With nationally renowned smooth jazz acts headlining, this weekend’s jazz fest at Rosa Parks Circle will also feature two days of local and regional jazz stars. See and save the full schedule.
The capacity crowds jamming Rosa Parks Circle every summer tell the story.
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
Jazz is alive and well in Grand Rapids.
The 5th annual GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation is bringing buzz-worthy jazz music, including nationally renowned acts as well as up-and-coming artists, to downtown Grand Rapids.
This year’s festival will boast performances ranging from sets by solo artists such as Tim Bowman and Sunday night closer Chris Standring to full ensembles such as the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra (featuring singer Edye Evans Hyde) and the Lakeshore Big Band.
“it brings a diverse group of people to downtown Grand Rapids to experience a genre of jazz not commonly heard in the area,” said Steve Hilger, who plays at 5 p.m. Saturday and who performed at the festival during its first year.
(Tune in to Local Spins on WYCE — 88.1 FM — at 11 a.m. Friday when Hilger and bassist Charlie Hoats will perform and chat about the weekend festival.)
This year’s lineup covers a lot of ground.
Saturday’s headliner, Buffalo native Cindy Bradley, is a prominent, award winning-contemporary jazz artist best known for her trumpet and flugelhorn performances. It’s the first female headliner in GRandJazzFest history.
Bradley, who earned a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from Ithaca College and a master’s in jazz trumpet performance from the New England Conservatory, was honored as best new artist at the American Smooth Jazz Awards and debut artist of the year by both the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival and Smooth Jazz News.
British-born, Los Angeles-based jazz guitarist Chris Standring, who headlines Sunday night, has spent more than 15 years performing boundary-breaking contemporary jazz music. Standring has made a name for himself by creating inventive, fresh jazz music, which often involves traditional instrumentation as well as DJ enhancements.
GRandJazzFest co-founder and chairperson Audrey Sundstrom cited “the phenomenal expertise and diversity” of the 2016 lineup, which happens to feature Michigan-bred guitarist Tim Bowman, who headlined the inaugural 2012 event, as well as fast-rising stars such as Bradley who has “quickly made her mark in the jazz world.”
Other performers this year include Tumbao Bravo, Organissimo, Walter White, the Urban Jazz Coalition, and the Bierenga-Sullivan Quintet.
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC