Spring Jazz Fest returns this month
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Apr 11, 2017 | 3744 views | 0 0 comments | 325 325 recommendations | email to a friend | print
High school students perform at last year’s festival. (Facebook/Marcela Rivera)
High school students perform at last year’s festival. (Facebook/Marcela Rivera)
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Queens Jazz OverGround, a collective promoting jazz performance and education in Queens, will host its fifth annual Spring Jazz Fest on Sunday, April 30.

The festival is a daylong series of jazz workshops and performances, which will be held at Flushing Town Hall from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The day sessions, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., will include performances by student jazz combos, jazz master classes open to all students and aspiring performers, and middle school and high school student bands. For the master classes, members of the Queens Jazz OverGround will guide students in developing a basic jazz repertoire and then lead a jam session utilizing that repertoire.

According to festival organizers, the annual event highlights the talents of the many renowned and emerging jazz instrumentalists & vocalists in the borough of Queens such as the Rose Ellis Quartet and Hashem Assadullahi’s Standard Deviation Trio.

Ellis is a singer, lyricist and songwriter, originally from the Netherlands, whose music focuses on the jazz tradition. She recently received the Herb Alpert Young Composers Award from the ASCAP Foundation, a prize to encourage young gifted composers.

Assadullahi’s trio is inspired after Lester Young’s trio with Nat King Cole and Buddy Rich. Their members include Assadullahi on saxophone, pianist Leonard Thompson and Matt Wilson on Drums. The group aims to meld together great jazz singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, to Nancy Wilson, to Sarah Vaughn, together with ‘free’ players like Dewey Redman, Ellery Eskelin and Don Cherry.

Additional ensembles include Joey Johnson Quintet, Rafal Sarnecki Sextet, Daisuke Abe Quartet and The Brian Woodruff Sextet +1, featuring vocalist Vicki Burns.

The evening performances of professional ensembles will perform overlapping 60-minute sets in the venue’s gallery and theater.

The Spring Jazz Fest is free to the public.

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LGBTQ Voices seeking talented performers

As a kick off to Queens Pride Week, Flushing Town Hall is hosting their fourth annual LGBTQ cultural event, LGBTQ Voices, and they need your help to do so.

Organizers are seeking established and up-and-coming performing artists who identify as LGBTQ to take part in the event at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights on Saturday, June 3.

Artists encouraged to apply include those in music, dance, spoken word/poetry, theater and performance art.

“By celebrating who we are through art and song, we resist those who seek to make us invisible,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “I am proud to continue my support of LGBTQ open call and look forward to the amazing array of participants who bring music, dance and poetry to the plaza.”

Last year’s performers included the Jackson Heights Community Chorus, SALGA Dance Team, poetess Foxy Squire, Kiyan “Kiki” Williams, recording artist GypjaQ and poet Davidson Garrett.

Applications must consist of a statement of interest and description of proposed performance (200 words maximum), biographical Details (300 words maximum) and at most three work samples. Artists can submit mp3, jpg or video.

Applications must be sent via email by to Flushing Town Hall’s Deputy Director Sami Abu Shumays at sshumays@flushingtownhall.org by April 21, 2017. If applying, please use the subject line: LGBTQ OPEN CALL 2017. Flushing Town Hall subsequently will review all applications and select three to five performers, who will be notified by early May.
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