Lineup for 2018 Delaney Chevrolet Westsylvania Jazz & Blues Festival Announced
The Delaney Chevrolet Westsylvania Jazz & Blues Festival is pleased to announce the lineup for its fifth annual festival on May 26, 2018. The free, outdoor, one-day festival will once again present a full afternoon and evening of jazz and blues performances in IRMC Park, in downtown Indiana, Pennsylvania.
“This year’s lineup has an uncanny balance of local and Grammy-winning national acts, jazz and blues, vocal and instrumental, and seasoned and emerging talent,” said David Ferguson, chair of the Steering Committee. ”We’ve also made a point to highlight all levels of students of jazz, from elementary to adult and provide additional time to work with a great performer and educator.”
From the powerful soul/rock of The Commonheart, to Darmon Meader of the Grammy-winning New York Voices, to Pittsburgh vibes great Tubby Daniels, to Chicago innovator Shawn Maxwell, the Delaney Chevrolet Westsylvania Jazz and Blues Festival has something for everyone.
The festival kicks off at 10:00 am with a performance from festival founders Dad Band. The rest of the day moves from elementary to high school ensembles, to regional acts and to top-flight, nationally known acts. Music continues into the wee hours at locations around town including Levity Brewing Company, Noble Stein Brewing Company, RBG Bar & Grill at the Park Inn, Josephine's Pizzeria & Enoteca, and H.R. Steinhouse.
10:00 Dad Band
10:30 Horace Mann Elementary Jazz Ensemble
Three performances with Darmon Meader of the Grammy-winning New York Voices:
11:00 Punxsutawney High School Jazz Choir
11:30 Westsylvania All-Star High School Jazz Combo
12:15 Nevin Saylor Big Band
1:30 Funky Fly Project
2:45 Jimmy Adler Band
4:15 Shawn Maxwell
5:45 Tubby Daniels Band
7:30 The Commonheart
With gritty vocals over rock riffs and horns, Pittsburgh’s The Commonheart delivers an emotion-packed, soulful sound. Frontman Clinton Clegg is a powerhouse who commands full attention with his limitless onstage energy and vocal range. Sound Scene Express described their 2016 album Grown as “a masterful, cohesive work, one of those rarities in which every song shines...a dazzling, heartfelt, talent-packed debut record.” The Commonheart’s sound is a true testament to the past, while completely holding its own as one of today’s most promising acts.
Recognized in both the jazz vocal and instrumental worlds, Darmon Meader is a highly respected vocalist, arranger and saxophonist. Meader has achieved international recognition as the founder, musical director, chief arranger, composer, producer, saxophonist, and vocalist with the Grammy-winning New York Voices. As a member of New York Voices, he has released numerous recordings on the GRP, RCA/Victor, Concord and MCGJazz labels. With New York Voices, Darmon has collaborated with a variety of artists including Ray Brown, Mark Murphy, Bernadette Peters, Ivan Lins, Bob Dorough, Don Sebesky, Nancy Wilson, Ann Hampton Callaway, Jim Hall, Paquito D’Rivera and the Count Basie Orchestra.
Meader will perform with three ensembles at the festival: Punxsutawney High School Jazz Choir (11:00 am), Westsylvania All-Star High School Jazz Combo (11:30 am), and the Nevin Saylor Big Band (12:15 pm).
Sponsored by the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival presented by Citizens Bank, a project of the August Wilson Center.
Veteran vibraphonist Tubby Daniels has been part of the Pittsburgh jazz scene for over 30 years. He began his musical journey studying the piano under Dr. James Johnson at the Afro-American Music Institute in Homewood. Soon afterward he switched to the vibraphone and the rest is history. A fan of many styles of music, Daniels considers jazz his first love.
Shawn Maxwell’s New Tomorrow is a quintet made up of five of Chicago’s finest musicians. Performing all-original material, they specialize in a style of jazz that is heavily influenced and blended with several other modern genres. Focusing on composition just as much as improvisation, they reveal stunning melodies hidden within complex time signatures. This fresh approach in Maxwell’s writing brings a perfect blend of composition and improvisation for a new direction in jazz. (That new direction earned Maxwell’s latest album, New Tomorrow, a 4-star review in Downbeat magazine.)
Festival fans will remember Jimmy Adler’s high-energy performance at the 2016 Westsylvania Blues Happy Hour. We are extremely excited to have him back on the festival’s main stage in 2018. Part of the Pittsburgh blues scene since the late 1980s, Adler ventured out on his own in 2001, performing original compositions that draw in the classic blues artists he’s spent a lifetime studying. Blues Revue magazine describes Jimmy Adler as “guaranteed excitement for fans of straight-ahead blues guitar.” We think you’ll agree.
The Funky Fly Project is a funk and jazz quartet from Pittsburgh whose members—though you’d never guess it by listening—are all under nineteen. With a virtuosic sound well beyond their age, Winston Bell, Henry Schultz, Brandon Terry, and Eric Dowdell Jr. fuse classic jazz styles with contemporary funk to create a unique sound that leaves listeners in awe. Festival goers last year will certainly remember their late-night set at Levity, and after releasing their first CD, they have only gotten better.
Next-Gen Jazz with Darmon Meader of New York Voices
The festival continues its tradition of educating the next generation of jazz and blues musicians. This year, we are proud to be hosting vocalist, saxophonist, and arranger Darmon Meader of New York Voices as our guest artist and clinician.
What’s a clinician? A master musician who works with music students during an informal session or rehearsal. The clinician will demonstrate styles and techniques, answer questions, and give students feedback and advice on their playing. It’s an incredible—and often unforgettable—learning opportunity for young musicians. Meader will also perform with three ensembles as a guest artist.
Other Next Gen activities include performances by the Horace Mann Elementary Jazz Ensemble, the Punxsutawney High School Jazz Choir, and the Westsylvania All-Star High School Jazz Combo. The All-Star Combo is made up of the best high school musicians from across the county.
Nevin Saylor is an Indiana County jazz institution. As a teacher in the Indiana Area School District, he created a jazz education program that has not only kept jazz alive in Indiana County, but also produced professional jazz musicians and jazz educators who’ll be keeping jazz alive for a long time to come. Formed for the 2016 Westsylvania Festival, Nevin Saylor’s big band provides a showcase for some of the region’s best jazz players.
This year, Saylor and the band will be joined by Darmon Meader for what’s sure to be a thrilling performance.
Formed in 2004, Dad Band is a jazz quintet made up of, yes, dads. During their earliest performances, at the daycare their kids all attended, they were dubbed “the dad band” and the name stuck. Since then, they have played everywhere from homecoming parade floats, to cornfields, to downtown Indiana, to the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival. In 2014, in celebration of their tenth anniversary, they started planning an anniversary concert. That concert turned into the annual Delaney Chevrolet Westsylvania Jazz and Blues Festival, which brings jazz and blues artists from across the nation and world to Indiana, PA.
The festival will continue into the wee hours with performances and jam sessions at locations around town including Levity Brewing Company, Noble Stein Brewing Company, RBG Bar & Grill at the Park Inn, Josephine's Pizzeria & Enoteca, and H.R. Steinhouse.
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 International Jazz Festival presented by Citizens Bank, a project of the August Wilson Center; the Indiana County Center for Economic Operations and its affiliates; the Lively Arts at IUP; Levity Brewing Company, RBG Bar & Grill, Employee Benefit Services, Inc., Indiana Insurance, Portia’s Bistro and Donut Connection, Thai@Indiana, Josephine’s Pizzeria & Enoteca, H.R. Steinhouse, Noble Stein Brewery, and generous individual donations.