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Hall High School Jazz Band to Kick Off Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz

Hall High School Jazz Band. Courtesy photo

West Hartford’s Hall High School Jazz Band, with special guest trombonist Chris Crenshaw, will kick off the three-day Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz in Bushnell Park, an event that is expected to draw 70,000 music fans.

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The 31st annual Greater Hartford Jazz Festival, New England’s largest free public jazz festival, will kick-off on Thursday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. with a one-hour performance by Hall High School’s 23-person Jazz Band and special guest trombonist Christopher Crenshaw. The performance will also feature recent graduates from West Hartford’s Hall High School who were unable to perform previously due to the COVID-19 pandemic alongside the Jazz at Lincoln Center celebrated musician.

“We couldn’t be prouder to kick-off off our 31st annual Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz with West Hartford’s very own Hall High School Jazz Band and special guest Jazz at Lincoln Center trombonist Christopher Crenshaw on Thursday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Bushnell Park in downtown Hartford,” said Charles Christie, president, Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz. “As Hartford’s very own jazz spectacular, offering four nights and three days chock full of live free-of-charge jazz to 70,000 visitors who travel from coast to coast for our celebrated lineup of guests, we are thrilled to herald in another year by saluting our own talented budding jazz musicians and heat things up for 13 jazz icons who are part of our 2022 schedule.

“We’ve got a jam-packed schedule reflecting all jazz styles and rhythms, from classic to funk and fusion, with over a dozen beloved performers and groups, from Chembo Corniel Quintet to Spyro Gyra, reflecting several facets of the jazz world. We’ve got a range of sponsorship options for companies, foundations and individuals to support us and we hope there’s a big increase in sponsorship in the coming weeks,” continued Christie. “We are a volunteer-fueled non-profit and count on corporate sponsorship and individual gifts to return year after year with great music. There’s still time to support our event which is so valuable to local businesses in the greater Hartford region.”

Chris Crenshaw. Courtesy photo

The 2022 Greater Hartford of Jazz Festival lineup includes:

THURSDAY, JULY 14

Hall High School Jazz Band featuring Chris Crenshaw, 6:30-8 p.m.

FRIDAY, JULY 15

Chembo Corniel Quintet – 7 p.m.

Vincent Ingala – 8:30 p.m.

Boney James – 10 p.m.

Art From Da Hart featuring Whitney Lucky-J – time TBD

SATURDAY, JULY 16

Will Prince and Friends – 2:30 p.m.

Isaiah Sharkey – 4:30 p.m.

Brian Simpson/Jakeim Joyner/Steve Oliver – 6:30 p.m.

Spyro Gyra – 8:30 p.m.

Average White Band – 10:30 p.m.

Art From Da Hart featuring Betty – time TBD

SUNDAY, JULY 17

Matt Marshak – 2:30 p.m.

Firey String Sistas – 4:30 p.m.

Marquis Hill: New Gospel Revisited (100%) – 6:30 p.m.

The Manhattan Transfer – 8:30 p.m.

Art From Da Hart featuring Klassy Katz – time TBD

The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz will feature items from 50 artists and craftspeople selling hand-crafted jewelry, clothing, gifts, and beauty products. Health & Human Services vendors from the area will also be present at the festival. An array of 20 food vendors, including mobile food trucks, reflecting the diversity of the greater Hartford region will offer freshly prepared food and beverages throughout the Festival including plant-based cuisine along with comfort, BBQ, Caribbean and other food categories.

About Chris Crenshaw

A graduate of Thomson High School, Valdosta State University, and The Juilliard School, Christopher Crenshaw started playing piano at three years old and started playing trombone at eleven years old. He grew up playing keyboard with his father Casper in the gospel quartet from Thomson, Georgia, the Echoes of Joy. He has been with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis since 2006 and founded The Georgia Horns in 2011. He’s transcribed music and written arrangements for two Tony Award nominated musicals, After Midnight, and Shuffle Along…. He appears on numerous albums including Marcus Printup’s Ballads All Night, Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton Play the Blues, Paul Simon’s In the Blue Light, Ted Nash’s GRAMMY award-winning The Presidential Suite, and The Abyssinian Mass. Crenshaw has two albums: TheGeorgia Horns Live at Dizzy’s Club with Marcus Printup, Thomson native Stantawn Kendrick, Kenny Banks, Jr., Kevin Smith & Brandon McCrae, and Christopher Crenshaw’s ‘The Fifties: A Prism with the JLCO featuring Stantawn Kendrick. 

About the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz

Now in its 31st year, The Greater Festival of Jazz, a 501(c)(3) organization run entirely by volunteers, brings together top names in jazz for its free annual three-day series of performances in Bushnell Park in downtown Hartford, CT the third week in July.

Originally conceived by Paul Brown, noted Hartford jazz bassist and music educator in 1991, The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz draws over 70,000 participants from across the country, realizing Brown’s dream of a world-class jazz event in Hartford. Now in its 31st year, this free-of-charge Festival is supported by small and medium-sized charitable gifts and donations from foundations, businesses, and corporations as well as City of Hartford and State of Connecticut grants. The Festival is also generously supported by contributions from individual jazz lovers throughout the region.

Over 100 volunteers donate their time to work at the Festival, a true testimony to the popularity to which the Festival has risen since its debut over 30 years ago. The Festival has a history of presenting national and international mainstream, cutting-edge, traditional and contemporary jazz performers, aspiring local and regional artists and some truly wonderful young musicians from area schools and noteworthy jazz programs. During the Festival’s lifetime, music history has literally been written on stage, perfectly matched by the intensity and appreciation of its audiences. For more information, visit https://www.hartfordjazz.org/.

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