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17th Annual Jazz in the Valley Takes Over Poughkeepsie Sunday, August 20, Noon-6:00 pm
(Published: July 18, 2017)

Jazz in the Valley Takes Over Poughkeepsie's Waryas Park
Sunday, August 20, Noon - 6:00 pm
Swing Unlimited featuring Delfeayo Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, Javon Jackson, Jimmy Cobb & David Williams; Christopher Dean Sullivan Ensemble featuring Mala Waldron; Elio Villafranca & the Jass Syncopators; Neil Clarke's Mongo Santamaria Centennial Project; and Jeff Siegel Sextet

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY, July 14, 2017 - JAZZ IN THE VALLEY takes over Poughkeepsie with two stages of non-stop music at Waryas Park on Sunday, August 20, from noon to 6:00 pm (gates open at 11:00 am). Celebrate 17 years of world-class jazz presented on the beautiful banks of the Hudson River with TRANSART & Cultural Services and world-class artists including Swing Unlimited with Delfeayo Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, Javon Jackson, Jimmy Cobb & David Williams; Christopher Dean Sullivan Ensemble featuring Mala Waldron; Elio Villafranca & the Jass Syncopators; Neil Clarke's Mongo Santamaria Centennial Project; and the Jeff Siegel Sextet.

"TRANSART is pleased and proud to continue this annual summer tradition of bringing artists and jazz fans together to celebrate music, culture and the beauty of the Hudson Valley," said Greer Smith, president of TRANSART and festival producer. "Music festivals have found homes in some of the world's most beautiful destinations, including Newport, Monterey, Montreal, Los Angeles as well as in Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and beyond. When you walk through the Waryas Park and see the rolling river that surrounds the festival grounds, there's no question that Poughkeepsie is a perfect place to enjoy the music with family and friends."

Jazz in the Valley, now in its 17th year, is a beautifully staged day-long celebration presented by the Hudson Valley based multi-arts organization TRANSART & Cultural Services. The festival takes place on a nine-acre green oasis in downtown Poughkeepsie on two stages, this year connecting to the Walkway Over the Hudson via Upper Landing Park. The Main Stage under the big tent features the festival's headline acts, and an additional free concert with regional musicians takes place on the Torsone Memorial stage in Upper Landing Park just outside of the gates. A food court and global market place add more flavor to the festival.

In past years, Jazz in the Valley has presented a bevy of stars, including several Grammy winners and National Endowment for the Arts "Jazz Master" honorees: Randy Weston, Ahmad Jamal, Ron Carter, Roy Hargrove, Hugh Masekela, Kevin Mahogany, Bill Charlap, Cedar Walton, Curtis Fuller, Mulgrew Miller, Jimmy and Percy Heath, Eddie Palmieri, Arturo O'Farrill, Steve Turre, Michelle Rosewoman, Roy Ayers, Houston Person, Ray Mantilla, Lou Donaldson and "Chocolate" Amenteros.


Delfeayo Marsalis is "... one of the best, most imaginative and musical of the trombonists of his generation," wrote Philip Elwood in the San Francisco Examiner. In January 2011, Delfeayo and the Marsalis family (father Ellis and brothers Branford, Wynton and Jason) earned the nation's highest jazz honor - a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award. Born in New Orleans in 1965, Marsalis was destined to a life in music. "I remember my dad playing piano at the house, and me laying underneath the piano as a child, listening to him play." Since then Delfeayo has gone on to perform around the world and record critically acclaimed albums including "The Last Southern Gentleman" and "Make America Great Again." He has performed and/or recorded with Ray Charles, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Abdullah Ibrahim, among others. In addition, his credits as a producer include records by his brothers, Wynton and Branford, Harry Connick, Jr., Donald Harrison and Marcus Roberts.
A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he earned a degree in jazz composition and arranging, Chestnut went on to work with jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks from 1986-88, and trumpeter Terence Blanchard and saxophonist Donald Harrison from 1988-90, before joining jazz legend Wynton Marsalis in 1991. But Chestnut really cut his teeth in the business when, one day at Berklee, jazz vocalist Betty Carter arrived to perform. In 1991, Cyrus went on the road with Ms. Carter for two years as the pianist for the Betty Carter Trio. "She wanted you to create a mode of creating, not re-creating ...," he recalled, and often refers to his time playing with Carter as a form of graduate school. 

 JAVON JACKSON, tenor saxophone
Jackson began playing alto saxophone at age 10; but six years later, he changed to tenor saxophone. He was briefly enrolled at the University of Denver before spending part of 1985-86 at the Berklee College of Music, which he abandoned to join drummer Art Blakey's band.  He played in Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1987 until Blakey's death in 1990. Jackson finished his undergraduate degree and obtained a master's degree from SUNY Purchase. In his solo career, his music has been a mix of hard bop with soul and funk influences. He now is the head of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford and the Artistic Director for Jazz in the Valley.

The legendary jazz drummer, was presented with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters award in 2008. A superb, mostly self-taught musician, Jimmy is the elder statesman of all the incredible Miles Davis bands. Jimmy's inspirational work with Miles, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and company spanned 1957 until 1963, and included the masterpiece "Kind of Blue," the most popular jazz recording in history. In addition to leading his own critically acclaimed bands, including Cobb's Mob, Jimmy also has performed with Dinah Washington, Pearl Bailey, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Wes Montgomery, Sonny Stitt, Ron Carter, Dave Holland, Nancy Wilson and Sarah Vaughan for nine years.

Born in Trinidad, Williams grew up in a musical family surrounded by the island's rich musical heritage. David came to New York for a visit in 1969, and happened upon a workshop run by Beaver Harris, Grachan Moncour and Roland Alexander. When Jimmy Garrison didn't show, David sat in one night, and soon became a fixture on the city's jazz scene. On a tip from Ron Carter, David secured the bass spot with Gap and Chuck Mangione. He also has performed with Donald Byrd, Charlie Rouse, George Coleman, Roy Haynes, Billy Taylor, Abbey Lincoln, Monty Alexander, Jermaine Jackson, Kathleen Battle as well as an extended stint with Cedar Walton Trio (along with Billy Higgins).

MALA WALDRON, piano, vocals
Daughter of jazz icon Mal Waldron and goddaughter of legendary Billie Holiday, Mala Waldron is the not-so-secret weapon of the Christopher Dean Sullivan Ensemble. This year's debut performance at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Theatre set the jazz world abuzz. According to Ernest Barteldes in All About Jazz, "When you hear Mala Waldron's soulful voice... you are experiencing something very special, for Waldron is not only an accomplished vocalist and songwriter, but also a fine pianist who hits the keys with great precision, bringing various musical influences into the jazz realm."

Originally from Pittsburgh, the Hudson Valley is now home for this award-winning creative artist. He has performed with a long list of jazz greats including Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, Irene Reid, Jon Faddis, Stanley Turrentine, Cachao, Odean Pope, Billy Hart, Gerri Allen, Eddie Henderson, Charli Persip, Henry Grimes, Freddie Hubbard and others. He has recorded on more than 45 albums and appeared in television commercials and movies, including the original "Dawn of the Dead" and "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh."

Rounding out the ensemble are STEVE NELSON on vibes/marimba and BOBBY SANABRIA, drums/percussion.

Born in the Pinar del Río province of Western Cuba, pianist and composer Elio Villafranca was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Since his arrival in the U.S. in late 1995, he has been involved in jazz and Latin jazz scenes on both the East and West Coasts. Based in New York City, he is resident professor at Temple University in Philadelphia.  Elio is at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable Cuban pianists, composers and bandleaders that have been making major creative contributions to the international development of modern jazz.   The Jass Syncopators include Dion Parson, drums; Greg Tardy, tenor sax; Bruce Harris, trumpet; Peter Slavov, bass; and Miguelito Valdes, percussion.

Percussion Master Neil Clarke, in addition to his ongoing collaborations with Randy Weston and fellow African Rhythms sidemen, has enjoyed long-standing relationships with Harry Belafonte, Dianne Reeves, David Sanborn, Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbulu and many others. On April 8, 2017 Master Conguero Mongo Santamaria would have been 100 years old.  On that evening, Percussion Master Neil Clarke introduced to an appreciative audience his Mongo Santamaria Centennial Project, breathing new life into the conguero's outstanding body of work.

JEFF SIEGEL SEXTET:  Jeff "Siege" Siegel, drums; Erica Lindsay, tenor saxophone; Dylan Canterbury, trumpet/flugelhorn; Francesca Tanksley, piano; Rich Syracuse, bass; Fred Berryhill, percussion;
The Hudson Valley's own Jeff ‘Siege' Siegel opens up the afternoon on the Pavilion Stage. A member of the Sir Roland Hanna Trio from 1994-99, Siegel's diverse career has also led him to perform and/or record with Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Jack DeJohnette, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Sheila Jordan, Helen Merrill, Mose Allison and many more.  Siegel teaches at The New School, SUNY New Paltz and WCSU. He holds a Master of Arts degree. in Jazz from Queens College, where he studied composition with Jimmy Heath. 

Discounted early bird tickets are $40 through August 1. Afterward, general admission is $50, and $60 at the gate. Students with valid ID gain entrance for $20. Tickets can be purchased online through the festival's website (jazzinthevalleyny.org), or in person at Blue-Byrds Haberdashery & Music (320 Wall Street, Kingston, 845-339-3174). For group ticket sales, directions and more information about Jazz in the Valley, contact TRANSART at info@transartinc.org, (845) 384-6350 or log on to www.jazzinthevalleyny.org. For a combination ticket and round trip bus travel from New York City call (917) 345-1357 or (646) 643-3035.

TRANSART & Cultural Services, Inc. is a West Park, NY non-profit arts organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the art, history and popular culture of people of African descent. Transart has a long history of reaching out to students in public education to communicate with kids about how cool the arts can be, whether it's fine art, visual art, performance art or music of all kinds. "We go into the schools all over the Hudson Valley to educate underserved kids through a series of programs and classes including Behind the Beat: Intro to Jazz," says founder and president Greer Smith. During Behind the Beat sessions, professional musicians interact with local band students. Other opportunities for students include weekly drumming workshops, musical assemblies and master classes.

Beyond school programs, each August TRANSART becomes a concert promoter with Jazz in the Valley to show the public, in many cases local students, what professional musicians are like in action. "With Jazz in the Valley the audience gets to experience the thrill of live music with masters of the genre," says Smith. TRANSART hopes to create a new generation of jazz lovers and listeners through educating students about the history of jazz and its cultural relevance in minority communities. Kids need to see they are part of something bigger, part of a history, an artistic movement that's alive," says Smith.

Promotional partner for Jazz in the Valley is Metro North and Walkway Over the Hudson. TRANSART's funding also comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the State Council on the Arts, Dutchess County Tourism, the City of Poughkeepsie and others.

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