FREE FEST: Jazz at the Lake 2015 @ Shepard Park, Lake George

September 8th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg
Jason Marsalis

Jason Marsalis

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Stanley Johnson

You might know it as the Lake George Jazz Fest. Or maybe as the Lake George Jazz Weekend. But the official name is Jazz at the Lake. The lake is still Lake George, and the jazz still makes it the best jazz fest in Nippertown – bar none.

On Saturday and Sunday, September 19 & 20, the two-day festival returns to the scenic Shepard Park in Lake George, where the shimmering lake serves as the backdrop behind the stage. Sponsored by the Lake George Arts Project, the fest doesn’t bother booking pop acts masquerading as jazz just to attract a crowd. This is a real jazz festival presenting both established and emerging, adventurous musicians who take a wide-ranging, global approach to the music.

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And best of all, the entire festival is absolutely FREE.

Here’s the schedule for the 2015 Jazz at the Lake:

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

1pm: THE JULIAN LAGE TRIO
The guitar hero – who has played throughout the Local 518 in a wide variety of formats and line-ups – showcases his new trio with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen. The New York Times recently reviewed their premier performance, declaring “a former prodigy continues to break ground in collaborations.”

2:45pm: THE JAMIE BAUM SEPTET
The NYC-based flutist performs with her expanded small band in support of her latest album, In This Life.

4:30pm: THE JAZZ PASSENGERS
Led by saxman Roy Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, the band fuses post-bop with musical comedy. The Boston Globe described them as a “perverse mainstream … hard-bop group as imagined by Frank Zappa.” They have recorded with a diverse array of guest vocalists, ranging from Elvis Costello to Little Jimmy Scott, from Mavis Staples to Jeff Buckley.

7:30pm: THE JASON MARSALIS VIBES QUARTET
Percussionist extraordinaire Jason Marsalis is the youngest member of the illustrious New Orleans clan of musicians… and perhaps the most adventurous. Performing in support of their latest album, 21st Century Trad Band.

(photo by Stanley Johnson)

Ghost Train Orchestra’s Brian Carpenter (photo by Stanley Johnson)

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

1pm: THE VICTOR PRIETO TRIO
The Spanish-born, Boston-based musician Victor Prieto has been hailed by The New York Times as “a fiendishly skilled accordionist and composer” and by All About Jazz as “one of the best world music and jazz accordionists now days.”

2:45pm: WORKS WITH JOE LOVANO
Works – the Brooklyn-based jazz trio of flutist Michel Gentile, pianist Daniel Kelly and drummer Rob Garcia – are joined by the fierce sax titan Joe Lovano.

4:30pm: BRIAN CARPENTER’S GHOST TRAIN ORCHESTRA
Led by trumpeter and composer Brian Carpenter, GTO plays music scored by largely forgotten composers and arrangers of the late ’20 and ’30s – old music that somehow sounds new. Their new album, Hot Town, features sophisticated new arrangements of music by Cecil Scott’s Bright Boys, Charlie Johnson’s Paradise Orchestra, Fess Williams’ Royal Flush Orchestra and Tiny Parham & His Musicians.

ADDITIONAL UPCOMING FESTIVALS FOR 2015:
Springfield Steampunk Festival @ various location, Springfield, Vermont. 9/11-13/15
Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival @ Jennings Landing, Albany, 9/12/15, FREE
Pearlpalooza @ North Pearl Street, Albany, 9/12/15, FREE
Hispanic Heritage Celebration @ Empire State Plaza, Albany, 9/12/15, FREE
The Plaza at 50 Festival @ the Empire State Plaza, Albany, 9/16/15, FREE
FreshGrass @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 9/18-20/15
LarkFest @ Lark Street, Albany, 9/18/15, FREE
American Music Festival for the Lake @ Wood Park, Lake George, 9/26-27/15
Bridge Jazz Festival @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (Troy) and Massry Center for the Arts (Albany, 2/26&27/16