HARRODSBURG — Fort Harrod gets jazzy with it once again, adding a fourth annual year with the festival of jazz music, art, food and fun. The Fort Harrod Jazz Festival returns Friday, Sept. 15 and continues on through Sunday, Sept. 17 at Old Fort Harrod State Park.
This year, the festival pays homage to Vince DiMartino, theming it “Vince and Friends” and featuring 16 jazz ensembles over the course of the weekend. The festival is a non-profit event that’s free to the public, and is a collaborative effort between Old Fort Harrod State Park, the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce and local jazz musicians and educators.
The “Vince and Friends” theme was decided upon due to the strong presence DiMartino has on the music scene throughout central Kentucky and beyond, since the early 1970s. A critically acclaimed musician, DiMartino is a music educator at the University of Kentucky and Centre College.
DiMartino will join in on performing, as well as many of his peers, including an alumni band of his former students who will play to honor his illustrious career.
• The DiMartino Osland Jazz Orchestra (DOJO) , a 17-piece big band from Lexington, will be the Sunday headliner. One of the most sought-after trumpet performers and educators worldwide, DiMartino graduated from The Eastman School of Music in ‘72, then taught at U.K. until 1993, and began a new appointment as Distinguished Artist in Residence at Centre College. DiMartino retired in ‘12 as W. George Matton Professor of Music at Centre, where he taught trumpet, brass and jazz ensembles, and jazz history.
The DiMartino/Osland Jazz Orchestra has been delighting audiences all across the Bluegrass and the Midwest for over a decade and will headline the Ft. Harrod Jazz Fest in 2017. The aggregation is directed by virtuoso trumpeter DiMartino and high-energy saxophonist Miles Osland (director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Saxophone at U.K). The members of the orchestra consist of some of the finest professors and freelance musicians from central Kentucky. Their first recording titled “Off the Charts” has garnered considerable radio play on jazz stations across the country.
DiMartino continues to perform throughout the world as a trumpet soloist with orchestras, bands and jazz ensembles. He has been a soloist with The Boston Pops, The United States Marine Band, The Cincinnati Pops and many other major orchestras throughout the United States and performed with over 200 university and college ensembles.
• Saturday’s main band will be SOUSE, a 7-piece jazz-funk band based out of Cincinnati. Formed in the spring of 2004, SOUSE quickly became one of the premier jazz-funk bands in the Midwest. Blending infectious melodies with layered rhythms and open improvisational passages, SOUSE continues to forge a unique sound and push the envelope with live performances.
The acclaimed 2008 release of SOUSE’s first CD, “PUSH”, and their dynamic live performances have garnered the band three nominations for “Best R&B/Funk Band” at the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. Over the years SOUSE has compiled an extensive library of original compositions, while taking time to pay homage to their influences including, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, John Coltrane and many other jazz and fusion greats. SOUSE is best experienced live and continues to perform at clubs and music festivals throughout the Midwest.
• Friday’s headliner is Blue Groove Jazz Quartet, a classic jazz ensemble with members from Harrodsburg and Danville. The band is comprised of seasoned musicians, collectively having very diverse and extensive musical experiences, all with a common love of jazz. The musical genres of BGJ are equally diverse, ranging from swing, bebop, and Latin, covering artists ranging from Miles Davis to Steely Dan. BGJ has already garnered a loyal following in central Kentucky, and has performed at gala events for the Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College. The members of BGJ are Sam Carr (alto and tenor sax), Eben Henson (drums), Pete McCaffrey (bass) and Mark Gardner (keyboards).
Other offerings include: Sofia Goodman Group, a 4-piece jazz-funk band based out of Nashville; UK Alumni All-Star Band, featuring DiMartino’s former students/peers; The Walnut Street Ramblers, a Lexington ensemble focusing on New Orleans and 1920s jazz; jazz bands from the University of Kentucky, Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Asbury University, and Campbellsville University; and regional jazz ensembles including Blue Groove Jazz, The Jazz Collective, Paladin, Miss Direction and Marlin McKay Quartet.
Friday, Sept. 15:
6-7:45 p.m. — The Sofia Goodman Group
8-9:30 p.m. — Paladin
9:30-11 p.m. — Blue Groove Jazz
Saturday, Sept. 16:
noon-1:30 p.m. — Walnut Street Ramblers
1:45-2:45 p.m. — Campbellsville University Jazz
3-4:30 p.m. — Marlin McKay Quartet
4:45-6:15 p.m. — Miss Direction
6:30-8 p.m. — Jazz Collective
8:15-10 p.m. — SOUSE
Sunday, Sept. 17:
noon to 12:35 p.m. — Asbury University Jazz Band
12:45-1:20 p.m. — Kentucky State University Jazz
1:30-2:05 p.m. — Eastern Kentucky University Jazz
2:15-2:50 p.m. — Morehead State Jazz 1
3-3:35 p.m. — University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble
3:45-4:30 p.m. — Vince DiMartino Alumni All Star Jazz Band
4:40-6 p.m. — DiMartino Osland Jazz Orchestra
To see the full bios of all the featured bands during the jazz festival, or for more information, visit www.ftharrodjazzfest.com
IF YOU GO
The Fort Harrod Jazz Festival goes up 6-11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 and noon-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17 at Old Fort Harrod State Park, 100 S. College St., Harrodsburg. Food and beer vendors will also be onsite. For more information, visit www.ftharrodjazzfest.com.
SO YOU KNOW
This year, the FHJF welcomes the Kentucky Artisans Expo to the festival with some of the regions finest artists showcasing their original handmade arts and crafts. The expo will be set up 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday during the festival.