2005-08-27 / News

Island Tunes Up For Jazz Festival at Grand Hotel

By Karen Gould

Chuck Mangione
Chuck Mangione

In 1887, Grand Hotel was opening its doors to guests and New Orleans was giving birth to a new music style called jazz. Both in the same country, yet miles apart. For the last 18 years, Grand Hotel has developed a tradition of connecting the two cultures by hosting an annual Labor Day Jazz Festival. In Grand tradition, this year’s headliners are well known and respected entertainers Eartha Kitt, Chuck Mangione, and Ramsey Lewis.

Also appearing in this year’s four-day festival, which begins Friday, September 2, will be singer Judy Roberts, pianist Bob Mervak, singer Claudia Schmidt, the Choir Academy of Chicago, and the Navy Jazz Band.

Ramsey Lewis 
Ramsey Lewis Grand Hotel’s Orchestra, led by Alex Graham, will play Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening and radio personality Paul Anthony will be the event’s master of ceremonies.

Daytime concerts will be in the Tea Garden, while evening concerts in the hotel’s Theatre, and the Jockey Club will offer late evening jazz. On Sunday, gospel music will be played on the historic front porch.

“We anticipate good weather and it will be a wonderful event,” said John Hulett, managing director of Grand Hotel.

Chuck Mangione will headline the Grand Theatre with a concert beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday, September 3. He also will be a part of a jazz workshop that morning with Ramsey Lewis and Paul Anthony.

Eartha Kitt
Eartha Kitt The Grammy winning performer marks 40 years as a recording artist and his performance will feature his latest album, “Everything For Love”. Music from this album celebrates love through a collection of tunes steeped in straight-ahead traditionalism and featuring breathtaking improvisation from Mr. Mangione and his band.

Mr. Mangione has been performing both domestically and internationally and has been on the animated television series, “King Of The Hill”.

Ramsey Lewis is featured at the Tea Garden concert Saturday at 11:45 a.m. He also will be a part of a jazz workshop that morning with Chuck Mangione and Paul Anthony. Opening for him in the Tea Garden will be singer Claudia Schmidt.

Making a second appearance at Grand Hotel, with five gold records to his name and three Grammy awards, Mr. Lewis brings new songs with him from his album “Appassionata”. The name “Appassionata” also is the name of a Beethoven sonata. Jazz is the common thread in the album that echoes Mr. Lewis’ love for other styles of music, including folk, classical, and gospel.

Eartha Kitt will be headlining Sunday’s events that begin with a jazz workshop in the Grand Pavilion at 11 a.m. and a concert in the Tea Garden at 11:45 a.m.

Miss Kitt is a versatile performer who has been nominated for three Tony awards, two Grammy awards, and an Emmy award. She has been given an Annie award for her vocal performance in the 2001 Disney animated film “The Emperor’s New Groove”.

She also is known for her trademark growl when she played Catwoman in the 1960s television series “Batman.”

At 78, Miss Kitt has no intention of slowing down. She is reprising her vocal performance and is in production for Disney’s “The Emperor’s New Groove II”.

Past headliners at the Labor Day Jazz Festival include Lou Rawls, Rosemary Clooney, Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, Pete Fountain, John Pizzarelli, and Diane Schuur.

Tickets for the Tea Garden performances are $65 a person and include a buffet luncheon. Children under 12 are free if accompanied by an adult.

Schedule of Events

Friday, September 2

9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.Evening Dancing featuring Alex Graham and the Grand Hotel Orchestra with Special Guest Judy Roberts, Theatre

11:00 p.m.Jazz Concert with Judy Roberts, The Jockey Club at the Grand Stand

Saturday, September 3

10:00 a.m.Jazz Workshop with Paul Anthonyfeaturing Ramsey Lewis and Chuck Mangione, Grand Pavilion

11:45 a.m.Jazz Concerts and Cookout, Claudia Schmidt opening for Ramsey Lewis,

Tea Garden

9:00 p.m.Evening Concert featuring Chuck Mangione, Theatre

10:00 p.m.Dancing with Alex Graham and the Grand Hotel Orchestra, Terrace Room

11:00 p.m.Pianist Bob Mervak, Cupola Bar

11:00 p.m.Jazz Concert with Judy Roberts,

The Jockey Club at the Grand Stand

Sunday, September 4

10:00 a.m.Gospel Program with Choir Academy of Chicago, East Front Porch

11:00 a.m.Jazz Workshop with Paul Anthony featuring Eartha Kitt, Grand Pavilion

11:45 a.m.Jazz Concerts and Cookout, Alex Graham and the Grand Hotel Orchestra opening for Eartha Kitt, Tea Garden

9:00 p.m.Dancing with Alex Graham and the Grand Hotel Orchestra, Terrace Room

10:00 p.m.Jazz Concert featuring Judy Roberts,

The Jockey Club at the Grand Stand

10:00 p.m.Pianist Bob Mervak, Cupola Bar

Monday, September 5

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.Navy Jazz Band Concert, Front Porch

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