Live Jazz “pop up” in August as part of the Central Mass Jazz Fest
WORCESTER – The Central Mass Jazz Fest has filled in the dates and locations of its free “live jazz pop-up concerts” with well-known and up-and-coming artists performing live to complement the event’s virtual lineup.
From noon to 3 pm on August 3 at Worcester Beer Garden, 64 Franklin St., CMFJ will present “JAZZ SOUP Pop Up Jazz Jam” with jazz guitarist Al Vaudreuil; big band notables Joe Reidy and Peter McNeaney; and Jazzed Up Trio.
The series continues with a concert from noon to 3:30 pm on August 11 at Belmont AME Zion Church, 55 Illinois St., with Michelle Willson and Pamela Hines; Groove Isosceles; and members of the Belmont AME Zion Gospel Choir.
The final “Pop-Up” performance will take place from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm on August 19 at Chashu Ramen & Izakaya, 38 Franklin St., with Jazzed Up Trio and special guest Bill Fanning.
“There will be artists on stage here who will literally travel the world and perform in the region,” said Mauro DePasquale, organizer of the Central Mass Jazz Fest. “We also have a group of young local musicians – Isosceles Groove – who will entertain and demonstrate that they too are world class with a great musical career ahead of them.
Joe Reidy and Peter McNeaney perform with Mike Girard’s Wachusett Jazz Quartet and Big Swing Thing.
Pamela Hines and Michelle Willson host popular radio shows on 90.5 WICN. Plus, both are highly regarded musicians – Hines as a pianist and Willson as a singer. However, they have never performed together before, DePasquale said.
For the August 11 concert, they will be joined by a distinguished rhythm section known as “The Martys” – Marty Ballou and Marty Richards. The performance will include a selection of Great American Songbook tracks ranging from “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to “Whatever Lola Wants.”
Trumpeter, composer and teacher Bill Fanning gives concerts and runs clinics in the United States and abroad and has performed with the Artie Shaw Band, Benny Goodman Tribute Band, Max Carl and the Big Dance Horns with Glenn Frey , and performed with the Nelson Enigma Orchestra.
The Central Mass Jazz Fest is a fundraiser (with sponsors) for the WCCA TV public access television station and media center, 415 Main St., where DePasquale is executive director.
The event is also intended to be a highlight for music lovers and to show the WCCA’s commitment to Worcester’s cultural renaissance.
DePasquale is also an avid jazz enthusiast, musician and composer, and pianist of the Jazzed Up Trio, which has won numerous local awards.
The festival kicked off in June 2019, as a free one-day event at Cristoforo Colombo Park (East Park) on Shrewsbury Street. Last year the festival was reportedly expanded and held in downtown Worcester Common, but it fell victim to the pandemic.
For 2021 the festival is back as a hybrid event
As previously announced, on June 14, several artists came to the WCCA TV studios to record sets for the Main Event of the Central Mass Jazz Fest which will air on WCAA TV channels September 6-10.
The performances were broadcast live on Cable Channel 194 and on social media in mid-June. The live broadcast was taped and is currently being packaged as a series of performances to be shown in full ensembles, including interviews with the artists, DePasquale said.
Acts include Triangulation with Mitch Seidman; the Greg Abate Quartet; The Bill Fanning Trio; Jazz trio; and the Donna Byrne Quartet.
Triangulation jazz guitarist Mitch Seidman has been described by Just Jazz Guitar Magazine as “fearless, letting his solo go where it needs to go musically, breaking through barlines and cranking up the intensity throughout.”
Greg Abate is an internationally renowned saxophonist, flutist and jazz composer.
Donna Byrne has been invited by Tony Bennett to open several of his shows in the United States and abroad, most notably at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The performances will be broadcast on WCCA TV Worcester Cable Channel 194, wccatv.com, Facebook Live and Roku (Worcester TV).
DePasquale said, “All events are free to the public thanks to the generosity of the sponsors who make this possible. I would like to thank the generosity of the Worcester Arts Council and the Mass Cultural Council, David French Music, Berkshire Bank, Thermalogic, Worcester Family Eye Care, the Kirby Foundation as well as the host venues, The Worcester Beer Garden, Belmont AME Zion Church and Chashu Ramen + Izakaya, as well as individual donors. Thank you.”