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Lake George jazz fest this weekend

The Don Byron New Gospel Quintet, led by acclaimed jazz clarinetist, saxophonist and composer Don Byron, will be one of the headliners at this year's Lake George Jazz Weekend, set for Saturday Sept. 17 and Sunday Sept. 18 in Shepard Park. Scheduled to take the stage Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Byron and his quintet offer up a powerful, high-energy blend of funky, jazzy gospel  music.

The Don Byron New Gospel Quintet, led by acclaimed jazz clarinetist, saxophonist and composer Don Byron, will be one of the headliners at this year's Lake George Jazz Weekend, set for Saturday Sept. 17 and Sunday Sept. 18 in Shepard Park. Scheduled to take the stage Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Byron and his quintet offer up a powerful, high-energy blend of funky, jazzy gospel music.

— The region’s premier jazz festival returns next weekend with a strong lineup of musicians.

For more than a quarter century, the Lake George Jazz Weekend has presented innovative, acclaimed jazz performers in the attractive outdoor setting of Shepard Park.

This year’s lineup is no exception.

The Osmany Paredes Quartet kicks off the weekend at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, followed by John Ellis & Double-Wide, and the Grace Kelly Quintet. The afternoon sets end at about 6 p.m.

Saturday evening beginning at 7:30 p.m., the Don Byron New Gospel Quintet is onstage.

Sunday Sept. 18, the music resumes at 1 p.m. with Charles Cornell Quartet, followed by Apex: Rudresh Mahanthappa & Bunky Green; then the Kyle Eastwood Band.

Cuban-born Paredes is a pianist and composer and whose style blends classical-tinged jazz with his Afro-Cuban rhythmic heritage. The Boston Globe has said he is a “thrilling player” who combines percussive attack with a “vivid harmonic imagination."

John Ellis & Double-Wide will be offering classic soul and funk, jam-band groove and improvisation with a New Orleans flair.

Saxophonist, composer and vocalist Grace Kelly, 19, who has appeared with Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr., has been named a rising star on the sax.

Don Byron is a woodwind performer and composer who has been repeatedly voted as best clarinetist since he was honored at Best Jazz Artist by DownBeat in 1992.

Charles Cornell, a recent graduate of Hartford high school, has captured regional attention as a prodigy on the jazz piano.

Rudresh Mahanthappa has won a variety of top international awards as top alto saxophonist in recent years. He has teamed up with Bunk Green for a collaboration hailed by Jazz Times.

The weekend performances end with the Kyle Eastwood Band, featuring bassist-composer Kyle Eastwood of California, son of actor Clint Eastwood. He cites the influence of Count Basie and Miles Davis.

Eastwood’s second album Paris Blue climbed to No. 1 on the French jazz charts. His compositions for film include pieces for Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, and Invictus.

The rain site for the performances is the Lake George High School auditorium, northwest of Shepard Park on Canada St.

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