Story by Shelley R. Clapper
This year marked the ninth consecutive year for the Hudson Valley Jazz Festival, founded by musician, drummer and Warwick resident Steve Rubin. The Festival took place over four days, from Thurs., Aug. 9 to Sun., Aug. 12 and included 151 shows in total.
Originally named the Warwick Valley Jazz Festival, it is now known as the Hudson Valley Jazz Festival as the events have expanded to venues outside of the Town of Warwick. The majority of events were scheduled in Warwick but others took place in Pine Island, Florida, Walden, Washingtonville, Monroe, Goshen, and Peekskill.
Organizer Steve Rubin would like to thank the many who donated, attended shows, the organizations that produced concerts, and the many area jazz artists for their time, dedication, and contributions. Moving forward, the Festival hopes for an educational component and is seeking someone to take the helm of that initiative. Rubin’s future mission is to be more inclusive, offering performances from artists that have not yet participated in the festival.
NY Swing Exchange Opens Festival
The festival began on Thurs., Aug. 9 with the New York Swing Exchange appearing at the Railroad Green on Railroad Ave. in Warwick. The jazz entertainment continued with Karl Latham’s “Acoustic Unit” appearing at the Mulder Chapel in the Warwick Conference Center, and ended with Quave and Michael Purcell at Eddie’s Road House in Warwick.
Borthwick at the Glenmere Brewery
Warwick’s very own Chloe Borthwick performed with Gabe Valle on jazz violin and Nick Gaskins on Fri., Aug. 10 at the Glenmere Brewery in Florida.
Chloe, an outstanding jazz vocalist, graduated this year from Warwick Valley High School. She has performed in the elite Grammy Jazz Sessions ensemble. She is also a 2017 National Young Arts Competition Merit winner for the category of voice in singing-songwriting. This year marked her first appearance at the jazz festival.
Two Band Special Performance
There was also a two band special performance at the Warwick Center for the Performing Arts. Steve Rubin, Ed Littman, and J. Brunka performed Beyond Jazz, followed by the Gabriele Tranchina Group, which included Joe Vincent Tranchina on keyboards, Lew Scott, and Scott Neumann. Local resident Gabriele Tranchina performs every year at the festival. She is a versatile and eclectic performer, singing in English, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, Hindi, and her native German.
The Mobius Band
One of the highlights of the festival was the Mobius Band, starring Peter Levin on electric piano. The band performed on Sat., Aug. 12 at the Warwick Reformed Church.
The event was originally scheduled to take place at Railroad Green but was moved due to the rain. The band was introduced as, “One of the most fabulous bands that have ever played in Warwick.”
Drummer Lenny White has played with the likes of Miles Davis and Chuck Correa. A great performance on saxophone was given by Alex Foster, who has played the opening notes with the Saturday Night Live Band.
Rubin has cited these performers in the past as “real jazz royalty.” Other members of the band that performed were Warwick resident Jeff Ciampa on jazz guitar, Chris Pasin on trumpet, Nanny Assis, from Brazil on percussion, and Tony Levin on Bass.
Peter Levin explained than many of the band members playing that evening had experienced band leaders who taught them to, “see where the music would go.” The group then played a piece called Mobius. He said that this piece of music was like a Mobius strip.
“If you could picture yourself walking around it you would be on the outside and then the inside. We have a looping baseline, but we are not sure how it will go. This is kind of an experiment,” said Levin.
The Mike Jackson Group
The Iron Forge Inn has been a traditional venue for the jazz festival. On Sun., Aug. 12 jazz enthusiasts were able to enjoy lunch while listening to the Mike Jackson Group with Larry Ham, Mark Hagan, and Steve Rubin. Later that day the Eric Person Group performed at the Albert Wisner Public Library.
Persad/Kopec En Masse
The final event of the festival was the Persad/Kopec En Masse Group, which performed at Limoncello’s Restaurant in Goshen, NY. Chris Persad performed on trumpet and Robert Kopec was on bass.
Rubin has proved once again that he can put together a wonderful few days’ experience for jazz lovers and Warwick can be proud of him!