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IF IT’S LABOR DAY WEEKEND, IT’S THE MONTY ALEXANDER JAZZ FESTIVAL
For Immediate Release: June 12, 2013
Contact: Don Buxton 410 819-0380 or Amy Steward 410 829-0436
The 2013 Monty Alexander Jazz Festival will open at the Avalon Theater in Easton, MD, on Friday, August 30, 2013 with a skyrocketing young saxophonist, Sharel Cassity, and close with a command performance by Dee Daniels singing jazz and gospel on Sunday, September 1. In between an intriguing reunion on Saturday afternoon will bring back the music of Dizzy Gillespie as Festival goers anticipate Monty Alexander’s signature concert on Saturday night, August 31. If it’s Labor Day Weekend in Easton, Maryland it’s the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival.
Legendary jazz pianist Monty Alexander, the Festival’s artistic director and namesake, headlines the Festival on Saturday night, August 31, at 8 p.m. with his electrifying music, which crisscrosses and fuses jazz roots, the American Songbook and the sounds of his native Jamaica. Alexander has performed and recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe and entertainment world: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, and Bobby McFerrin, among others. According to EJazzNews, between Alexander’s recordings Uplift and Harlem-Kingston Express Live, he dominated the US Radio Charts with three # 1 spots, all in the summer of 2011. EJazzNews describes Alexander’s new recording, Uplift 2, “Without fanfare or pretense, Monty Alexander continues to celebrate the aspects of directness and delight in jazz.”
The Festival, in its fourth year, is also known for introducing rising stars in the jazz scene. Saxophonist Sharel Cassity, who performs on Friday, August 30 at 8 p.m., is no exception. Cassity, an Oklahoma City native, attended The Juilliard School and New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. She tours the world performing jazz and original music and is quickly making waves on the New York jazz scene, including entertaining audiences at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Blue Note, NBC’s Rainbow Room, and the West Village bop stop Smalls. This year, she has completed a three-week European tour with the Dizzy Gillespie Afro Cuban Experience and participated in the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival in DC. According to J. Hunter, All About Jazz, “Sharel Cassity has the potential to be one of the leaders of this genre’s next generation.”
The tempo continues on Saturday afternoon as the Festival salutes John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie – one of the great American jazz trumpeters of all time, bandleader, composer and arranger. The concert on Saturday, August 31 at 3 p.m. includes performances by bassist John Lee, who played with Dizzy, and returning percussionist Chuck Redd, who toured with him in Africa, as well as renowned jazz artist Greg Gisbert, who will take the master’s turn on the trumpet. Lee was a member of Dizzy’s various bands including the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, the 70th Anniversary Big Band and the United Nation Orchestra until Dizzy’s passing in 1993. Currently, he is producing and directing the Dizzy Gillespie™Alumni All-Stars and the Dizzy Gillespie™All-Star Big Band. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Jazz Legacy Productions, a jazz based record label established in 2009. Chuck Redd, a Shore favorite, who will join Lee, has performed with the Charlie Byrd Trio and the Mel Torme All-Star Jazz Quintet, and has toured with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Dick Hyman, Frank Vignola, and Monty Alexander. The “Washington Post” admired Redd’s “melodic sparkle.”
Wrapping up the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival is returning jazz and gospel vocalist, Dee Daniels, who will be joined by a local community choral group on Sunday, August 1 at 2 p.m. Daniels, whose international presence is growing, performed at the Jus Jazz Festival in New Delhi and Mumbai, India and with the Air Jazz Quintet of Perm, Russia. She also was featured at the Duke Ellington Sacred Music Concert, in Victoria, British Columbia and helped close out the 30-year running of the Langs de Lijn Jazz Club in Bussum, Netherlands. Her new CD, produced on the long-standing Dutch label, Criss Cross Jazz Records, will debut in September 2013. Dee Daniels is a unique talent who transcends musical borders when she brings her jazz styling, infused with gospel and blues flavoring, to the stage. One critic says, “Daniels’ voice has a hypnotic quality, delivering an impressive range that gives the romantic songs and verse of 50 years ago new life and raw emotion.”
The Festival is presented by Jazz on the Chesapeake, a program of Chesapeake Chamber Music, and will be held at Easton’s historic Avalon Theatre. The Avalon Theatre’s intimate setting and the lineup of world class artists make The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival an Eastern Shore destination for Labor Day weekend. Weekend packages are available at Easton’s Tidewater Inn and the Tidewater Inn will once again join in the festivities by offering a Jazz Brunch on Saturday, August 31 at 11 a.m. (http://www.tidewaterinn.com/).
A Festival Pass will be available for $140 for premium seats, $110 for orchestra seats, and $65 for balcony seats. All Festival Passes include entrance to the Sunday concert. For further information or to purchase tickets for the Festival visit www.chesapeakejazz.org or call the CCM office at 410-819-0380.