Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
The 13th annual Transart Jazz in the Valley festival was held for the second year in Poughkeepsie’s Waryas Park. This year’s festival was a single-day affair held on two stages with one stage free to the public with local jazz performers.
The main stage this year featured the stylings of poet-vocalist Karen D. Taylor paying tribute to performance poet Jayne Cortez. St. Louis-based vocalist Denise Thimes belted out the blues with an all-star backup band featuring the master horn player Houston Person on tenor sax. Bassist Paul West, pianist Danny Mixon and drummer Winard Harper rounded out the top-notch rhythm section.
Trumpeter Maurice Brown – of the Tedeschi Trucks Band – brought a thoroughly contemporary sound to the festival with his R&B and hip-hop influenced brand of jazz. The other horn in his band was none other than rising star Marcus Strickland.
The highlight of the festival was the all-star saxophone summit that featured octogenarian Jimmy Heath, New Orleans’ well-known composer-saxman Donald Harrison, the legendary Gary Bartz and the omnipresent Javon Jackson. The mighty rhythm section of pianist David Hazeltine, bassist/educator Nat Reeves and drummer McClenty Hunter did this summit justice. Maurice Brown also made a guest appearance, jamming with the others.
The festival closed with the Latin Caribbean sounds of 3D Ritmo de Vida.
A very nice way to spend a summer Sunday. Thanks to Transart for producing this festival again. See you next year…