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JazzFest 2017 Performers

Friday, August 4, 2017

Tavern House Jazz Band

5:30pm – 6:45pm | North Stage

Comprised of some of the finest musicians from MSU’s Jazz Studies program, THJB features the music of the bebop and heavy swingin’ hard bop eras, while putting their own spin on every song they perform.

Ron Brooks Trio + 2

6:45pm – 8:15pm | South Stage

Ron Brooks has been a major player in, and influence on, the southeastern Michigan jazz community for several decades. Ron emerged as a player in the 1960s, recording for Blue Note records and performing with many major artists. He also founded the Southeastern Michigan Jazz Association and owned and operated the successful and vibrant Bird of Paradise jazz club in Ann Arbor for more than twenty years. His current ensemble was created for the 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival to pay tribute to Brooks’ past; now they’re coming to Lansing with special guest Randy Gelispie on the drums.


8:15pm – 9:30pm | North Stage

PanaMO mixes the sounds of Motown and Panama together to create soulful, Latin influenced jazz. The band performs a repertoire of original music and standard jazz songs that have been rearranged to reflect the musicians’ Latin roots.

Their music embraces modern and inventive Afro-Latin rhythms while making sure to respect the music’s history. The renowned ensemble has been led since 2003 by skilled Panamanian percussionist and composer Obed Succari.


9:30pm – 11:00pm | South Stage organissimo was founded nearly two decades ago with the goal of bringing jazz back to the people. Having been called “one of the most promising organ trios in jazz” by the Chicago Tribune, the band is well on its way to achieving that goal. Bandleader Jim Alfredson and his colleagues display a keen sense of cohesiveness on stage, which has won them a dedicated and diverse audience. The band’s instantly identifiable sound finds its foundation not only in jazz, but also in funk, blues, rock, and Latin rhythms. At the same time the band is constantly evolving, and in 2017 they released their most recent recording, “B3tles”, a tribute to the Beatles.

Ritmo Project

11:00pm – 1:00am | UrbanBeat 1213 Turner

Latin Salsa with a twist featuring band leader, vocalist, Mike Eyia (band leader, vocalist), Terry Newman (bass), Dennis Therrian (keyboards), James Rodriguez (drums).

Saturday, August 5, 2017


1:00pm - 5:00pm | North Turner

Bob & Josh Wilson

Electric guitar and bass mentor

MSU Community Music School

Instrument petting zoo — Woodwinds/brass

Music-themed Arts Experiences

Capital Area Library, Broad Art Museum & more

Music Workshops

2:30pm - 5:30pm | MICA Gallery 1210 Turner


- Latin Percussion Workshop

Learn Latin percussion instruments and rhythms with Panamanian master percussionist Obed Succari.

3:30pm - Jazz Education Workshop

The great Ann Arbor bassist and educator Paul Keller will hold an open workshop coaching the Jazz Alliance of Mid Michigan Scholarship Quintet. Open to the public!

4:30pm - Jazz Keyboard Workshop

Legendary pianist and organist Bill Heid shares performance secrets and road stories from a career that has spanned 5 decades and multiple continents.

Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan, JAMM Scholarship Quintet

2:00pm – 3:00pm | South Stage

The mission of the Jazz Alliance of Mid Michigan is “To preserve and promote the tradition of Live Jazz across Mid-Michigan,” and part of how they achieve that goal is by providing a scholarship each year to one promising mid-Michigan high school musician. The JAMM Scholarship Quintet showcases the last few years’ Sandy Izenson Scholarship winners, with the direction and assistance of local veteran Doug Fritch.

Down River

3:00pm – 4:15pm | North Stage

Down River is a trio which combines sounds of world folk music with American jazz and elements of avant-garde. Influences include the music of Ravi Shankar, John Cage, and Ornette Coleman. Members Mike Johnston (bass, wood flutes, percussion) and Mike Gilmore (guitars, zheng, bouzouki, percussion) founded the well-known Northwoods Improvisers in 1976 and have released 16 recordings, including 9 with influential Detroit saxophonist Faruq Z. Bey.

Beer City Saxes

4:15pm – 5:30pm | South Stage

The Beer City Saxes specialize in Four Brothers and Supersax style arrangements of compositions by jazz legends such as Benny Carter and Charlie Parker. With a multiplesaxophone horn section - including no supporting trumpets or trombones - listeners can expect tight, harmonized arrangements of jazz standards and classic jazz solos. This swinging ensemble features a rotating cast of musicians from the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra.

Paul Keller at Sundown Quintet

5:30pm – 6:45pm | North Stage

The great Ann Arbor bassist Paul Keller re-imagines and rearranges each and every piece that this Michigan-based group performs. Featuring an unusual front line of tenor saxophone and clarinet, the band also showcases the heartfelt vocal stylings of singer Sarah D’Angelo. Keller and his band work hard to connect with and entertain audiences of all ages. Keller also gives back with a Student Outreach Program that helps Michigan students and college musicians through workshops and clinics.


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