Jazz In Town: Buffalo Bound And A Trip To Jazz

As summer winds die down, there is plenty of jazz happening throughout Greater Buffalo and twenty-five miles beyond.  A time we welcome home native sons and celebrate the music of jazz.

Paul Marinaro Is Buffalo Bound

Paul marinaro poster.001Chicago-based jazz vocalist Paul Marinaro makes a long-awaited and long-overdue visit to Buffalo.  Paul will be performing in three shows on Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30th.   The shows are collaborative efforts between JazzBuffalo and MusicalFare Theatre to bring jazz to the new Premier Cabaret Lounge.  Marinaro will be backed by top-flight jazz musicians with internationally recognized musicians of Ben Paterson on piano, John Tate on bass, and Carmen Intorre on drums.  

See more on JazzBuffalo here: Paul Marinaro Returns

And, also see more from Mary Kunz Goldman of the Buffalo News here: A Cabaret Homecoming For Paul Marinaro

Top Picks For Lewiston Jazz Festival

The annual Lewiston Jazz Festival takes place twenty-five plus miles north of Buffalo this week.  It will include many Buffalo-based jazz musicians in the quaint town of Lewiston from Friday night, August 29th through the day beginning at noon Saturday, August 30th and into the evening.  Jazz music will be available on four performing areas and stages.  Go to www.lewistonjazz.com for more information and the full schedule.

While all the jazz will be fantastic, it is hard to be everywhere at once.  Here are a few top picks from JazzBuffalo to help you plan your trip to Lewsiton if you make the trek:

Poncho sanchez

Poncho Sanchez: having lived on the west coast for a long while, I had the opportunity to see the Latin Jazz percussionist several times.  If you are a Latin jazz fan and not afraid to bring your dancing shoes, you will certainly enjoy.  Poncho is always festive and it is no fluke that he is the top drawing Latin jazz performer today.  And, he happens to be my favorite percussionist!




Ralph favaRalph Fava: this guitarist extraordinaire is a longtime contributor to music in both Niagara and Erie County.  With a professional career playing and supporting the art form of jazz, Ralph will have Bud Fadale on bass, Bobby Jones on piano, and Carmen Intorre on drums. 














Rich Thompson (1)Rich Thompson/Charles Pillow: direct from the Eastman School Of Music are professors Rich Thompson on drums and Charles Pillow on saxophone.  Both very accomplished, performing and recording with a long list of some of the top names in jazz.  Rich Thompson is one of the most improvisational drummers you will see and Pillow excels as a multi-instrumentalist, perfecting the saxophone, flute, english horn, and clarinet.  Joining will be two outstanding Eastman musicians/professors in Jeff Campbell on bass and Harold Danko on piano.












Phil direPhil DiRe – My Choice:  tenor saxophone master, arranger, and composer Phil DiRe assembles friends Dave Shciavone on sax, Wayne Moose on bass, Lisa Hasselback on keyboards, John Hasselback on trombone, and John bacon Jr. on drums.  This group will undoubtedly swing and be excitingly inventive.








Gruv europe

Gruvology:  this group brings top-notch original and improvisational jazz music to the festival.  Check out Walter Kemp III on keyboards, James Bender on bass, David “Teaspoon” Hulett on drums, and Bernard Kunz on guitar.  This past spring the group toured Europe on the heels of their jazz CD release Freeway - be sure to get the CD!





SAL_ANDOLINA_EA2908060927_24387Sal Andolina Tribute To Benny Goodman:  oftentimes, we need to look no further than our own area to discover supreme talent.  Since 1994, Sal Andolina has been the principal clarinetist, bass clarinetist, and saxophonist for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.  It does not begin or end there.  Sal has supported many of the greats who have come through the BPO such as Marvin Hamlish, Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson, and more.  His story about meeting the great Benny Goodman is worth sharing:

About the tribute to Goodman Andolina relates how he first met the jazz great at a chamber concert in New York where Andolina was performing: “It was amazing to have a legend (Benny) sitting so close, hearing and watching every note you played! Afterward, Benny came up to me and said ‘… just like they played in my day.…next time you’re in town, call me.’ Without missing a beat, I said, ‘Well, I’m here tomorrow’.” Andolina went to Goodman’s home the next day. Sal relates: “We played for two hours-Mozart and Bach duets, went through some of the literature, Brahms, Copland and Poulenc. I asked Benny to play a song for me. I remember how beautifully he played the melody, adding his trademark embellishments. It was perfection.

Sal Andolina recorded a solo CD in tribute to Benny Goodman, Like Benny To Me, displaying the melodic sounds of Goodman with masterful craftsmanship. 

Elliott scarazzoRising Star Stage:  A few times in the past, this moniker did not fit the bill.  This year it does.  Two performers taking the stage are Elliott Scozzaro and Jon Lehning.  Elliott Scozzaro will be doing a focus on Cannonball Adderley with outstanding accomplished personnel in John Tate on bass (from NYC), Joey Skoch on piano, and Carmen Intorre.  A young saxophonist and currently attending the University of North Texas as a graduate student and is a member of the One O'Clock Lab Band.  Elliott is true rising star, having won a variety of jazz competitions and scholarships since 2010.

Jon lehningSaxophonist Jon Lehning, currently at UB, assembles top rising star talent in Buffalo with Harry Graser on piano, Anthony Henry on bass, Ryan Campbell on drums, and special guest from NYC Lynn Ligammari on saxophonist.  Lehning is an enterprising young man, proving to have a bright future ahead as a bandleader and arranger.





Mark filsingerEastman PhD. Graduate and faculty member for SUNY Buffalo State Mark Filsinger has become one of the Greater Buffalo’s finest musician, educator, bandleader, arranger, and composer.  Look for him to lead a student band on the Rising Star stage as well as to perform with his own group. Mark also frequently performs with national touring Broadway shows and artists including The Temptations, Harry James Orchestra, Irish Tenors, and Johnny Mathis. He has recorded as a jazz trumpet soloist for GIA Publications, Inc. and on big band albums for RPO Productions.


Bobby militello 2The Jazz Mass: Bobby Militello will lead a jazz mass at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church on Saturday at 4pm.  The St. Joseph University Parish choir and the Buffalo Contemporary Ensemble will join him for what is sure to be a moment of spiritual reflection enhanced by the church resonating sounds of Bobby’s alto saxophone. 

For more on the Lewiston Jazz Festival, see Mary Kunz Goldman’s write-up in the Buffalo News here: Lewiston Jaz Festival Features Poncho Sanchez

Jazz In Town

This is also the weekend for the Elmwood Arts Festival.  Look for Sol y Sombra, What Would Mingus Do?, Theresa Quinn, and the Hot Club of Buffalo who will be performing during the festival.  For a full list of performances – go here: Elmwood Arts Festival Performances

The final Thursday of Music On Main will have the Jon Lehning Trio with Dave Schaivone and Jim Bieshline at Pairings Wine Bar

Jon Lehning then jumps in his car and gets over to Nietzsche’s to lead quintet —– quite a busy weekend for the young musician

On Saturday at Hydraulic Hearth, see pianist Walter Kemp’s 3-Oh with Rishon Odel Northington on bass and David “Teaspoon” Hulett on drums

The Jazz Example led by Doug “Trigger” Gaston continues their Friday night performances at the Anchor Bar beginning at 8pm

Oliver’s Restaurant features George Jones on piano with All Hands beginning at 7pm on Saturdays

On Sunday, August 30th, see guitarist Mike Moser and bassist Marc Cousins at Byblos for brunch from 11am to 2pm


SPYROGYRA_Wallpaper-1920x1080Spyro Gyra returns to the Buffalo area with a special concert at the Sportsmen Tavern on September 20.  Tickets $45 and $50 day of show.  


Parlato webSee internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato at the UB Center For Performing Arts on September 19th







Joanne lorenzoBlock off September 25th as Jazz Vibes performs at Pausa Art House.  This will be a special fundraising event for Joanne Lorenzo and her work with the Mary Magdalene Project in Niagara County.  Look for a star-studded list of jazz musicians chipping in. 


Keep Jazz Alive In WNY!!



2 thoughts on “Jazz In Town: Buffalo Bound And A Trip To Jazz

  1. Great article. Just an update on Elliot Scozzaro: he currently attends the University of North Texas as a graduate student and plays alto sax in the One O’clock Lab Band.

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