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Jazz and blues fest in Somerville June 19-27

Posted by Gail Waterhouse  June 4, 2010 10:00 AM

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The following is a press release from Joe's Jazz and Blues Festival:

The brain child of Mayor Joe, who played trumpet in the Somerville High School Jazz Band, Joe's Jazz and Blues Festival is back this year, kicking off on Saturday, June19th at Powderhouse Park with  and continuing throughout the week at Somerville’s local hotspots.

The festival begins with a free concert in Powderhouse Park, from 12-8pm on June 19th. The Somerville High School Jazz Ensemble will get the crowd going with sounds ranging from American Jazz to Big Band, and everything in between.

From then on, there will be non-stop music until 8pm—from Latin beats to rock-hard blues to violins and fiddles. The lineup includes Professor Harp, Brendan Hogan & Band, Evan Marien Trio, The Ben Powell Quartet, Eric Hofbauer and the Infrared Band, Peter Parcek 3, and the Camelia Latin Jazz Sextet.

That’s just the beginning. Throughout the rest of the week, area venues will showcase some incredible talent.  Celebrate Father’s Day with Caribbean jazz by Gifrants at Bloc 11 on June 20th. The fusion continues at PJ Ryans with Le Prestige on Monday the 21st, a Somerville band that pounds out groove jazz tinged with hip hop, 50s and 60s soul and a tiny bit of electronic. The Aruda Brothers take over Precinct on Wednesday, June 23rd.  Former members of the Somerville High School Band, these brothers have played with some of the greats (Joe Cocker and Lou Rawls just to name a few). On Thursday, June 24th, Ben Monder will take center stage at Johnny D’s, bringing jazz to life with his electric guitar.  Sally O’Briens will have The White Owls and their blues groove on Saturday, June 26th.  Rounding out the festival, The Ruthie Ristich Trio with The Sisters of Swing bring the American songbook to life with a benefit for Groundwork Somerville at the Nave Gallery on Sunday, June 27.

Event Schedule and Act Descriptions:

Saturday, June 19
Free Outdoor Festival, Powderhouse Park, Powderhouse Circle
(across the Street from 136 College Ave.)

12pm: The Somerville High School Jazz Ensemble 

The SHS Jazz Ensemble is an eclectic group of High School students who perform American Jazz from Big Band to Contemporary. They are directed by Richard Romanoff and often have special guests from the community sit in as featured soloists. They have performed at local art openings and have toured the city playing for every elementary school. They look forward to playing for the community and if you close your eyes, you won’t think they are high school students!

12:45pm: Brendan Hogan

Following 10 years in radio as host and producer at WERS and WGBH FM, Hogan’s work in songwriting and performing has seen him share stages with Geoff Muldaur, Ray Bonneville, Eilen Jewell, Les Sampou, Kris Delmhorst, Paul Rishell & Annie Raines, Spider John Koerner, Brooks Williams, and others. The Boston Phoenix newspaper has called Hogan “a distinctive new musical voice”. 
1:45: Evan Marien Trio

Voted one of 2009's Most Exciting New Player’s by the reader's of Bass Player Magazine, Evan Marien is quickly becoming one of the most talked about bass players in the world. His music is a unique blend of jazz, rock and funk.

2:45pm: Eric Hofbauer and the Infrared Band

Somerville-based jazz guitarist/composer Eric Hofbauer's award winning quartet, The Infrared Band, blends whimsy and intelligence, along with inspiration from diverse sources such as ancient mythology and martial arts films, to create its distinctive sound.  Critics have noted the group's "intriguingly original music" (Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes) and "a take on jazz guitar that sidesteps the usual" (Nic Jones,, and called its 2008 debut, Myth Understanding (Creative Nation Music), "rewarding on every level" (Michael Coyle, Cadence).

3:45pm: Peter Parcek 3

Buddy Guy calls Peter Parcek “as bad as Eric Clapton.” With the arrival of Peter’s new album The Mathematics of Love, it’s time for everyone to discover this innovative guitarist and bone-deep singer — a virtuoso who paints his music with the colors of folk, gypsy jazz, surf, rockabilly and a wealth of other styles without compromising the roots, heart and soul of the blues at its core.
4:45pm: The Ben Powell Quartet

A brilliant young jazz violinist, Ben Powell has absorbed much of the sound and approach of the great Stephane Grappelli and combined it with his own deep musicianship and contemporary attitude to produce jazz violin playing that is both technically scintillating and musically gratifying. 'Long Night Coming' is Brendan’s Hogan first full-length studio album.

5:45: Camelia Latin Jazz Sextet

The CAMELIA LATIN JAZZ Ensemble is a group that exists as a trio, quartet, quintet and sextet. Its leader Roderick Camelia is well versed in all popular Latin and Caribbean styles, and has added jazz improvisation not only to the salsa rhythm (which is more common), but also to the merengue, cumbia and the bachata, creating this way a very unique type of latin jazz.

5:45: Professor Harp

Known as “The Undaunted Professor Harp,” Hugh Holmes has been playing his soul stirring, rock-grinding, Texas style blues for over 35 years.  As the Boston Blues Society states, “With a deep singing style full of shouts, whoops, and other wild sounds, his vocals… sound a bit like Muddy Waters.” Thrilling, spine-tingling, undaunted, Professor Harp takes over the stage giving an incredible performance that will stay with you for days.


Sunday, June 20
Bloc 11 11 Bow St., Union Sq., 5:30pm, $5 suggested donation
With over thirty years of composing and performing experience, Gifrants has reached a new plateau in his unique and sultry genre of fused jazz and traditional pan-Caribbean music. This seasoned artist has entertained the east coast with evocative rhythms and stories brought to life in live settings with an unrivaled passion.

Gifrants has released 11 full-length projects on his label Gaëta Records, selling well over 40,000 cds. Writing, producing and acting as his own publicist, he is often accompanied by a revolving cast of Boston based jazz luminaries who perform his songs in both live and studio settings.

Monday, June 21
Le Prestige
PJ Ryan’s, 239 Holland St., Teele Sq., 10pm, no cover

Somerville’s Le Prestige performs an all-instrumental, “Hard-Hitting, Chill-Out Lounge” music influenced by 50’s and 60’s Blue Note label groove jazz and early 90’s hip-hop and electronica; their mostly original repertoire is spiked with a few choice jazz and rock covers.  Formed in 2008, the group consists of Chris Forkey (upright bass), Kit Buckley (tenor sax), Scott Getchell (trumpet), and John Glenshaw (drumkit).  Vive Le Prestige!

Wednesday, June 23
The Aruda Brothers
Precinct, 70 Union Sq., 9pm, $5,

Scott (trumpet) and John (saxophone) Aruda were born into a family immersed in the Somerville music scene. All eight of their siblings played horns in the Somerville High School Band, and growing up, John and Scott developed their Jazz and Blues sound by frequenting Somerville haunts like the Willow Jazz Club, Deco’s Lounge, and Johnny D’s.

Bringing style, authenticity and a whole lot of soul with them wherever they go,  John and Scott have played acts with Lou Rawls, Joe Cocker, Weepin Willie, Toni Lynn Washington, and Susan Tedeschi.
Thursday, June 24
Ben Monder
Johnny D’s Uptown, 17 Holland St., 8pm, $12,

“You know within about three seconds that something original is coming out of Ben Monder’s electric guitar...He’s like a magician who slows a trick down to ox-cart tempo, and you still can’t figure out how he did it” ( LA Weekly). After returning to New York in 1984 from studying music at Queens College and the University of Miami, Ben spent most of his time working with R&B and wedding bands and practicing jazz in his room. His big break came in 1986 when Jack McDuff called him (personally!) to join his band “The Heatin’ System” for some extended road trips to the Midwest and West Coast.

Saturday, June 26
The White Owls
Sally O’Brien’s, 335 Somerville Ave., 9pm, no cover

The White Owls, Dennis Brennan, Michael Dinallo, Steve Sadler, Dean Cassell, and Andy Plaisted, are a collection of Boston's finest roots musicians.  The White Owls have molded a blend of Chicago & Texas Blues, Memphis Soul, New Orleans Rhythm and Blues, and West Coast Swing into a unique machine with emphasis on the groove but not to exclusion of scorching solos.  Like all great bands, The White Owls started at one point paying homage to the music they love, and have brought the music to a new place.
Sunday, June 27
The Ruthie Ristich Trio with The Sisters of Swing,

The Nave Gallery, 155 Powderhouse Blvd, 3pm, $15/$10 for students
a benefit for Groundwork Somerville

The Boston Globe calls Ruthie Ristich "a jazz vocalist of uncommon range and depth of feeling." A feature story in Venice's Nuova Venezia praised her performance as "intimate... hot... electric... sincere." And Boston jazz authority Ron della Chiesa says she is "...the epitome of musical diversity. Not only in style and song selection, but in arrangement and format as well." Ruthie sings traditional and not-so traditional jazz and blues with style, flair and loads of personality.

The Sisters of Swing certainly prove the old saying that “good things come in threes”! Ruthie, Roberta, and Gaye combine their musical personalities into one harmonious delivery of the great American songbook. Their performances are fresh, sophisticated, and fun, with original arrangements that make the familiar standards sound new again. And true to their name, these sisters swing!  An evening with the Sisters of Swing will give you a 21st-century taste of the wonderful female singing group sound and the timeless songs of long ago.

This event will be a benefit for Groundwork Somerville, an organization that strives to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment through the development of community-based partnerships which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being.

Followed by a reception in the gallery with a special preview of the exhibit “Elements: Line, Color & Form” featuring the work of Ron Brunelle, Kathleen Finlay and Alisia Dworsky.

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