More Than Two Weekends Of Music Starts With Special Concert On Sept. 10
The Kentucky Heritage Jazz Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with concerts at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill and Old Fort Harrod State Park as well as the Beaumont Inn and the Mercer County Public Library. There will be a lot of returning favorites as well as new acts.
“We’re looking forward to being back at the fort and celebrating the 10th year,” said Sam Carr, who in addition to serving as mayor of Harrodsburg, also plays saxophone with Blue Groove Jazz Quartet—which has performed at the jazz festival since the beginning—and chair of the Jazz Festival’s board of directors. Carr is especially happy to be adding events to the festival, which started off as a one day concert a decade ago.
This year, the Mercer County Public Library is hosting swing dance classes. It has been remarked before that American children seem to instinctively know how to do the classic dances of the hot jazz of the 1920s, like the Charleston and the Fox Trot. It’s almost as if it’s in the genes. But the good people at the Mercer County Public Library (109 West Lexington Street) have noted that some adults might have forgotten some of the steps. In preparation for the Bee’s Knees Jubilee, which the library is hosting on Friday, Sept. 22, they are offering swing dance lessons starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, and Friday, Sept. 15. For more information, call 859-734-3680 or visit mcplib.info.
“It’s going to be pretty cool,” Carr said.
Blue Groove Jazz will kick off events when they perform a “Concert on the Lawn” at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill (3501 Lexington Road). on Sunday, Sept. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Through the sponsorship of Family Wealth Group, Shaker Village will offer two days of jazz on Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17, from noon to 10 p.m. “It’s such a great venue,” Carr said.
Saturday at Shakertown starts with Schnitzel Blitz at noon followed by the Campbellsville University Faculty Jazz Band at 2 p.m. Renowned jazz educator and saxophonist Jamey Aebersold and his quartet are scheduled to perform at 3:45 p.m. followed by Spherical Agenda, a jazz-rock fusion band from Cincinnati, at 6 p.m. Saturday’s headliner will be BiGG SuGG and the JaZZ Funkers, who are scheduled to take the stage at 8 p.m.
Sundays at the Jazz Festival are traditionally for college bands. And that’s the story again this year with jazz ensembles from Asbury University, Transylvania University, Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University scheduled to play at Shakertown. New this year is multi-instrumentalist David Hall and the return of the Capriccio Columbus Choral Group with Jazz Combo. Led by Harrodsburg native Larry Griffin, the choral group will perform Will Todd’s “Mass in Blue.” The Capriccio Columbus last performed at the Kentucky Heritage Jazz Festival in 2015.
But that’s not all the jazz. On Thursday, Sept. 21, Blue Groove Jazz—and guest—will perform a “Concert on the Lawn” at Beaumont Inn (638 Beaumont Inn Drive) from 5 to 7 p.m.
On Friday, Sept. 22, the Walnut Street Ramblers will be cutting the rug at the The “Bee’s Knees Jubilee” at the Mercer County Public Library from 6 to 8 p.m. The library will host a special swing dance lesson at 6 p.m. before the Ramblers start at 6:30 p.m. Carr said sing dance groups from Danville, Lexington and Louisville have been invited to perform. In addition, there will be Roaring Twenties costume contest.
Everything leads up to the weekend, when the Kentucky Jazz Festival returns to Old Fort Harrod State Park (100 South College Street) on Saturday, Sept. 23, from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 24, from noon to 6 p.m.
“I’m glad to be back at the fort,” Carr said. “That’s where it all started.”
Saturday starts with Blue Groove Jazz, who are scheduled to begin playing at noon, followed by Paladin led by New Orleans trumpeter James Millard Poole III, at 1:30 p.m. Returning favorites the Sofia Goodman Group are scheduled for 3:15 p.m. followed by the Brook Giles Band at 5 p.m. New this year is Destiny L and the Chasing Dreams Band who are scheduled to play at 6:45 p.m.
“She’s a really great singer,” Carr said.
Saturday’s headliner is Adrian Crutchfield, the last saxophonist to play with Prince, who is scheduled to take the stage at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday kicks off with the Upbeats followed by the Alan Robinson Trio who start at 1:30 p.m. Closing out the festival with the Bluegrass Area Jazz Ambassadors, 20-piece big band of community musicians and students from the University of Kentucky School of Music’s Jazz Studies Program led by Artistic Director Miles Osland and Musical Director David Hummel. The Jazz Ambassadors are scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. with the University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble closing out the festival starting at 5 p.m.
Organizers are stressing that both weekends are kid and pet friendly. Pop up tents are welcome. Spectators are advised to bring lawn chairs. Food trucks will be set up at all events. Carr praised the festival’s 45 sponsors. Thanks to them, all the events are free, he said.
“We couldn’t do it without them,” Carr said.
For more information, visit kyheritagejazzfest.org.