The summer of live music gets ever more jam-packed. Check out the lineup for GRandJazzFest, Freedom Cruise and Jazz at the Zoo.
Acclaimed trumpet player and singer Rick Braun and flutist Alexander Zonjic will headline August’s GRandJazzFest in downtown Grand Rapids, with local favorites the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde, Evidence, Grupo Aye and the Cooper Hay Ven Lente Group also on the two-day bill.
Braun, who’s played and recorded with the likes of Rod Stewart, REO Speedwagon, Natalie Cole, Sade, War and Tom Petty, will perform in the prime-time slot Saturday night during GRandJazzFest which takes place at Rosa Parks Circle Aug. 16-17.
GRandJazzFest Founder Audrey Sundstrom called Braun “the real deal” as a performer and recording artist who’s had several No. 1 records on jazz charts. He’s releasing a new album, “Human Nature,” this summer.
Zonjic, who’s performed with The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, The Windsor Symphony Orchestra, The Florida Symphony Orchestra and others, will headline Sunday’s GRandJazzFest lineup.
The free festival, in its third year, also will feature a host of local and regional jazz stars, including the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with singer Edye Evans Hyde, Cooper Hay Van Lente Group, Grupo Aye, In The Tradition, Matt Marshak, Evidence, Demetrius “Krayon” Nabors and The Robert Hurst Quintet.
In addition, Sunday’s performances will include a student jazz jam session. For more details visit the GRandJazzFest website.
FREEDOM CRUISE ANNOUNCES BAND LINEUP FOR DELTAPLEX EXPO IN LATE JUNE
West Michigan’s inaugural Freedom Cruise – a five-day motorcycle and classic car rally event – will spotlight “America’s most patriotic rock band” and several popular local acts at Walker’s DeltaPlex, leading up to a “Freedom Rocks” concert starring Danny “The Count” Koker’s Count’s 77 on June 28.
The two-day Freedom Cruise Car & Bike Expo at the DeltaPlex (with Rick and Kelly Dale of “American Restorations”) will also feature a Friday night concert by New York’s Madison Rising, which has made a YouTube splash with its unusual rendition of the National Anthem and has been billed as “America’s most patriotic rock band.”
Madison Rising will perform in the DeltaPlex at 7:30 p.m. June 27, with Grand Rapids’ ODR (Old Dudes Rock) and Fled Fiveplaying sets starting at 4:15.
On Saturday, Grand Rapids singer-guitarist Jason Eller kicks off the musical entertainment at 12:45 p.m., followed by The Hype. The evening show is a special ticketed event starting at 5:30 p.m. with a performance by West Michigan’s own The Outer Vibe.
Count’s 77 will wrap up the evening after a presentation for the American Fallen Soldier Project. Danny “The Count” Koker — owner of the Las Vegas auto customization company Count’s Kustoms and star of the History Channel reality TV show, “Counting Cars” — fronts the Count’s 77 rock band.
“At the end at the day, we want people to just come and enjoy some good music and enjoy some old cars and bikes. It’s just going to be a fun indoor atmosphere with craft beers and music ongoing,” said event organizer Tom Antor, a Kent County commissioner. “There’s so much good talent around this town, it’s amazing.”
Advance tickets for the Saturday evening concert are $15 general admission, $25 reserved seating and $50 VIP. (Price are $5 higher the day of the show.) Get tickets online here.
The expo is just a small part of the Freedom Cruise, which actually kicks off with the Whitecaps Motor Rally at Fifth Third Ballpark on Wednesday, June 25. That event will include a special edition of 97 LAV’s Blues on the Mall, called “Blues on the Ball,” that will feature an as-yet-to-be-announced national blues act.
The unusual five-day Freedom Cruise, sponsored by Village Motorsports along with Orion Construction and others, will also include a Thursday Village Motor Festival in Sparta (with live music), a Friday evening Beer City Twilight Cruise in downtown Grand Rapids and a Sunday ride to the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners. Get more details at the Freedom Cruise website.
JAZZ AT THE ZOO 2014 TO STAR MAX COLLEY, WONDERLAND JAZZ ENSEMBLE
A summer jazz tradition continues when the West Michigan Jazz Society kicks off its annual Jazz at the Zoo concerts with a performance by the Byron Center High School Jazz Orchestra on June 9.
The free Monday night concerts in the John Ball Park bandshell at 1300 W. Fulton St. in Grand Rapids often draw big crowds of chair- and blanket-toting picnickers, with vendors on hand selling food items.
The 14th season of Jazz at the Zoo concerts continues on June 16 with Planet D Nonet, a “down-and-dirty little swing band from Detroit playing the classic swing music of Ellington & Strayhorn, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie and Benny Carter.”
The June 23 show will feature the Wonderland Jazz Ensemble led by composer/saxophonist Tom Elferdink, blending traditional jazz with original material.
And on June 30, the Max Colley III Sextet takes the bandshell stage, led by the West Michigan Jazz Society’s 2014 Jazz Musician of the Year.
In July, Jazz at the Zoo will feature singer Susan Morris and Blue Monk Jazz on July 7, Big Band Nouveau on July 14, the River Rogues Jazz Band on July 21 and Checkers Morton (aka Dave Collee, Dan Giacobassi, Jim Beegle, Bob VanStee and Tim Froncek) on July 28.
Then, Mary Rademacher and the Rad Pack return on August 4, with the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, as is tradition, closing out the series on Aug. 11.
Get more details at the jazz society website.
Email John Sinkevics at email@example.com.
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