Ten local jazz bands took over 10 downtown nightclubs and restaurants on Friday evening for the inaugural Downtown Albany Jazz Fest Competition, sponsored by the Downtown Albany BID. And Out of the Box, who performed outdoors in front of McGeary’s Pub, emerged as the winner, as voted on by the general public.
Formed in 2007 by bassist Michael Hurt and keyboardist Larry Gravett, the versatile contemporary jazz band also features vocalist Sha’ron, drummer Gary Nowik, percussionist Pedro Perez, saxophonist John Savage and guitarist Mike Tremante.
As winners of the competition, Out of the Box will celebrate with a performance at 12noon today at Albany’s Riverfront Park, kicking off the day-long Port of Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival. The fest will also feature performances by Michael Benedict & Bopitude (1pm), Simone (2:15pm), the Jeff Coffin Mu’tet (4pm), Big Sam’s Funky Nation (5:30pm) and former “Tonight Show” bandleader Kevin Eubanks (7pm). Admission is FREE, and the fest will be capped off with a fireworks display at 8:15pm.