One of Syracuse's biggest jazz success stories is likely one of its most unknown.
In the 1930s, Edward Chester Babcock, a Cazenovia College graduate, changed his name to Jimmy Van Heusen and headed for a bigger city: New York. Van Heusen started penning hit songs, eventually co-writing the top Frank Sinatra hits "Come Fly with Me" and "Love and Marriage" and winning four Academy Awards and one Emmy.
CNY Jazz Central Executive Director, Larry Luttinger, seems to have hit his stride with the NE Jazz & Wine Festival by connecting people's passion for music and wine and presenting it in an urban setting. He will do so again July 25-26 in Clinton Square with the 2014 iteration of the popular event.
If you’ve been thinking about some Jazz Music with a sip of wine from the vine… chances are that you live in the right city. The Northeast Jazz and Wine Fest will bring plenty of music to Downtown Syracuse almost a month from now.
Organizer Larry Luttinger says there are many acclaimed artists in this year’s line-up.
"That consists of pianist Michael Wolff who did many years as Arsenio Hall music director, Mike Clark best known for his fantastic work back with the legend Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters back in the eighties and we're bringing in Gil Parris, America's finest guitarist in all possible genres. He's a great blues player, a great smooth jazz player, a great R&B player, a great straight-ahead jazz player. He'll be joining that trio for an hour of fun. "
Some other main stage performers include Sherma Andrews, Michael and Angela Lynn and Marcus Johnson. Luttinger says Johnson will also serve a role as mentor to scholastic musicians.
"Student groups play, Marcus Johnson listens to them and then he plays with them as a soloist in their final tune. Then he stays on stage, takes the microphone and gives them support of commentary and tips and pedagogical advice in front of an audience of parents and the general public. That way we hope to let the public in on the way jazz concepts are taught."
Rounding out the two day event are separate stages that feature Mardi Gras inspired music, world beat, local jazz ensembles along with wine tasting.
Larry Luttinger says this year's festival will appeal to all of your senses.
The Northeast Wine and Jazz Fest is scheduled for the weekend of July 25th and 26th and will coincide with Syracuse ArtsWeek.
Vocalist Little Jimmy Scott was an NEA Jazz Master yet he never quite got the recognition he deserved in the jazz world despite having one of the most unique voices in American musical history. Jimmy Scott passed away on June 12th at the age of 88 and on this edition of Jazz Journeys we look back at the life and legacy of an amazing singer.