Annual John Coltrane Birthday Celebration To Be Held September 19-21

This year, the annual John Coltrane Birthday Celebration will take place for three days in September. The annual event has evolved from a one-day event to a three-day event. Keeping alive a wish by the late Pappy Martin to honor the jazz legend’s birthdate each year.

The Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective continues this annual tradition organized by Pappy Martin’s daughter, Dawn Berry-Walker. In association with the Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State, events will celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest saxophone players of all time at its annual collaborative three-day John Coltrane festival September 19 – 21, 2019.

Special guest jazz artists for the three-day event are Nasar Abadey, George Caldwell, Joe Ford, Curtis Lundy, and LeNard Rutledge. Events planned for the three days are:

Thursday, September 19, 2019, 7 pm

The Bilal Abdullah Quartet

Gallery admission rates apply: $10 (adults); $8 (seniors); $5 (Burchfield Penney and Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Society Members). Purchase tickets online at:

Bilal Abdullah is a brilliant saxophonist. His facility on his instrument is “second to none” and has been credited to studying with jazz legends Frank Foster and Archie Shepp, plus classical training and more than 40 years of performing various genres of music.

Bilal Abdullah

The Bilal Abdullah Quartet

Bilal Abdullah – Saxophone

Kevin Doyle – Piano

Chuck Buffamonte – Guitar

Tim Clarke – Trumpet

Mark Harris – Bass

Reggie Evans – Drums 

Friday, September 20, 2019, 8 pm

Image result for nasar abadey
Nasar Abadey

Nasar Abadey, George Caldwell, and Joe Ford

$25 General Admission; $10 Burchfield Penney and Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective Members

Purchase tickets online at:

Joe Ford

Longtime saxophonist, Joe Ford, has a stunning and diverse career that proves a musician’s evolution is worth the years that go into it. “People who haven’t seen me as a leader will be surprised. My music isn’t about hooks and gratuitous soloing. It has a wide variety of styles allowing the quality of the songs and musicianship to stand out. I hope to encourage people to increase their listening palettes.”   Ford’s legacy was solidified in 2004 when he was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. Throughout his vibrant career, Joe has stood out as a teacher, composer, pianist, and saxophonist.

Nasar Abadey

Drummer and composer Nasar Abadey is the founder, leader and driving force of SUPERNOVA®. This band performs music from the threshold of jazz to beyond space and time, while having an artistic license to express their compositions through traditional African rhythms, bebop, fusion, Afro-Cuban, Afro Brazilian, modal and free form. He is currently a Professor of Jazz Percussion in the Jazz Studies Department at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

George Caldwell

A fully tenured jazz piano legend who has served with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, as a sideman extraordinaire, and as leader of his own ensembles. Renowned as performer, composer, bandleader, and teacher, Caldwell presided over the ivory 88s for the Basie Orchestra when the group won a “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance” Grammy in 1996. He’s one of the pre-eminent swing players in modern jazz and serves as artistic director of the annual Coltrane celebration.

Saturday, September 21, 2019, 1 PM

The Progressions

The Progressions Jazz Quartet

Gallery admission rates apply: $10 (adults); $8 (seniors); free admission for Burchfield Penney and Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective Members

As a community-builder, the late Pappy Martin founded the Love Supreme School of Music that focused on instrumental lessons, theory and the science of music. Ahmad Pleasant started lessons at the school at age four. Now a high school senior, Ahmad is a member of The Progressions Jazz Quartet which consists of some of Western New York’s finest emerging jazz talents.

Saturday, September 21, 2019, 8:00 PM

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LeNard Rutledge

Curtis Lundy with LeNard Rutledge

$25 General Admission; $10 Burchfield and Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective Members

Purchase tickets online Here:

Curtis Lundy is an American double bass player, composer, producer, choir director, and arranger. Lundy is best known for his work as part of jazz vocalist Betty Carter‘s band, through whose ranks several renowned musicians passed. Lundy has played on other jazz artists’ recordings, including albums by John HicksBobby Watson, the Steve Nelson, and Johnny Griffin. He also serves as International Music Director of the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective.

LeNard Rutledge, born and raised in Miami, Florida where there are only a handful of truly great jazz vocalists, is usually compared, aptly, to the legendary Lou Rawls. Like Rawls, Rutledge’s classy elegance is often permeated by the raw passion of his church choir work. Rutledge still sings with the choir at The Church of The Incarnation. LeNard has shared the stage with several highly respectable jazz artists such as Wycliffe Gordon, Kenny Drew Jr., Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kirk Whalum, Marion Meadows, and the late George Duke. 

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