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Jazz Festival Gets ‘Saxy’ This September

Saxth Annual Fort Harrod Jazz Festival Runs Sept. 20 Through Sept. 22

The Harrodsburg Herald/Robert Moore
The University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble is celebrating their 50th anniversary with a series of special performances including this year’s Jazz Festival.

April Ellis

Herald Staff

The Fort Harrod Jazz Festival is sure to be a saxy event with this year’s theme “Sax to the Max” featuring renowned saxophonists Adrian Crutchfield, Jamey Aebersold, Miles Osland and Brooks Giles.

The event runs Friday, Sept. 20, through Sunday, Sept. 22, at Old Fort Harrod State Park and features 18 different bands. Friday runs from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. There will also be three pre-festival concerts:

  • Blue Groove Jazz will perform at Beaumont Inn, Saturday, Sept. 7 from 6-10 p.m.
  • The MetroGnomes Big Band will perform at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill on Saturday, Sept. 14, starting at 4:30 pm.
  • Blue Groove Jazz will also perform at Mercer County Public Library on Monday, Sept. 16, starting at 6 p.m.

As always the Jazz Festival will feature national, regional and local jazz acts, everything from small combos to 17-piece big bands. The diverse musical styles will showcase outstanding instrumental and vocal performances, including two award-winning bands from Nashville: The Cosmic Collective with vocalist Nikki Elias and the Sofia Goodman Group led by drummer Sofia Goodman.

Paladin and Blue Groove Jazz will kick off the festival Friday night.

The Harrodsburg Herald/Robert Moore
Saxophonist Adrian Crutchfield, the headliner for this year’s Jazz Festival, brought down the house with a special tribute to Prince last year.

Saturday features one of last year’s favorite performers, Adrian Crutchfield, the last saxophonist to tour with Prince. This year, internationally acclaimed music educator Jamey Aebersold will bring his jazz combo to Harrodsburg. Aebersold taught at the University of Louisville and is a renowned clinician and musician. Saxophonist and vocalist Brooks Giles will perform on Saturday as well. A native of Frankfort, Giles has performed internationally.

Saturday will also include an art and craftsman exhibit from the Kentucky Artisan Expo.

“Big Band” Sunday of the festival will feature professional and collegiate ensembles from the University of Kentucky, Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Asbury University, the University of the Cumberlands and the MetroGnomes.

The festival will pay tribute to 50 years of jazz studies at the University of Kentucky and the 30-year tenure of Miles Osland, director of jazz studies. The “50/30 UK Tribute” will feature an alumni big band of former UK jazz students coming from across the country to perform. Osland’s jazz combo will close the festival Sunday.

Food vendors will be set up all three days and the event is free to the public. The Fort Harrod Jazz Festival is a Mercer Chamber of Commerce event.

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