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Jazz Festival welcomes new major sponsor, will continue for 26th year

LAKE GEORGE The Lake George Jazz Weekend, which for a quarter-century has brought innovative, cutting-edge jazz to a lakeside venue here, has for some months been dwelling under a financial storm cloud. Earlier this year, John and Marilyn Breyo, which sponsored the festival for more than 13 years, announced they were moving out of the area and their support would be ending in 2008. They had contributed $200,500 to the Jazz weekend over those years. But at the Jazz festivals 2008 event held two weeks ago, another couple stepped forward and pledged major support, festival organizer John Strong said Tuesday. After listening to an appeal from Jazz Weekend pillar Paul Pines, Ken and Susan Gruzkin of Pilot Knob approached Strong and Pines and offered support at a similar level as the Breyos. Strong, director of the Lake George Arts Project, said this pledge would assure the continuation of the Jazz weekend, which has for 25 years attracted jazz enthusiasts and showcased the idioms finest in an incomparable setting. This represents a lot of relief for us now we can breathe easier, knowing we can keep this program going, Strong said, adding that the pledge was a pleasant surprise. Its outstanding to have people step forward that are not only excited about jazz, but want to doing something substantial like this for the whole community. Not long before the Gruzkins made their offer, Pines said he was nostalgic about the festivals 25-year run and didnt want to see it end. An author and former jazz club owner, Pines has annually chosen the lineup of musicians. Over the years, weve developed an audience that understands various genres of jazz from swing to the avante garde, he said. We've always featured the hip and innovative, the real names who are making the music what it is. Legendary trombonist Roswell Rudd finished his set that Saturday and watched the crowd listen intently to latin-tinged jazz. Youve got a remarkable audience that really appreciates jazz, and a venue thats a great inspiration, he said. To be a part of this unity is why such musicians do what they have to do to get here and play.

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