As you might imagine, with just under 30 days to go into YJF2012, things can get quite hectic pretty quickly - but I am blessed again to be able to work with the best team on earth!
Lyndsey Hughes, Event Coordinator for the city has guaranteed all of the necessary permits and despite a few setbacks with some road construction that will be taking place around the area when we hit July 7, there are more than enough detours to get into Harrison Common that won't affect parking at all. Also, this year's permits allow for the sale of adult beverages, but please be aware that you will not be able to bring your own personal containers onto The Common and as we continue to promote the Youngstown Jazz Fest as a Family Friendly Event for All Ages, we caution that you please consume responsibly.
Lori Factor, who handles the annual YSU's Summer Festival of The Arts, which envelopes YJF is completely on top of things, making sure that all of the "t's" are crossed and "i's" are dotted (including making sure I remain within budget!!) has her hands full with properly promoting the entire weekend where all of the city and our friends nearby has an awesome time for the best price possible - FREE!
The impenetrable Phil Moore, from the County's Convention and Visitor's Bureau (and also our largest contributor) has made sure those who are coming outside of the area have wonderful places to stay and a lot more to do and enjoy during their stay here.
A Very Special thanks goes out to Mike Naffah of Hampton Inn in Canfield, who so graciously provided rooms for our Special Guests! I will present more on him and our other sponsors as well as our superb volunteers and staff in my next blog!
In the meantime, check out the interviews with James Lloyd and Laura Varcho in the video section of this website. More Posting Soon!
Peace & Blessings!
I've just posted Part Two of my interview with James Lloyd of Pieces of a Dream. I truly appreciated the opportunity to sit down with him, knowing how busy his schedule was. James was generous is sharing the early days of POAD, What & WHO made him decide to settle down in the Youngstown Ohio area and the changes he's observed in the Music Industry. We are happy to present Piece of a Dream as our Special Guests and are anticipating a Magnificent Show!
The Energy is Building, Our Team is Electrified and the Buzz on the Street is heightening. It is really interesting to think that last year we only had five (5) weeks to prepare. We saw an opportunity and JUMPED on It. This year, what with the extended time and the strengthening of our association with the Mahoning County Visitor's Bureau, The City of Youngstown and YSU how wonderful an event we are planning for you. If you DIG Jazz of various genres and contexts, Harrison Common WILL BE the Only Place to Be!
On March 15th, we'll be announcing all of the Incredible Artists & Bands who'll be setting the evening on fire!
We are so grateful for all of the submissions we received and frankly had an exhausting time narrowing it down to the Fabulous Five we've selected - but of those who are hitting the stage, from the renown to those lesser known, Saturday July 7th WILL BE and Evening you won't soon forget.
Remember, the 2012 Youngstown Jazz Fest is a FREE, Family Friendly Event. If you remember last year, you should be taking every precaution to arrive early to get a good spot, because we are anticipating that those prime spaces will be gone. The Music Begins at 5pm.
Do I sound excited??
We are now into full production for this year's fest!
I could not be more delighted than to present Pieces of a Dream as our Special Guests. This band has 30 plus years as solid mainstays in the world of jazz with 18 HOT Albums to their credit, renown international tours and were handpicked by the late and still incredible Grover Washington, Jr as his first production unit while still in their early teens.
Keyboardist James Lloyd has been a member of the Youngstown Community for the past 13 years and we could think of no greater act to represent the height and variety of jazz in this area but the One & Only Pieces of a Dream.
I had the opportunity to sit down with James for about an hour today for an interview and am grateful for his candor, transparent spirit and delightful tales of growing up on the road. I've posted the first part of our interview for your enjoyment and I am sure you will appreciate his heart and energy as much as you do their music.
I'll be posting the second and third parts later this month.
By The Way, Artists & Bands still have until the 20th of this month to send in their links to email@example.com.
Peace & Blessings!
Happy New Year!
I Trust & Pray that you enjoyed a Blessed Holiday Season with Your Family and Friends!
The 2012 Youngstown Jazz Fest Committee has been meeting since September and now with the new year upon us, it's time to put the train on the tracks. We have been in dialogue with some great artists to headline this year's events and are whiddling down to the final choices. I am certain You'll be surprised and amazed at what We are preparing for You! We'll be making our announcement in just a few weeks...
BUT, The Youngstown Jazz Fest is about bringing You the absolute finest in Regional & Local Entertainment as well as the "Big Acts" - so here is the clarion call for all artists in or around the state of Ohio to send in your video links to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do it Today and include Your Contact information in the Email. Our incredible staff will be in touch with those who are incredible and we'll begin the process of getting You to The Stage!
Remember, as always the 2012 Youngstown Jazz Fest is a FREE Event and like last year, you will be able to bring your lawn chairs, blankets, coolers, umbrellas and fans because the Jazz is gonna be HOT!
While glancing out my window as I type this, I am very much looking forward to HOT!
Talk To Ya Soon!
Peace & Blessings!
We Are Completely Blown Away!!!!
and by this, we mean WOW!!
Everything was Perfect!
Perfect Weather, People, Attendance, Bands, Production Crew, Emcees, Atmosphere, Facilities, Volunteers...We can't think of one single thing that went wrong - or even threatened to disengage us from our task of putting on a great event!
You ___________________(insert your name) are to be commended and we applaud YOU!
Thank You for taking the chance on our first efforts to put on an event of this magnitude. We knew that the potential for this event could really be something Unique for the Youngstown Area, but to see and experience the overwhelming results are just absolutely encouraging!!
I would personally like to thank Lori Factor, Phil Moore & Lyndsey Hughes for the initial conversations and subsequently placing their trust in Niayana Recordings abilities to pull this off. There was never any pressure or tediousness on any of our parts - we made an excellent team even during moments that stretched us beyond what we thought we were capable of. With Lori having the added pressure of the two day Summer Arts Fest, she worked tirelessly to keep every T Crossed and Each "I" dotted - how excellent. (Uncle) Phil being the ultimate "Can Do" man was invaluable to the process and Lyndsey was not only the icing on the cake, but the strawberries too. Thank You So Very Much!
The Volunteers were & are second to none. Indescribable!! As I said on my Facebook Page, Dana Dumas, Dale Fisher, Adrian Watson, Rose Marie Mezzapeso, Rinky Rinko & Paul Oder led a Great Team & Are the Real Heroes of the Jazz Fest!
Brett & Tommy & Cindy and a few people I can't even name stepped up to the plate in the final seconds to make this event what it was and if we had a budget of millions, it would only be peanuts - as their Spirit, Professionalism, Expertise and Attention to detail were off the charts. I personally had nothing to worry about - for even one (1) second!!
The Artists: Phillip K Jones, Antoinette, Sam Blakeslee, Chico's Quintet and SounDoctrine - never mind the fact that I perform with SD - were all outrageous!! What tremendous caliber of music and excellent artistry was displayed. Those guys had so heated the stage that by the time SD donned our instruments, the atmosphere was electric!! Please - Triple Please - Visit each of these Artists websites, download their schedules and if you did not have a chance at the fest - please purchase and support their great music. Often for indie artists, CD Sales, Downloads & Performing are the ONLY way these musicians earn their living. So Thank You for doing all you can to support and encourage them (us)!!
Very Special Thanks to Catrell - who immediately became the percussionist for practically every band!! This guy can GO!! Initially he was a part of Antoinette's ensemble, but then Chico enlisted him for a tune and SounDoctrine agreed he should rock with us for the entire set - Thoroughly Amazing!!! Thanks Bro!
Let's talk about the Emcees for A Minute...as you may have known, we began to publicize very prominently that WKBN's Teresa Weakley was to Emcee our Event. Due to personal aspects beyond her control, she was unable to do so, but afforded us time during her 5PM broadcast to promote the fest. In addition, fellow anchor Dave Sess stepped right in to pinch hit on her behalf. As an added bonus, while we were looking to include a co-host for Dave, we were at a complete loss for the right person, preferably a personable woman who'd be able to engage & entertain the crowd during performance transitions. After a conversation with my eldest daughter about our predicament, she immediately offered, "Call Tara Amil." I was a little hesitant, due to the fact that although Tara had recorded and performed with SounDoctrine in the past, she's relatively private and prefers to remain in the background. "But," my daughter Tejai offered, "She is a Middle School Teacher, She HAS to hold their attention for eight hours a day, she speaks very well, is attractive and is enable to engage a crowd." So I called Tara (this was FRIDAY, mind you) - by virtue of the fact that she did not slam the phone down on me after the first 45 seconds, gave me a little confidence that she was in. After I sent her the script - we were on - and she was a COMPLETE NATURAL!! In fact, if I had not told this story here, no one would know that she had less than 24 hours to prepare for the event. Dave & Tara were perfect together - Another WOW!!
Speaking of Press & Promotion - Tremendous Thanks to Madonna Chism-Pinkard of WFMJ-TV21's "Community Connection," Andy Gray of The Tribune Chronicle & Town Criers, Guy D'Astalfo & John Cruz of The Youngstown Vindicator along with Morris Ray of 570 WKBN Radio and WKBN TV27 for the outstanding coverage you afforded us!!
Special Thanks to Mark Tirabassi & Hubbard Music and to Jimmy & The Crew for Providing the Sound Equipment, Backline and The Incredible Lights - Everything was done promptly & professionally and not ONE Technical Difficulty - AWESOME
Much Love to Kim N Hines of Onenessound who mixed the show and EVERYTHING was crystal clear - you could hear every single little tiny thing. Absolute Perfection!!
Thank Also to Forty Two Inc which supplied the much needed Scrim & Tarp to make the stage beautiful and to Showtyme Exhibits for the Risers and Tents that made all of the difference. Oh Yeah and THANK YOU to the People from the 5K Race who afforded us the opp to utilize the Portable Bathrooms for the comfort of every one concerned....need I say more?
YSU Parking and Additional Support Personnel, coupled with The Youngstown Police Department kept the order - but here's the beauty - Not ONE Single Incidence of ANY Drama. Not ONE Official Complaint. Not ONE Moment of Irritation from the time we arrived (around 9:30 AM for set up) until we Hubbard Music left the grounds well after midnight!
Obviously, we could not have even put a single band onstage or pay for any of the production without our Platinum Sponsor, Mr. Mike Naffah - owner of Inner Circle Pizza (Canfield) The Embassy & Hampton Inn & Suites (Canfield) and Our Gold Sponsor, Mr. Mike Olson of Olfield Graphics. Mr. Jerry Thompson of VOCAL fed our Artists & Crew and the Casesses Family owned MVR for supporting this major undertaking.
Again we are truly grateful!
What we are asking you to do is to post your comments here - Of Course, we'd like to make next year even bigger and a far better experience. We'd appreciate your suggestions on the schedule, the bands you'd like to see - being mindful that we are giving first consideration to Independent Bands - and anything you can think of that we might be able to improve upon - we welcome and encourage your input. By All Means - Follow Me on Twitter (Jere B) and Befirend Me on Facebook. I Always respond!
Finally, I want to personally thank My Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. I prayed over this event from day one. I asked for His Help, Guidance, Wisdom & Strength and was afforded it without fail or delay. I had peace that this event was successful and I give Him all The Glory for allowing me to be able to participate.
I look forward to seeing you again next year!!
I apologize in advance for this seemingly disjointed entry. The last 72 hours have been a bluuur. A Great Blur, but fuzzy nonetheless. It seems that once you've finalized your checklist, 200 other items instantly appear through osmosis...
But I digress - before I give you the latest, let me first thank Andy Gray of The Tribune Chronicle http://bit.ly/pVhFUw
and Guy D'Alstalfo of The Vindicator http://bit.ly/oHD3EZ
as well my good friend Mo Rae from 570 WKBN Radio (he was sitting in for Ron Verb) for the excellent coverage they have provided us. If I did not say so, the lovely Madonna Chism-Pinkard gave us maximum exposure on her show "Community Connection" this past Sunday on WFMJ-TV21...speaking of which, the SounDoctrine Trio (Cliff & Nate Barnes & myself) performed on their great (very) early Morning Show with the lively Mike Case on the property of YSU - and as I type this, I am prepping to appear on WKBN-TV27 to interview on their news show. Pray for me - because you have to be awake to talk on camera....
Here are some adjustments we are making for the show - by way of our MC, which was publicly announced in the papers, on the radio and on this blog that Ms. Teresa Weakley was to fill that position - well unfortunately, due to personal reasons beyond her control she won't be able to - BUT her sidekick, fellow anchor Dave Sess is filling in for her. We are excited about his involvement - he is no stranger to the music and has helped my company, Niayana Recordings in the past with public address. But the surprise is that we've partnered him with newcomer, the lovely and very energetic Tara Amill, who is a personal friend to SounDoctrine, Jazz and the local scene. They are going to make a great team and you are going to appreciate the twist of fate.
Finally, I guess it's cool to announce that the wonderful Kenny Blake is the surprise musician sitting in with SounDoctrine (since Guy from the Vindy pried it out of me to tell him...) We are so grateful to have this powerhouse of a musician with the band, Kenny is a Jazz Legend and the Stage is going to be that much hotter due to his fiery licks!
and a double finally (?) is that we are going to have a major musician jam at the conclusion of SounDoctrine's set, where all of the notable musicians from the area - as well as the preceding artists are going to turn it out and take us home!
Yeah - It's Gonna Be Live!!
Our Initial Endeavor for this First Annual Youngstown Jazz Fest was to feature the absolute finest in Independent Bands, while covering the wide genre of music that is Jazz. We did not want anyone to feel left out - nor did we want to compromise the integrity of this sacred art form. Latin Jazz is quickly becoming the hottest, most appreciated category in the spectrum of jazz artistry, although it too encompasses many styles within its framework, salsa, meringue, etc. You'd be hard pressed to not find anyone artist today who is not sprinkling a little salsa atop some of their arrangements. So we went after the heavy hitters.
While I was in conversation with Grammy Award Winner Roger Hatfield, who produced Antoinette's latest CD "Curious Life," I was telling him of my quest to secure a band that could wow the crowd - he simply said, "Call Chico's Quintet. Look No Further. Here's His Number." Well, let me tell you that within 48 hours, I was sold on Chico - as a person with a wonderful spirit, on his perspective of Latin Jazz AND on the band's SOUND. Precision, Awareness, Emotion & Feel - Each Exacting Qualities that make up a great Latin Band. Make No Mistake: You Don't Just Listen to Latin Jazz - You MOVE To It.
Chico's Quintet hales from Pittsburgh, although Chico himself grew up in Texas and bassist Chris Skelly & drummer Dave O'Brien are both from New York. Rounding Out the Band is pianist Kyle Oestreich and Mark Jackovic on Saxophone - both from Pennsylvania. The guys are students at Duquesne University (where Youngstown Native Professor Sean Jones now teaches). Each Member of Chico's Quintet is dedicated to the progression of the music and their debut CD, "Just Music" features a wide variety of rhythms that these guys OWN. From the first note, I was hooked and you will be to.
Welcome, Chico's Quintet!
"Ladies & Gentlemen, Guys and Gals...introducing the Wonderful, The Fabulous, The Incredible....!!"
Well not quite. It is after all a Jazz Show, not the Circus! But every event of this magnitude only shines brighter with the right Master or Mistress of Ceremonies at the helm and we're very grateful to announce that WKBN-TV27 Anchor, Teresa Weakley will bring her engaging charm to the Big Stage throughout the evening.
Although Miss Weakley is relatively new to our area, she has endeared herself to our community in a brief period of time. She has a wonderful passion of music and plays violin. She has a great blog and You are going to be pleasantly surprised at her knowledge of the genre. What a Great Evening of Entertainment with a wonderful hostess to guide us all along!
Six Days & Counting!
We're rounding third and headed to the stage. All of the Artists are in their final rehearsals and preparing a mesmerizing set just for you! Please See The Schedule Below, But Plan to Enjoy The Whole Show - You Don't Wanna Miss One Act!
Please Note that for the finale, there will be a Huge Jam Session featuring The Artists and Other Notable Musicians from the area to groove you to an incredible conclusion. I do have to place a disclaimer here by saying that the line up may be subject to change but I'm confident that it's gonna flow like fresh water.
Also Remember That Each Artist will be offering their music for sale. Please Support Each or All!
6:00 – PHILLIP K JONES QUARTET
6:45 – ANTOINETTE
7:35 – SAM BLAKESLEE QUARTET
8:15 – CHICO’S QUINTET
9:05 – SOUNDOCTRINE
10:20 – ALL ARTIST JAM FINALE
An Additional Note on The Parking Issue - Remember we did touch on this in a previous blog, but this one is especially for those of you who may be coming to the Jazz Fest directly from The Summer Festival of the Arts:
Harrison Common is located on Walnut Street across from the MVR. All of the streets surrounding Harrison Common will be closed. The best way to get to the Youngstown Jazz Fest is to enter the YSU Wick Avenue deck from Wick Avenue. If you park on the third level there is easy access behind the McDonough Museum of Art and down the steps to Harrison Common. Or, park on the bottom level and easily walk out directly on to Harrison Common. You may also arrive early, attend the Summer Festival of the Arts, walk across Wick Avenue and down the steps along side the McDonough Museum. Watch for the Youngstown Jazz Fest signs directing you.
Well, One WEEK To Go and all is ablaze with excitement!
It has really only been a couple of weeks since I sat down with Lori Factor, Phil Moore & Lyndsey Hughes to consider the possibilities of holding this event. Literally. There was so little time to plan, so few resources to draw from and so much to do that to simply say 'No' & Walk Away would have been more disastrous than taking on the challenge and neither of us had it in our hearts to do so. Youngstown deserves a celebration this grand. Our Community Needs every Opportunity to Come together and Enjoy The Fabulous Arts & Entertainment Culture to enrich us and the entire weekend will be ripe from one side of the Downtown Sector to the Other, so The 2011 Jazz Fest fits right in.
I do want to take the opportunity to thank the wonderful sponsors who have supported us. Truly without their contributions, we could not have pulled this event together. Our volunteers are providing us the manpower us move this festival along, so there will be no glitches or delays. We Salute Them!
I personally want to say Thank You to Lori for her 'take charge' attitude in already having to shoulder the responsibility of the Summer Arts Fest adding our concerns to her agenda and just flat out "handling it!" To Phil Moore (who has become my 'Uncle' in the process) not only for all of the work that he is doing at the Convention & Visitor's Bureau, but for his complete dedication to this event going forward. It was his "I'll see to it happening" and "We'll Raise The Money" and "We're Moving Forward" that kept the train on the tracks, even when it seemed like we were running out of steam. Lyndsey's contribution was invaluable, as she too needed to juggle her responsibilities as Special Events Coordinator for the City. She always made time for us, lent incredible support, resources and knowledge to point us in the right direction. What a TEAM!
I also want to thank the Multimedia Community for Getting on Board. We've received encouragement from Local & Regional Radio, TV & Print Sources. In fact, tomorrow morning, Sunday July 3rd, on WFMJ-TV21's "Community Connection" with Madonna Chism-Pinkard, Jazz Pianist Phillip K Jones & Myself will appear on the show, with Phil performing an incredible song from his latest CD. Thanks Madonna for the incredible opportunity! You've Always come through for The City!!
And as we approach our final week of preparation, we'll be unveiling a few surprises...to be revealed next week(!)
1) Our Mistress of Ceremonies is none other than the lovely and gifted _________________________, who has a major passion for music. Her work here in the community is appreciated on a daily basis and her knowledge of the jazz genre is going to keep the audience engaged all evening. We're blessed that she has agreed to participate!
2) Joining SounDoctrine on stage all evening is the Very Special Guest:__________________________! Yes, I did say _______________________! Jazz Fans every where will be edging closer to the stage to hear ____________________ do their thing! They have traveled the world over, and with Major Label albums framing their discography, they have worked with other Majors from Gerald Veasley to Cabo Frio to Joe McBride and Many, Plenty Others.
It's Going to Be A Truly Magical Evening.
Are You Ready??