For the 15th year, jazz takes to the riverside in Poughkeepsie. The Jazz in the Valley Festival at Waryas Park is no mere regional jazzfest; the lineups have always featured a few names well-known outside of jazz’s small-but-fierce community of interest. This year, the lineup includes a fully licensed card-carrying member of the eternal jazz pantheon in Ron Carter: a prolific composer and bandleader, a key player in the Miles Davis story and a first-call bassist in the Golden Age of Bop and beyond – one who worked with Wes Montgomery, Bill Evans, Jim Hall, Sarah Vaughn, Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim and a list that just doesn’t end or weaken much as it goes: Herbie Hancock, Yusef Lateef, Eric Dolphy, Gil Evans, Sonny Rollins, Mingus, A Tribe Called Quest. Carter performs in a trio also featuring the Jazz in the Valley artistic director/tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson, a member of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers who has also performed with Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard and many more.
Bill Charlap also performs with his trio. An elegant traditionalist and a towering presence in New York City, Charlap assumed the seat of artistic director of the 92nd Street Y jazz program from the legendary Dick Hyman. For Charlap, jazz and the American songbook are a family affair. He is the son of Broadway songwriter Moose Charlap and singer Sandy Stewart, with whom he recorded the excellent Love Is Here to Stay in 2005. Charlap also recently recorded an exceptional piano duet session, 2010’s Double Portrait, with his wife, the Canadian pianist Renee Rosnes. At Jazz in the Valley, Charlap will be paying tribute to the pianist Ahmad Jamal, who performed at the first Festival.
The press materials surrounding young-gun reed specialist Tia Fuller always note the phenom’s time in Beyoncé’s band. Fuller’s jazz creds go way beyond that: The full-time professor at the Berklee School of Music tours regularly with artists such as Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding and Dianne Reeves. She has also performed with Geri Allen, the Nancy Wilson Jazz Orchestra, the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Jill Scott, Dionne Warwick, Janelle Monet, Erykah Badu and Aretha Franklin. Fuller’s sessions as leader are not at all the kind of crossover efforts that list might suggest, though; 2012’s Angelic Warrior, like the two releases before it, are challenging and polished modern jazz, composition-oriented and steeped in jazz tradition.
The lineup also includes Steve Kroon and his Latin jazz quintet. A longtime first-call percussionist, Kroon has recorded with such artists as Luther Vandross, Diana Krall, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, the Temptations, Spyro Gyra and Paul Butterfield. Arturo O’Farrill created the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2002, and their recordings have gone on to win a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album and to earn two other Grammy nominations. O’Farrill gained early prominence in the Carla Bley Big Band from 1979 through 1983. He then developed as a solo performer with such top artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Freddy Cole, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Belafonte.
The Jazz in the Valley Festival happens on Sunday, August 16 in Poughkeepsie’s Waryas Park. General admission tickets cost $50 until August 15 and $60 at the gate, with a special student price of $20 on the day of the show (student ID required). Advance tickets can be purchased online at www.jazzinthevalleyny.org or at the box office of the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie. The gates open for the Festival at 11 a.m., with music beginning at 12 noon on two stages and continuing throughout the afternoon. The Main Stage has only ticketed seating, and the Pavilion Stage is free and open to the public. To reach Waryas Park, follow Main Street west down to the Hudson River.
For the first time, Jazz in the Valley will kick off with a free Saturday-evening concert at Poughkeepsie City Hall Plaza, featuring two bands from the Hudson Valley. On August 15 beginning at 5 p.m., the Latin music group Soñando will perform, as will the Mike Torsone Band with saxophonist Ray Blue and guest vocalist Ernie Bruno.
Jazz in the Valley, Sunday, August 16, 11 a.m., Waryas Park, Poughkeepsie; Saturday, August 15, 5 p.m., City Hall Plaza, Poughkeepsie; www.jazzinthevalleyny.org.