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Women on top

Wall Street Jazz Festival returns to Kingston this weekend

by Lynn Woods
September 01, 2011 08:00 AM | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Francesca Tanksley
Francesca Tanksley
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Artistic director Peggy Stern and executive producer John Bilotti were inspired to start the Wall Street Jazz Festival, which is held over Labor Day weekend on the main drag of Uptown Kingston, in 2004 after they noticed that there was a dearth of female performers in the jazz festivals that they attended. So the credo of their newly born event became “Where the traditions meet the progressives, and all the leaders are women.”

While the Friday evening concert, held at the BEAhive, located at 314 Wall Street, charges $12 admission, Saturday’s evening concert is free and, true to tradition, will end with dancing in the streets as Estrella Salsa takes the stage at 9 p.m. The band features Stern on piano, Claire Daly on Bari sax, “Sweet” Sue Terry on alto sax, Freddie Jacobs on trumpet, Amy Shook on bass, Frank Russo on drums and Renato Thom on congas.

The Friday event will feature two duos: pairings that will recombine with each other in unexpected ways, resulting in “some very adventuresome improvised music,” according to the Festival’s promoters. The duos are vocalist Judi Silvano and pianist Marilyn Crispell and vocalist Teri Roiger and bassist John Menegon. The show starts at 8 p.m., and kids get in free.

Saturday’s concert kicks off at 6 p.m. with another duo: pianist Stern and “Sweet” Sue Terry, fresh from their recent performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. At 7 p.m., DC-based bassist Amy Shook takes the stage, accompanied by her quartet, followed by renowned jazz pianist Francesca Tanksley with her trio at 8 p.m.

This is one of the Hudson Valley’s premier free music events, but there’s always plenty of room on Wall Street, so be sure to head to Kingston on Saturday night with your folding chair. If it rains, the Saturday performances will be held at BackStage Productions, located right on Wall Street (the Festival organizers note that in seven years, it hasn’t rained yet).

In case you’re one of the rare people who haven’t heard of Peggy Stern, she’s an amazing jazz pianist, composer, conductor and recording artist who moved to the Hudson Valley in 2001. Bilotti owned and operated the Half Note Café in Palenville for five years and also had a stint as managing owner of the Joyous Lake Café in Woodstock. The two have succeeded in their goal of spicing up the summer music offerings of the region with an event showcasing world-class talent. For more information on the Wall Street Jazz Festival, log on to www.wallstreetjazzfestival.com or call (845) 339-4544.

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