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 Thursday, 24 April 2014
15th Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 24 August 2007

Chico Hamilton © Todd Boebel
City Parks Foundation is proud to announce the 15th Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. For one music-filled weekend in August, Marcus Garvey and Tompkins Square Parks draw jazz lovers from across the region to celebrate the famous saxophonist. The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival is set to take place on Saturday, August 25 at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, and Sunday, August 26 at Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, in the neighborhoods where Parker lived and worked.

The festival assembles some of the finest musicians in the world who reflect on Parker's musical individuality and genius to promote appreciation for this highly influential and world-renowned artist. The 15th Annual festival will offer an extraordinary line-up including legendary vocalist Abbey Lincoln, drummer Chico Hamilton, pianist Marc Cary, vocalist Lezlie Harrison, saxophonist Todd Williams and trumpeter Maurice Brown.

Last seasons’ festival was set to feature Chico Hamilton in celebration of his 85th birthday; unfortunately, an untimely illness cancelled those plans. This year, Hamilton’s drumming will shake up the bandstand on both the Saturday and Sunday programs. Hamilton represents an extraordinary link to jazz history: in the ‘40s he played with up-and-comers like Dexter Gordon and Charles Mingus; as a member of Gerry Mulligan’s quartet in the ‘50s, he helped give birth to cool jazz; and with his own quintet in the late ‘50s, he broke racial and stylistic boundaries.

Image
Abbey Lincoln

Abbey Lincoln, who turns 77 this August, is one of the last great jazz singers. With nearly sixty years of experience, she’s honed her voice to expressive perfection, achieving a depth and emotive power that few can equal. In addition to being a master interpreter, Lincoln is also an accomplished songwriter. On her new album “Abbey Sings Abbey,” released May 22, she revisits originals from her classic Verve records investing them with new meaning and varied shadings.

Known for his work with Abbey Lincoln and Stefon Harris, Marc Cary is one of the most original pianists on the jazz scene. He’s not afraid to let his artistic impulses take him in unexpected directions: as a leader, he’s put out acoustic trio records under the name Focus, organized the world music collective Indigenous Peoples and even explored electronica on a project called Rhodes Ahead. Entertainment Weekly has praised Cary’s “expansive vision of mainstream jazz," noting that he “packs a devastating punch.”

New York native Lezlie Harrison’s voice has a dusky soulfulness which complements her chosen repertoire of jazz, '70s classic soul and original material. Raised in Harlem during a time when African-American and Latin music styles were in full flower, she also spent a great deal of her childhood in North Carolina, singing in the choir of her grandfather’s church. This deep grounding in gospel, blues, Latin and soul can be heard every time Harrison sings and has led people like Roy Hargrove and Dr. Lonnie Smith to seek out her sultry and sensual presence on the bandstand.

Todd Williams started making music early: he took up saxophone when he was 10, was a star of the local St. Louis high school and university marching bands by 15, and had introduced himself to Wynton Marsalis at 16. He was playing in the great trumpeter's band a few years later. A veteran of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and a neo-traditionalist seeped in the history of jazz, Williams brings an extra spiritual dimension to his sound. A long association with the Times Square Church and the Manhattan Praise Band insures that gospel is never far from Williams' heart.

Maurice Brown
Maurice Brown


Trumpeter Maurice Brown is the most talked-about young horn man since Nicholas Payton first emerged in the ‘90s. The 26-year-old Chicago native started playing in high school and almost immediately showed himself to be a prodigy. His 2005 album Hip To Bop earned him raves like this one from Downbeat: “Brown is one of the most exciting young trumpeters in jazz--be it New Orleans or New York. His improvisations are fresh, his chops dynamic and he’s writing what could very well become a new generation of hard-bop-meets-new-grooves standards.”

Special thanks to our sponsors and media partners who include: Bloomberg, ConEdison, Health Plan of New York, JPMorgan Chase, The New York State Music Fund, The City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, NYSCA, National Endowment for the Arts, Forest City Ratner Companies, Time Out New York, Time Warner Cable, Jazz 88.3 WBGO, and NY Moves Magazine.


Each day, the festival begins at 3:00 p.m.

Marcus Garvey Park - Saturday, August 25th

  • Abbey Lincoln
  • Chico Hamilton
  • Marc Cary
  • Lezlie Harrison


Tompkins Square Park - Sunday, August 26th

  • Abbey Lincoln
  • Chico Hamilton
  • Todd Williams
  • Maurice Brown


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