Memorial Day Weekend Festival Features Eclectic Lineup including Blues Diva Trudy Lynn, Drummer Jevon Rushton, and Saxophonist Richie Cole
The third annual Delaney Chevrolet Westsylvania Jazz & Blues Festival takes place May 28, 2016 from 10:30 am to 9 pm in Indiana, Pennsylvania’s IRMC Park. The one-day, free jazz and blues festival has features nationally known musicians, regional acts, and student musicians playing in a classic American small town.
The festival kicks off at 10:30 am with a brief marching performance from festival founders Dad Band. The rest of the day moves from the Next Gen Jazz educational program, through afternoon jazz and blues performances, to evening headline performances, and then into the wee hours at locations around town.
“Things have really come together for this year’s festival,” said Mike Powers, chair of the festival steering committee. “The music features such a range of styles: big band, down and dirty blues, back-porch swing, bebop, an organ trio, and bona fide blues diva—we’ve got something for everyone. What’s more, we have more late-night locations than ever before and our Next Gen educational programming is moving to the next level.”
Blues singer Trudy Lynn, known as Houston, TX’s “First Lady of the Blues,” has recorded 11 studio albums. She got her start singing with Albert Collins and Clarence Green and opening for acts like Ike and Tina Turner. Her live performances are legendary. As music critic Alex Henderson writes, “Lynn isn’t one to hold back emotionally; like Koko Taylor and Etta James, she screams, shouts, testifies and gets her points across in a highly convincing way.”
5:30 pm: Jevon Rushton, Jazz Headliner
Pittsburgh native Jevon Rushton is a drummer with explosive power, blinding speed, gritty street grooves, and elegant swing. Rushton has played with Kirk Franklin, Dwayne Dolphin, Sean Jones, and Roy Hargrove. Rushton will will lead an organ trio with Cliff Barnes at the Hammond B3 and Tony Watson, Jr., of Pieces of a Dream, on saxophone.
4:15 pm: Richie Cole, Alto Saxophone Legend
A jazz and bebop legend, Richie Cole has performed or recorded with Eddie Jefferson, the Manhattan Transfer, Bobby Enriquez, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, Tom Waits, Boots Randolph, and Nancy Wilson. He’s appeared on over 50 albums, more than 20 under his own name, and performed around the world (including a command performance for the Queen of England).
3:15 pm: Nevin Saylor Big Band
The festival hosts the inaugural performance of Nevin Saylor’s new big band, whose members are some of the region’s best jazz players. Featuring guest artist Jeff Bush.
1:15 pm: Jukehouse Bombers
The Jukehouse Bombers, an explosive four-piece from Indiana, Pa., make their second festival appearance. Classic blues, soul, and southern rock served up with a contemporary flavor.
12:00 pm: Grist for the Mill
Back-porch swing and blues from the heart of Ambrose, Pa. (What’s “back porch swing”? According to the band, it’s “the Great American Songbook performed by a string band.”
Next Gen Jazz
Educating the next generation of jazz and blues musicians has always been a goal of the Delaney Chevrolet Westsylvania Jazz & Blues Festival.
This year we present our best educational programs to date, with our special guest artist, trombonist Jeff Bush. A former member of Harry Connick, Jr.’s band, Bush has performed with The Count Basie Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Cyrus Chestnut, Kevin Mahogany, Marlena Shaw, Benny Golson, Jon Hendricks, Ahmad Jamal, Vanessa Rubin, Jimmy Heath, and Anthony Braxton. He has also been a featured soloist and substitute conductor for The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. He’ll be conducting a jazz improvisation workshop for student (and grownup) musicians, as well as performing with the Westsylvania All-Star High School Big Band and the Nevin Saylor Big Band.
The best high school players in the county, with special guest trombonist Jeff Bush.
10:30 am: High School Big Band Showcase
Indiana Area High School performs.
Starting at 9 p.m., the festival continues into the wee hours with performances and jam sessions at locations around town. Venues and performers include:
- RBG at Park Inn by Radisson: Ferguson and Friends
- The Brown Hotel: Jukehouse Bombers
- The Coventry Inn: Jazz with Dr. Mike
- Josephine’s Pizzeria & Enoteca: Grist for the Mill
The inaugural 2014 festival was attended by over 1,200 people. Headliners were blues guitarist Sonny Landreth and the Poogie Bell Band featuring trumpeter Sean Jones. In 2015, the second festival featured headliners The New Mastersounds and Elevations with special guest Warren Wolf.
The festival is presented in partnership with the Indiana Arts Council. The steering committee includes representation from jazz quintet the Dad Band, founders of the festival and the local arts community. It is supported by a generous donation from Delaney Chevrolet of Indiana, Pennsylvania; a partnership with Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival, a project of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust; The Lively Arts at IUP; 90.5 WESA and 91.3 WYEP, the official media sponsors for the 2016 festival and by corporate sponsors and individual patrons.