Kalamazoo’s Lushh, Grand Rapids’ Edye Evans Hyde, Kevin Jones, John Gist and Grupo Aye will join national stars Euge Groove, Lin Rountree & more at 2018 GRandJazzFest. See the full schedule.
SCROLL DOWN TO LISTEN TO SOME OF THE FEATURED GRANDJAZZFEST ACTS
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
“Playing at a festival like this is important for us because a lot of people can have a very rigid opinion for what they think jazz is, whether positive or negative, and we’re trying to break out of those molds,” said drummer Madison George, adding that band members are “extremely excited” to be on the two-day bill for the seventh annual, free festival.
“To us, jazz has never remained the same. It has always grown and evolved with changes in the world. As a band, we’ve tried to continue in that, so I think playing for an audience of all different ages with people of all different tastes gives us an opportunity to share another side of music. I think older audiences will hear the tradition of jazz that we have all studied and love, and younger audiences will be able to hear how we’ve blended that with current styles and instruments.”
Lushh kicks off the second day of the festival on Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, performing at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Smooth jazz saxophonist Euge Groove will headline the 2018’s GRandJazzFest, with Lin Rountree, Nelson Rangell & Steve Oliver, Oli Silk, Marcus Anderson and a handful of regional stars also jazzing up the event that attracts thousands of attendees.
The celebration also will feature sets by Grand Rapids’ Kevin Jones & Tenth World, John Gist, Grupo Aye, Lushh and the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde, which officially kicks off the festival at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Groove whose real name is Steven Eugene Grove, has performed with the likes of Elton John, Huey Lewis, Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville and many more. A Maryland native, he’s released 10 studio albums since 2000, with two of them – 2007’s “Born 2 Groove” and 2012’s “House of Groove” – soaring to No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz chart.
GRandJazzFest founder Audrey Sundstrom called Groove an “internationally known saxophonist” who’ll headline a lineup “loaded with talented, up-and-coming jazz artists.” Oli Silk, meanwhile, has been dubbed the United Kingdom’s “smooth jazz ambassador,” while Rountree has been nicknamed “the soul-trumpeter.”
“We’re looking forward to being a part of such a diverse lineup, and performing alongside amazing and unique acts,” said George, who also insisted Lushh is more than just a fusion band.
“People are going to hear our interpretation of where we believe jazz music is heading. All of us are very rooted in traditional jazz, however we incorporate a myriad of other influences, from hip hop, to Japanese video game music, even some metal, and so much more.”
“The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra has an amazing tradition in its own right, going back to when It was the Aquinas Big Band that was run at that time by the late Dr. Bruce Early. Dr Early was really a strong music educator and advocate for jazz in Grand Rapids,” Evans Hyde said.
“Now, as the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra. opening the GRandJazzFest is a great tribute to Bruce Early who I am sure would be so proud to see jazz flourish in Grand Rapids and to have GRJO open the weekend. It’s just fitting.”
The singer also hailed the inclusiveness of the event, which “displays the diversity of Grand Rapids. It brings people together to enjoy true American music and enjoy each other.”
That’s precisely the target of Kevin Jones & Tenth World.
“I’m honored to be a part of GrandJazz Fest this year,” said Jones, a veteran, acclaimed Grand Rapids percussionist. “The goal of my music is to uplift and unite all people. … I believe our music will offer some diversity to the lineup.” (Tune in to Local Spins on WYCE 88.1 FM at 11 a.m. Friday when Jones will be the in-studio guest.)
Lushh – featuring George, saxophonist Eddie Codrington, guitarist Andrew Saliba, keyboardist Grayson Nye and bassist Matthew Epperson – formed three years ago while band members were students at Western Michigan University.
Influenced by artists such as Kneebody, Donny McCaslin Quartet, Robert Glasper, Hiatus Kaiyote and Thundercat, Lushh has released a couple of EPs and a single, and plans to back into the studio to work on a new recording next month.
“We haven’t released new music in a little while, so we’re stoked to release music that’s current to where we are right now as a band,” George said.
In addition to this weekend’s GRandJazzFest set, Lushh plays Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo with Earth Radio and Last Gasp Collective on Sept. 7, then performs at the big Audiotree Music Festival in Kalamazoo on Sept. 23.
Get more information about this weekend’s GRandJazzFest online at grandjazzfest.org.
LISTEN: Lushh, “Speckles of Bronze and Blonde”
LISTEN: GRANDJAZZFEST 2018 PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY
VIDEO: Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra
VIDEO: John Gist
VIDEO: Grupo Aye
Copyright 2018, Spins on Music LLC