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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Brilliant Line-Up at the SummerStage Charlie Parker Jazz Festival | Arts Entertainment | Epoch Times

Brilliant Line-Up at the SummerStage Charlie Parker Jazz Festival | Arts Entertainment | Epoch Times (New York City)
On a late summer afternoon in the city, temperatures outside were probably enough to melt asphalt, but that did not stop local jazz lovers from leaving the comfort of their air-conditioned homes and congregating at Tompkins Square Park in East Village for the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, an annual two-day musical festivity in celebration of the bebop legend Charlie “Yardbird” Parker.
The festival takes place in two neighborhoods in the city where Parker lived and worked throughout his career, Harlem and the East Village downtown.
A large crowd gathered in Tompkins Square Park in East Village on Aug. 29 to listen to great jazz musicians pay tribute to the legendary Charlie Parker. (Annie Wu/The Epoch Times)
At the show on Sunday, Aug. 29, the line-up was as strong as ever, and offered audiences a diverse taste of jazz, from hard bop ensemble The Cookers, to the innovative and groovy Vijay Iyer Trio, the brainchild of self-taught jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer. The rich, powerful vocals of Jimmy Scott and contemporary singer Catherine Russell rounded out the evening.
Hard bop ensemble The Cookers wows audiences with their incredible musical prowess. (Annie Wu/The Epoch Times)
The show began with Russell, who sang bluesy tunes like “Troubled Waters” and “Spoonful” from her latest album, Inside This Heart of Mine, in her distinctively smooth and soulful voice, prompting the crowd to sway along as she seemed to churn out her notes effortlessly.
Catherine Russell sings tunes from her latest album, 'Inside This Heart of Mine,' with her distinctively versatile and soulful voice. (Annie Wu/The Epoch Times)
Next, The Cookers performed, with each artist showing incredible prowess in their playing. Billy Harper was on tenor saxophone, Eddie Henderson and David Weiss on trumpet, Craig Handy on alto saxophone, George Cables on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Billy Hart on drums.
Vijay Iyer’s trio then came on, with Iyer on the piano, Marcus Gilmore on drums and Stephan Crump on bass. Iyer’s spirited piano playing, coupled with the groovy rhythms and fiercely intense pizzicato of his two colleagues, made Iyer’s complex compositions come to life seamlessly, impelling the audience to tap their feet with them too.
The festival closed with Jimmy Scott, a jazz vocalist of the '50s and '60s, remembered for his distinctively high-pitched voice and emotional renditions. He recorded with many jazz greats, including Ray Charles and the festival’s namesake (in Parker’s album, Embraceable You.) At the age of 85, Scott continues to perform and wow audiences with his powerful voice.
The festival is part of the SummerStage series hosted by the City Parks Foundation to provide free access to arts and cultural programs in the city’s green spaces.
For more information on upcoming SummerStage events, please visit

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