Jazz Weekend hosts strong lineup for 25th year

LAKE GEORGE Marking its silver anniversary of bringing innovative, eclectic live jazz to the North Country, the Lake George Jazz Weekend is hosting a varied lineup ofmusicians Saturday and Sunday in its annual two-day lakeside festival. Among the performers scheduled are acclaimed jazz/cabaret singer Marilyn Mae, leading steel drum performer Andy Narell , and a nationally noted trombonist Roswell Rudd all in the festivals scenic, intimate lakeside setting in Shepard Park. The music starts at about 1 p.m. and lasts until 6 p.m. Sunday, and 9 p.m. Saturday. Presented by the Lake George Arts Project, there is no admission charge. The rain site is the Lake George High School Auditorium on Canada St. On Saturday, Marilyn Maye takes the stage. Her career is a litany of awards, and landmark achievements, having performed in cabarets, theaters and on dozens of television shows including a record 76 appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Maye will be accompanied by a trio headed up by pianist Tedd Firth of Hudson Falls, who currently lives and performs in New York City. Peter Nero, conductor of the Philadelphia Pops, says Maye is incomparable. Marilyn Maye sets the standard for what any jazz, pop, or big band singer would like to sound like, he said. Following Maye is acclaimed trombonist Roswell Rudd, known primarily for his work in free and avant-garde jazz although he is accomplished in all jazz styles. Since 1962 Rudd has worked extensively with Archie Shepp. The Renowned Jazz afficionado Nat Hentoff and Village Voice Critic Gary Giddins have both praised Rudd for his work. Giddins said Rudd "demonstrates a revitalization of expressive techniques and dynamic sensitivity, " in his work, and calls him a transitional figure in jazz. Rudds band, Shout, is comprised of three trombones, bass, tuba, and drums. Later Saturday afternoon, Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers take the stage. In the 1960s, Henry "Pucho" Brown helped pioneer a style termed Latin boogaloo, which mixed jazz, New York-style Latin music, R&B/soul, and the sort of funk that was just emerging from James Brown. Pucho wasn't afraid to mix up styles on his LPs, which included music by Brown and the Latin Soul Brothers next to covers of tunes by Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, the Beatles, and Duke Ellington. Saturday at 8 p.m. the Andy Narell Group is featured. Over the course of 11 solo albums and 2 more as co-leader of the Caribbean Jazz Project (with Paquito D'Rivera and Dave Samuels), Andy Narell has pioneered the role of the steel pan in contemporary music. He has recorded with artists as diverse as Chucho Valdes, Bela Fleck, Aretha Franklin, Toto, and David Rudder, and has performed as a featured guest with Dr. Billy Taylor, Irakere, Tito Puente, and Freddie Hubbard. As a bandleader he has played hundreds of concerts and jazz festivals throughout the world. The groups performance is followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, jazz pianist Lee Shaw kicks off the program. Shaw began playing piano in nightclubs in Chicago, sharing bills with Anita ODay, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. On the job training and study with the great Oscar Peterson turned Shaw into the first-rate jazz pianist she later became. She has had her own trio for more than 40 years, during which time she has throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. Drummer Cindy Blackman follows Shaw. Blackman began her musical career as a New York street performer. She has been seen and heard by millions of people all over the world performing with her own group and during her 11-year stint with retro funk-rocker Lenny Kravitz. Cindy has been touted as "one of the hottest drummers in the business. Wrapping up th weekend is the Either/Orchestra, a ten-piece jazz ensemble - two trumpets, trombone, three saxophones, piano, acoustic bass, drums and congas, based in Cambridge Mass. E/O combines the agility and freedom of a jazz combo, the raw power and subtle coloring of a jazz orchestra and the deep grooves of Afro-Latin music, according to the Washington Post. . "Its one of the jazz world's most gifted and adventurous big bands....one that can embrace supple Latin jazz, sinewy blues, sly funk and slippery world-beat rhythms," they said.

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