Posts Tagged ‘Onondaga Community College’

Jazz for a Sunday Afternoon

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
Dave Mann, Will Lee and Chris Parker
Dave Mann, Will Lee and Chris Parker

The 28th Annual Syracuse Jazz Fest took place again at Onondaga Community College last weekend. I got cover the final day, which featured Natalie Cole, Toph-E, Sheryl Bailey, and Michael Kaeshammer. One fan I spoke with said the Friday night Jam Session was the best set he’d seen at this particular event (he’s been attending for over 20 years).

Michael Kaeshammer and Marc Roberts (The Canadian Connection)

Michael Kaeshammer and Marc Roberts

Other artists who performed on days one and two of the festival (who I missed) included Gil Scott Heron, Boz Scaggs and Jeff Lorber.

It was also good to see, photograph and talk with piano tuner Kenneth Williams.  According to Jazz Fest Producer Festival Frank Malfitano: “[Williams] is the best in the business and a very dear friend of the festival, he’s indespensable.”

Natelie Cole

Natelie Cole

To see more photographs of Syracuse Jazz Fest, Day 3, click here. 

Kenneth & Kenny: Watching one, Listening to the other

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
Kenny G 2009 Syracuse Jazz Fest

Kenny G JazzFest 2009

I had the opportunity to cover the 2009 Syracuse Jazz Fest at OCC last week and see Spyro Gyra and Kenny Gorelick (aka Kenny G.)  I’m familiar with some of Gorelick’s work, and maybe my favorite cut is “Hi! How Ya Doin,” which was produced by Kashif.  If you check out the video, you can see Kenny G before he had the long curly hair and you can even see his dance moves.

What I didn’t know about Kenny G is that he has sold over 50 million albums, he started out playing with Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra and his wife is photographer Lyndie Benson.

Before Kenny G took the stage I had a wonderful conversation for the Jazz Fest’s piano tuner Kenneth Williams back stage. I know Williams from a previous job and we’ve had brief conversations about his vision (he’s legally blind) his hearing (he has what he calls “good relative pitch.”) and his love of music (he doesn’t own a piano but he is actually a trumpet player).

Kenneth Williams, piano tuner

Kenneth Williams, piano tuner

Williams is a jovial personality who does some of the best impressions I’ve heard outside of Hollywood. He does a great John Wayne, Pearl Bailey and Jimmy Stewart. I asked him how long would he continue to work (he’s been a piano technician and tuner for longer than I’ve been alive).  I’m never going to retire, he said. I’m having too much fun.