint Magazine and he has also designed a poster for Wynton Marsalis.
For more information, please call Ali Parmelee at 203.777.2800 or tap into newhavenjazz.com.