Saturday July 21st
How do you top one of the top ten most beautiful days of the summer so far? Add some of the hottest names in contemporary music and put it all together in Bushnell Park. That was the menu on hand in Hartford on Saturday July 21st at the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz.
Opening the day was Matt Marshak on guitar, one of the most appealing new faces in contemporary jazz today. Matt’s original stylish guitar licks flavored with shades of blues, rock, pop, soul and of course jazz kicked off the day in fine style.
Next on the stage was saxophonist Elan Trotman. Quickly becoming one of jazz’s most thrilling performers, Elan, who has been influenced by Grover Washington Jr. and Kirk Whalum, displays his own fresh ideas and distinctive tone. Joining Elan on stage was bassist Gerald Veasley. Philadelphia born Veasley has a varied and impressive resume much too long to list. Easy enough to say, this man can really play bass and the audience loved every minute on stage with Elan.
From hot sax to cool blues was next on the afternoon menu. A visit from guitarist Jeff Golub brought the audience to the bluesy side of jazz. Jeff paid homage to his three Kings ( B.B., Albert & Freddie) with one great blues number after the next. Although much of his earlier career was spent with rockers Rod Stewart and Billy Squier, his true roots went back to his early days listening to Wes Montgomery.
The sun had set and a bit of a cool breeze was blowing through the park so it was really time to turn up the heat on stage. And turn up the heat they did thanks to The Sax Pack, Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole and Marcus Anderson. This group of three saxophonists have created a show that combines their individual style and diverse back rounds. A little bit of this and a little bit of that all put together and it was very cool and exciting.
This was truly a fitting way to end a really amazing late afternoon/evening not to mention one of the largest crowds I have ever seen in Bushnell Park for a jazz event. Thanks to all the hard work and commitment of the festival staff, Hartford should be proud.