A Momentous Year Of Jazz In Buffalo Welcomes A Promising 2020

The year 2019 proved to be another momentous year for JazzBuffalo and the communities of jazz fans and musicians. Music and in particular, jazz music, are now an integral element of the growing arts and cultural scene in Greater Buffalo. Rivaling and in many cases offering more than many mid to large cities across the country.

As we end one decade and begin anew in 2020, there is a promise for jazz and JazzBuffalo to continue to enrich the future way of life in our community.

Here, we take a brief look at the highlights of jazz in 2019 that will continue in 2020 to make a difference in our community:

JazzBuffalo.org Evolves As Event and Story Site

The JazzBuffalo.org website continues to evolve and grow in importance. Fulfilling the community’s desire to be informed about jazz events and stories. Subscribership has grown as well as people visiting the site daily. The home page underwent an upgrade to focus more on events and stories. We also saw the full scope of the contributions of Jack Zuff and his photography to the JazzBuffalo media experience. In 2020, look for more expansion as JazzBuffalo develops with an eye toward the future. Visit www.jazzbuffalo.org.

JazzBuffalo Premier Jazz Series at Nichols Flickinger Performing Arts Center

In a significant undertaking, JazzBuffalo began a “home” partnership with the Nichols Flickinger Performing Arts Center on the campus of Nichols School. A state-of-the-art performance venue, this endeavor saw the production of two premier concerts in 2019. Veronica Swift with the Emmet Cohen Trio and Jane Bunnett and Maqueque: A Latin Christmas. Two outstanding and memorable concerts. Look for more programming in the future featuring international jazz stars. In 2020, we will welcome 9-time Grammy Nominee Tierney Sutton Band and the incomparable Stacey Kent.

Albright-Knox Art Of Jazz Series

In 2019, the Albright-Knox Art of Jazz Series hosted a memorable cream of the crop line up for the ages in Joe Lovano, Carla Bley, Edmar Castenada, and Bill Charlap. The programming, led by Producer Bruce Eaton, not only has returned to its previous prominence but has reached new heights. In 2020, JazzBuffalo looks forward to continuing to serve as a media sponsor as the series, rechristened Art of Jazz at the Philharmonic during the AKG expansion shut down, moves to the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall. Where we welcome rising stars and superstars Christian Sands, Ethan Iverson/Tom Harrell, and Catherine Russell.

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Hotel Henry Jazz Concert Series

It was another banner year for the Hotel Henry Jazz Concert Series. The Hotel Henry has quickly risen to symbolize Buffalo’s resurgence locally as well as in national and international press coverage. In 2019, we widened the spectrum of jazz to include a jazz tribute to Patsy Cline featuring Maria Sebastian and be regaled by the jazz of Mary Ramsey of the 10,000 Maniacs. The Series witnessed a sold-out night of Bossa Nova featuring Saranaide and a somber but powerful night of a solo performance by Drea d’Nur honoring the anniversary of 9/11. We became nostalgic as Katy Miner paid tribute to Judy Garland and we swung with SwingBuffalo as we welcomed dance to the sounds of the Skiffle Minstrels and Svetlana and the New York Swing Collective from New York City. Closing out once again to a packed sold-out room for A Jazzy Christmas II with the Ladies First Jazz Big Band and the Buffalo Dolls. In 2020, look for more fantastic presentations and the schedule to come out soon!

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Jazz At Chandlerville

Chandlerville, the transforming industrial Chandler Street located in Black Rock, has risen from the ashes and is now Buffalo’s newest destination. The JazzBuffalo presented Jazz at Chandlerville Series at the Thin Man Brewery/Tappo Pizza patio brought capacity filled audiences to see for themselves the amazing transformation underway. And, the Labor Day Jazz Fest saw a full day of music and audiences spilling out into the streets. 2020 promises to be even more transforming and spectacular for the community to enjoy.

Jazz Enhances The Dining Experience

We found jazz interwoven into the dining, cocktail, and brunch experience. Thanks to the iconic Terrace at Delaware Park, jazz became a stable of the dinner/brunch experience at one of Buffalo’s most treasured cultural locations. The longest-running Saturday jazz brunch in the region continued at The Hollow Bistro with fabulous duo performances. And, we saw the addition of JazzBoline to the scene with jazz on Thursday nights and Sunday brunch. In 2020, look for these experiences to continue being a way of life in our community.

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Northwest Jazz Festival Reaches Record Crowds

The Northwest Jazz Festival, blessed by good weather, reached record crowds as the festival saw a mix of local, regional, and international jazz artists. The highlight of the festival was the appearance of jazz legend Monty Alexander and the Harlem-Kingston Express. His concert coming one day after one of the most talked-about releases of the year, Warieka Hill: Rastamonk Vibrations. The 2020 Northwest Jazz Festival promises to take another step forward as one of the best in the region and in the country.

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Jazz Flourishes In The Community

One unmistakable trend in 2019 was the flourishing of jazz throughout the Greater Buffalo region. Pausa Art House continued to lead in offering jazz in the quaint Allentown location. MusicalFare Theater continued to partner with JazzBuffalo, highlighted by the appearance of Alexis Cole. Series offered by the Buffalo Jazz Collective and the Kenan Center programed well-conceived concerts. The Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective presented their annual summer jazz festival and Coltrane Birthday Celebration featuring world-class jazz artists such as Tia Fuller and Curtis Lundy. The Big Easy of Buffalo brought us more NOLA jazz. SwingBuffalo brought us swing dancing and jazz. The Historic Colored Musician Club changed from a week-long festival to a weekend festival in October that brought in Cyrille Aimée. A stunning concert tribute to Nina Simone took place at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Museum featuring Drea d’Nur with strings. Jazz continued at Nietzsche’s and Sportsmen Tavern while The Tabernacle at Sweetness_7 introduced new jazz series for the first time.

The amount of jazz that sprouted, impossible to mention all, indicates jazz will undoubtedly flourish throughout the area in 2020.

A momentous year it was. Helping to put Buffalo on the map as one of America’s favorite jazz cities. Paving a path for a promising 2020 ahead.

(Photo Credits: Jack Zuff)

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