Six is a big number for the 2016 Summer Jazz Stroll in Clarksburg on Friday, June 10. So much so the event has “six appeal.”
This most recent Stroll event will be the sixth one presented by Uptown Clarksburg, Inc. (UC), a private group that has embraced the arts as a vehicle for developing Clarksburg’s business district. The sixes don’t stop there as six outstanding saxophonists lead six different jazz ensembles in six different venues for six hours of live jazz – and all with no cover charge.
Stroll events are designed to showcase entire neighborhoods and shopping districts by presenting live music in venues scattered throughout. Patrons are encouraged to move freely from one show to another paying no cover charges.
Summer Jazz Strolls are typically held in June while Holiday Jazz Strolls are held two weeks after Thanksgiving and two weeks before Christmas.
It’s all part of twice yearly events organized with major sponsorship from area patrons of the arts. UC works with the West Virginia Jazz Society, Inc. to program a variety of jazz artists representing a cross section of jazz styles and formats. Major sponsorship for the Stroll comes from the Clarksburg Harrison Cultural Foundation’s Barbara B. Highland Fund for the Arts. Additional sponsorship comes from the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram, the City of Clarksburg, the Harrison County Commission, and the Greater Clarksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The music schedule calls for each of six venues to present 75-minute sets at 6:30pm and 8:15pm followed by a 60-minute encore set at 10:00pm. The evening’s entertainment will conclude with a special late night jam session at 11:30pm in Washington Square.
“We received lots of feedback from folks who wanted us to extend the sets from 60 minutes to 75 minutes or more. People will be a bit less rushed to get around to all the venues,” said Eric Spelsberg, WVJS President. “We think moving away from the previous one-hour sets for all Stroll shows will make for a nicer evening.”
Each of the Stroll acts features a saxophone player leading the band – from a Latin jazz specialist to a master of classic jazz to a purveyor of the funkier side of the jazz idiom.
Appearing in Kelly’s Irish Pub, the Latin Jazz Messengers from Richmond, Virginia, will feature saxophonist and percussionist, Alfredo Santiago. Mike Davison is founder and trumpeter for the Messengers, and for the past 34 years has travelled to Cuba to document the Cuban jazz scene and how it survived under the Castro regime.
Main Street Café will host New York City’s Sean Nowell and The Kung Fu Masters, a band with a decidedly urban perspective and who blend many modern musical elements with traditional jazz styles.
The Starving Artist Studio will present Cumberland, Maryland’s Anita Thomas on saxophone performing classic jazz accompanied by the well-known Jenny Wilson Trio.
In Fifth Floor Lounge, patrons will enjoy Charleston, West Virginia’s Chris Clark with The Steve Himes Connection featuring vocalist, Danielle Conard, performing jazz standards.
Pittsburgh’s popular Curtis Johnson Quartet with Russian vocalist, Yana Tyulkova, will play in 4th Street Restaurant and Nightclub.
Elkins music entrepreneur, saxophonist, percussionist and vocalist, Rob Masten, will lead the Appalachian Jazz Project for three sets in Washington Square before guitarist, Bo McMillion, hosts a late night jam session open to all Stroll musicians.
Each venue will have its own seating policies and dining options. For more information, email to: Stroll@WVJazzSociety.com or phone 304-269-3683.