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Lake George Jazz Weekend celebrates its 30th with a stellar lineup

Award-winning, innovative bassist Ben Williams performs with a member of his Quintet 'Sound Effect.' The group will be on stage at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Shepard Park, Lake George during the two-day Lake George Jazz Weekend, set for Saturday Sept. 14 and Sunday Sept. 15. Seven acclaimed jazz groups will be performing in a lineup that starts at 1 p.m. both days. A highlight of the festival is a special performance at 7 p.m. Saturday evening featuring the legendary vibraphone master Gary Burton.

Award-winning, innovative bassist Ben Williams performs with a member of his Quintet 'Sound Effect.' The group will be on stage at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Shepard Park, Lake George during the two-day Lake George Jazz Weekend, set for Saturday Sept. 14 and Sunday Sept. 15. Seven acclaimed jazz groups will be performing in a lineup that starts at 1 p.m. both days. A highlight of the festival is a special performance at 7 p.m. Saturday evening featuring the legendary vibraphone master Gary Burton.

— LThe region’s premier jazz festival returns Saturday Sept. 14 and Sunday Sept. 15 with a strong lineup of musicians for its 30th annual edition.

For three decades, the Lake George Jazz Weekend has presented innovative, acclaimed jazz performers in the scenic outdoor setting of Shepard Park.

The stellar lineup for 2013 includes special appearance by legendary master vibraphonist Gary Burton, award-winning, innovative bassist Ben Williams, and Grammy-nominee woodwind master David Liebman & his big band, as well as central New York favorite Brian Patneaude Quartet. Patneaude has been named “Best Jazz artist” in the Capital Region.

The Lake George Jazz Weekend, presented by the Lake George Arts Project, is celebrating its 30th edition this year.

LGAP Director John Strong offered his thoughts this week about the festival, that has captured a loyal following since it was launched in 1984. Since then, it’s earned a reputation of offering the finest musicians in the jazz world performing in an intimate outdoor venue.

“For a lot of people, jazz is not an easy thing to love — listening to jazz takes work. There’s quite a difference experiencing it live.” Strong said.

Strong, a singer/songwriter in the roots-rock idiom, said he was impressed by how the crowd at the Lake George Jazz weekend is so attuned to the musicians’ work.

“It boggles my mind listening to the jazz — and see how our audience interacts with it intellectually,” he said. “The festival annually has such a knowledgeable, sophisticated, appreciative crowd.”

Recalling the uncertainty in early 1984 about how the festival would take hold here, Strong said he was pleased with the strong following the festival has generated.

“Lake George is not historically been a jazz community. Surrounded by otherwise tourist-oriented activities here in the village, to bring such a high-quality cultural event to Lake George is a big accomplishment,” he said. “I take pride in the fact that great jazz is happening here in Lake George.”

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