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Still Time to Catch Jazz in the Valley, Sunday at Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie
(Published: August 15, 2018)

Eddie Henderson, Javon Jackson, Mimi Jones, Rene Marie and Rachiim Ausar-Sahu Headline the 18th Annual Jazz in the Valley Sunday, August 19, in Poughkeepsie's Waryas Park

TRANSART & Cultural Services, Inc. a West Park, NY-based, non-profit arts organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the art, history and popular culture of people of African descent, presents Jazz in the Valley (JITV) on Sunday, August 19, 2018, from noon to 6:00 pm (gates open at 11:00 am). JITV, now in its 18th year, brings an eclectic array of world-class jazz musicians, performing on two stages to bucolic, nine-acre Waryas Park, nestled in downtown Poughkeepsie, in New York's historic Hudson River Valley, just 90 miles north of New York City.

"TRANSART takes great pride in bringing some of the world's greatest jazz artists to perform in the beautiful Hudson Valley," says Greer Smith, festival producer and president of TRANSART. "Waryas Park is an excellent place to enjoy jazz with family and friends, and we're pleased to present the 2018 edition of JITV, which features five ensembles that play the full inventions and dimensions of jazz."

The Bay Area-born, trumpeter/flugelhorn virtuoso Eddie Henderson has been one of the greatest exponents on his instrument, from his days as a side man in Herbie Hancock's pioneering 70s ensemble, Mwandishi, to his 20-plus albums as a leader. He will showcase music from his latest CD, Be Cool, which features the great New Orleans alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, who also accompanies the leader at the festival, along with bassist Doug Weiss, pianist Peter Zak and drummer Mike Clark. With his Celsius-toned, muted melodicism, no trumpeter is cooler than than Eddie Henderson.

Javon Jackson, who is the Artistic Director for JITV, has been blowing his powerful and poignant brand of tenor saxophone magic ever since he was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1987 to Blakey's death in 1990. Jackson has carried the jazz message as a side man with Hank Jones, Thad Jones and Ron Carter, and as a leader with over 14 CDs to his credit, including his 2014 release, Expression. Jackson - who currently heads the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford - comes to JITV with his Super Band, consisting of drummer Willie Jones III, and two ex-Messengers: pianist Joanne Brackeen (the first and only female to play in that ensemble), and bassist Gerald Cannon, all supporting Jackson's raw-boned sheets of soulful sound.

The Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Rene Marie, graces the JITV stage with a quicksilver trio consisting of ​pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Elias Bailey and drummer Adam Cruz. With that terrific triad, Marie does what she does best: sing virtually anything, from straight-ahead, 4/4 numbers and ballads, to Latin tunes, and even "Lift Every Voice and Sing" (The Negro National Anthem) with vim and vigor. On her 2016 CD, The Sound of Red, her vivid vocals are as vivacious as the day she decided to become a full-time singer at the age of 42 after years of motherhood and marriage. With over 10 albums to her credit, Marie's empowering one-woman shows and workshops are just as impressive as the way she combines Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and Nancy Wilson into her own vocally agile aesthetic.

The Bronx-based bassist Mimi Jones is one of the most ubiquitous musicians on the scene. Her third and latest CD, Feet in the Mud, was released in 2016 and featured the music of Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk. She's worked as a side woman with her husband, Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, singers Dianne Reeves and Cassandra Wilson, and saxophonist Tia Fuller, and she's also the CEO/Owner of her own record label, Hot Tone Music. Jones, who was mentored by the legendary Milt Hinton and studied with Ron Carter, ascends to the JITV stage with her Black Madonna Project, with guitarist Andrew Renfroe, drummer Mark Whitfield, Jr., and Leonor Falcon on viola. The project was inspired by Jones' visit to southern Italy, where she saw Madonnas with Negroid features and color. No doubt, Jones and company will translate her visual impressions of those dark and lovely images into her own imaginative, aural art.

The Brooklyn bassist, bandleader, educator and composer Rachiim Ausar-Sahu has been making memorable music since 1974, working with dozens of great artists including Mary Lou Williams, Amiri Baraka, Arthur Blythe, Grady Tate and vocalists Phyllis Hyman and Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch. His ensemble, Jazz/Espiritu, consists of pianist Benito Gonzalez; Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun; percussionists Neil Clarke and Ayana Clarke and Ron McBee; vibraphonist Bryan Carrott; trombonist Andre Murcheson, Anthony Ware, Irwin Hall; Jason Marshall on reeds; and the Gambian kora master, Salieu Suso. Ausar-Sahu brings his Mi Afrika Mi Corazon Project to the JITV stage - an opus 25 years in the making that is the culmination of his intensive study of African music, and its musical offspring throughout the Diaspora.

"At Jazz in the Valley, the audience has the opportunity to experience the thrill of jazz with masters of the genre, while learning about the history and culture of the music and how it touches and has been touched by the world, " Smith says.

In past years, JITV has presented an impressive array of stars featuring Grammy winners and NEA Jazz Masters including Randy Weston, Ron Carter, Roy Hargrove, the late Hugh Masekela and 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, "Chocolate" Amenteros and Ahmad Jamal. The festival's origins go back to an afternoon of music in the year 2000, when TRANSART received funding from the New State Council on the Arts to commission Jamal to write an original composition for the organization. Jamal composed "Picture Perfect," inspired by the scenic beauty of the Hudson Valley, which he played in concert. In addition to the music, JITV also features films and other programs designed to increase dialogue dealing with jazz music, the musicians and the audience.

Along with music, education is also a key component of the festival. Its Behind the Beat: Intro to Jazz Program, is a series of workshops, master classes and traditional drum instruction.

"TRANSART hopes to create a new generation of jazz lovers and listeners through educating underserved, at-risk students about the history of the music, and its cultural relevance in minority communities," Smith says. "Young people need to see they are part of a larger history that is living, positive, and continues to grow."

Promotional partners for Jazz in the Valley are Metro North, Dutchess Tourism, Poughkeepsie Journal and Walkway Over the Hudson.

TICKETS: Advance general admission is $50.00; $60.00 at the gate; $20.00 for students with valid ID. 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 JITV Round-trip B Package from New York City, call (917) 345-1357 or (646) 643-3035.

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More Information: http://www.jazzinthevalleyny.org

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