2014-08-30 / Top News

Labor Day Jazz Festival Begins Friday

Jazz greats Ellis Marsalis and son Delfeayo, Tito Puente, Jr., and John Pizzarelli and his father, Bucky, headline this year’s Labor Day Jazz festival at Grand Hotel, with musical performances starting Friday evening and continuing through Sunday, August 29 to August 31.

Jazz trombonist, composer, and producer Delfeayo Marsalis performs with his father and famous jazz pianist, Ellis, Saturday in the Tea Garden and again Sunday morning on the porch for the Gospel Sing. Ellis Marsalis and his sons, which also include Branford, Wynton, and Jason, are recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts Masters Award, the nation’s highest jazz honor. Wynton and Branford Marsalis have both performed at past Grand Hotel Labor Day Jazz Festivals.

Ann Arbor pianist Mr. B will return this year and open the Marsalis performance at 11:45.

Sunday’s Tea Garden concert will be performed by bandleader and Latin percussionist Tito Puente, Jr., an accomplished jazz musician whose late father was also a popular headliner at past Grand Hotel festivals. The younger Tito plays much of his father’s repertoire.

Grand Hotel Music Director Alex Graham and his jazz musicians will open the concert at 11:45.

Evening concerts in the Theatre will be performed by two popular festival veterans, French jazz vocalist Cyrille AimĂ©e, who will perform Friday evening at 9 p.m., and the personable guitarist and vocalist, John Pizzarelli, who this year will be bringing his father, banjoist John Paul “Bucky” Pizzarelli. The Pizarellis will be in the Theater Saturday evening at 9:30.

Late-night performances will take place in the Terrace Room, Cupola Bar, and Jockey Club. Michigan clarinetist Dave Bennett, who plays Benny Goodman routines as well as his own, will return to the festival to perform nightly concerts at the Jockey Club at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 10 p.m. Sunday. Other musicians performing throughout the weekend include string bassist Paul Keller and vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Rachael Davis.

National jazz radio personality Paul Anthony returns this year to emcee the festival and will host two interviews with the headliners, Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with the Pizzarellis and Marsalises and Sunday at 10:30 with Mr. Puente. Both programs will be in the Theatre.

The Sunday Gospel program with the Marsalis duo is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on the front porch.

Tickets to the main performances, to be held in the Tea Garden or the Theatre, depending on the weather, can be purchased for $80 at the gate. The ticket includes the hotel’s substantial picnic buffet. The inclement weather venue for the main performances will be the Theatre, with the picnic served in the main dining room.

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