• 2019 Schedule

  • 6/27/19 Nicole Zuraitis & The Dan Pugach Nonet

    Throughout his prestigious jazz career, drummer, composer, and GRAMMY nominee Dan Pugach has combined his love for music along with his passion for travel to emerge as one of the premier jazz artists in the industry today. Now Branford residents will have the good fortune to hear vocalist Nicole Zuraitis & The Dan Pugach Nonet open the 2019 Branford Jazz Series on June 27th at the Branford Town Green stage.
    Pugach is a GRAMMY nominated drummer and composer living in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Raanana, Israel and moved to the United States in 2006, Dan served as the drummer for The Air Force band in the IDF while attending the Rimon School of Jazz at the same time.
    Dan received a Bachelor of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music, where he studied with Terri Lynn Carrington, Hal Crook, and Joe Lovano, and an M.A,. in music from the City College of New York, where he studied with Mike Holober and Scott Reeves.
    In 2011, he was a recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer for his Nonet piece “Discourse This!”. In the same year, this artist participated in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center, where he worked with Curtis Fuller, Nathan Davis and George Cables. In 2013, he received another ASCAP Jazz Composer Award for his Nonet piece “Brooklyn Blues”.

  • 7/11/19 Jeff Fuller & Friends

    Throughout his lengthy career as a jazz bassist, Jeff Fuller has brought great joy and a wealth of knowledge to all his music endeavors. Equally well-known in both straight-ahead and Latin Jazz, Jeff Fuller & Friends will be highlighted on the Branford Town Green on July 11th, starting at 6:30 p.m. as part of the 11th Annual Branford Jazz Series. For this occasion, Jeff Fuller has assembled an All-Star lineup, including vocalist Atla DeChamplain, guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, saxophonist Tim Moran, pianist Darren Litzie, and drummer Ben Bilello.
    Bassist Jeff Fuller has been an integral part of the Connecticut jazz scene for more than 50 years. He has toured world wise and recorded with saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Paquito D’Rivera and has performed with such diverse artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Mose Allison, “Papa” Jo Jones, Gerry Mulligan, and Clark Terry. One of the most sought after jazz bassists in Connecticut, he currently leads his own ensembles in many venues. In 2014, Jeff was presented with the annual Jazz Haven Award, “for all you have done in presenting the culture and music of jazz.”
    Fuller has wide experience in both Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music. He has toured with D ’Rivera’s New York/Havana Quintet, the Hilton Ruiz Quintet, Daniel Ponce’s Jazzbata’ and Orlando “Puntilla” Rios’ Nueva Generación. He also composes and arranges for the top salsa group, Irazú, whose CDs have featured soloists Arturo Sandoval and Tata Güines. Fuller is co-leader of the popular group, Sambeleza, which features singer/pianist Isabella Mendes and guitarist Joe Carter. His earlier Brazilian jazz group, Samba Brasil, was seven-time winner of the “Best Latin” category in the Hartford Advocate Reader’s Poll.

  • 7/18/2019 Jessy J

    With the release of her dynamic new album Live at Yoshi’s – 10 Year Anniversary Special, Jessy J celebrates a remarkable decade since she brought her sizzling beats, dynamic Latin and samba rhythms and sensual melodies to contemporary jazz via her #1 hit debut album Tequila Moon. Following in the
    tradition of other jazz greats – including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Pat Martino, Joe Pass and Arturo Sandoval – who have released albums recorded at the historic Oakland venue, the charismatic saxophonist captures the excitement and spontaneity of her live performances with a set list featuring her classic hits and several songs fresh to her eclectic repertoire.
    On Thursday night, July 18th, she will be displayed on the Branford Town Hall stage for the 11th annual Branford Jazz Series at 6:30 p.m.
    Her previous releases include True Love (2009), Hot Sauce (2011), Second Chances (2013), My One and Only One (2015) and California Christmas (2016), which marked her debut on her own independent label Changi Records.
    A major part of capturing the essence of Jessy is experiencing the way she ensembles with her powerhouse band, which includes longtime members, drummer Iajhi Hampton, bassist Frank Abraham and guitarist Michael Angel. Rounding out her group at the Yoshi’s concert was veteran keyboardist/pianist Jay Rowe, who also contributed several arrangements and his otherworldly keyboard talents to
    California Christmas. Jessy and her band bring new life to her #1 Billboard hits “Tequila Moon” and “Tropical Rain,” her #1 Billboard Jazz Album “Hot Sauce,” her Top 10 hit “Tango Boy” and audience favorites like “Mas Que Nada” and “Sin Ti/Without You.” The saxophonist also debuts her twist on the timeless Antonio Carlos Jobim Brazilian classic “Agua De Beber” and original songs with an old school
    60’s styled jazz flair.
    Another unique aspect of Jessy J Live at Yoshi’s is that everything on stage was mixed by two different crews, a sonic duality that is used on the hit ABC-TV show “Dancing With The Stars,” whose live band Jessy has played on telecasts with on and off since 2014.
    Looking back over her ten year recording career, Jessy reflects that she has made a lot of stylistic choices from project to project.

  • 7/25/2019 Andrew Beals & Chris Morrison

    Swiftly becoming potent forces in the jazz industry with their brilliant musicianship and passion to educate others in the music profession, Andrew Beals and Chris Morrison unite on Thursday, July 25th on the Branford Town Green, starting at 6:30 p.m. as part of the 11th Branford Jazz Concert Series.
    Andrew Beals’ joined legendary jazz organist, “Brother” Jack McDuff and the “Heatin’ system” in 1986. Andrew became the latest in a long line of jazz saxophone greats, including: Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Red Holloway, Joe Henderson, Joe Lovano, Harold Vick, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, to work with McDuff.
    Beals’ fourteen-year tenure in Jack McDuff’s band was marked by a busy performance schedule, which included tours of North America and Europe. Andrew Beals is a featured soloist and arranger on Jack McDuff’s compact discs for Concord and Summit records.
    Andrew began his recording career as a leader with his compact disc “Gravy Train” on NASMusic Records. Andrew’s latest recording, with guitarist Chris Morrison entitled “Maybe Someday”, is on the Centaur record label. Beals has appeared as a leader of his own band and as a featured soloist with Jack McDuff and others, at many renowned Jazz clubs and festivals. He was a semifinalist at the 1993 Thelonious Monk Jazz Saxophone Competition and in 1998 he was awarded the prestigious NYU Jazz Orchestra Scholarship for graduate studies in Jazz performance and composition.
    Christopher Morrison began his performing career in his teens with New Haven, Ct organists Richard McCrae, Bobby Buster and Eddie Buster. He has recorded and or performed with Adam Nussbaum, Lew Soloff, Joe Beck, Bennie Wallace, Harvie S, and John Stowell. Most recently, he has appeared with the legendary guitarist, Joe Diorio, as his guitar duo partner.
    Chris has earned several awards for his teaching including a Distinguished Adjunct Appreciation Award and a Centennial Award for Excellence from Western Connecticut State University.
    Scheduled to appear with Beals and Morrison on July 25th is drummer Joe Farnsworth and organist Kyle Koehler.

  • 8/1/2019 Jason Ennis Quintet with Natalia Bernal

    Guitarist Jason Ennis is an exciting voice in the world of jazz guitar. His unique sound, deep groove and sensitive feel, along with a diverse background in jazz, blues, Brazilian music and classical music have made him highly in demand as a soloist, sideman, bandleader and musical director. A graduate of Middlebury College (BA in music), Jason attended Berklee College of Music (Boston) and The San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
    Now, Branford Jazz Series followers will have the opportunity to listen to this brilliant and accomplished musician on August 1 starting at 6:30 p.m on the Branford Town Green.

  • 8/8/2019 Festejation

    More information to follow
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  • 8/15/2019 Gene Bertoncini Quintet

    Gene Bertoncini is one of the pre-eminent jazz guitarists’ active today. His fluid technique and lyricism have won him international praise and accolades as the
    “Segovia of jazz.” An eloquent and versatile improviser, Mr. Bertoncini has been heard with an extraordinary range of jazz greats, including performances and recordings with Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich, Wayne Shorter, Hubert Laws, and Paul Desmond among others, as well as such distinguished singers as Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson, Vic Damone, and Eydie Gorme.
    Now, he will be unveiled to the Branford Jazz on the Green Series, Thursday, August 15th, starting at 6:30 p.m along with fellow musicians, Terell Stafford (Trumpet), Mike Maineri (vibes), Joe Corsello (drums), and Jeff Fuller (bass).
    The Washington Post proclaimed Gene’s solo appearance in New York City the best jazz concert of the year, 1999. Mr. Bertoncini’s acclaim is hardly confined to this country. His CD, “Someone to Light Up My Life” which features his own arrangements of the compositions of the great bossa nova composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, won international raves. Brazilian critic’s and listener’s polls also named him the best acoustic jazz guitarist. Gene Bertoncini has just released a striking new solo CD, “Quiet Now” on the heels of his highly successful “Acoustic Romance,” which reached the top ten of the jazz playlists. Jazziz magazine’s March 2004 issue ranked it Number 1 in their list of the top 20 acoustic guitar CDs.
    His newer cds: “Concerti” features Gene with a string quartet and bass; “Reunion” with Michael Mainieri, Michael Moore, Joe Corsello and “Joy” with Clay Jenkins and Ike Sturm.
    A prolific and popular studio musician, Bertoncini honed his professional chops as a member of the Tonight Show band during Johnny Carson’s tenure, and he has worked with composers and arrangers such as Lalo Schifrin and Michael Legrand and has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
    In addition to an active performing and recording schedule, Gene teaches at the Eastman School of Music and William Patterson University. A New York City native, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame ‘59 with a degree in architecture. According to the New Yorker magazine, “Bertoncini is an affecting, highly original guitarist that moves easily back and forth between classical and jazz guitar.” Gene was just nominated as the best jazz guitarist of the year (09) by the New York Jazz Press Association.
    On January 20th, 2017, Gene Bertoncini received a distinguished award from the University of Notre Dame honoring his achievements in the performing arts. The Rev. Arthur S. Harvey, C.S.C., Award recognizes Gene’s distinguished work
    as a jazz musician.

  • 8/22/2019 United States Coast Guard Dixieland Band

    The United States Coast Guard Band is the premier band representing the United States Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. The 55-member ensemble has performed at some of the most prestigious venues in the nation, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall. The Band also has a rich history of performing internationally: it is especially honored to have been the first American military band to perform in the former Soviet Union, with concerts in Leningrad and the surrounding area in 1989. In 2008, the Coast Guard Band became the first premier American military band to perform a concert tour of Japan. In addition, the US Coast Guard Brass Quintet and Saxophone Quartet performed throughout Taiwan to great acclaim in 2010, and the full band completed a tour in Taiwan in July of 2011.
    Branford Jazz Series attendees will have the golden opportunity to hear this group perform on August 22nd starting at 6:30 p.m. on the Branford Town Green.
    Based at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, the Coast Guard Band frequently appears in Washington, DC, at presidential and cabinet level functions on formal and informal occasions. Historic events include National Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies, the American Bicentennial Celebration with President Gerald Ford, World War II Fiftieth Anniversary events in England, and Inaugural celebrations for every President since Herbert Hoover.

  • 8/29/2019 Curtis Haywood

    Once jazz virtuoso Curtis Haywood received his first instrument – a trumpet- at the age of 5, it was to no one’s astonishment that music would play an essential role in the life of this skilled musician. Now a gifted saxophonist, Haywood transports his soulful healing spirit of jazz music to close out the 11th season of the Branford Jazz Series on the town green, Thursday, August 29th starting at 6:30 p.m.
    Using his vocal talent to resonate his listener’s soul, Curtis connects music with the power of curing. On his self-titled debut CD as a solo artist, the former member of the 1990’s band “Joshua”, he has found a strong voice of his own. Joining Haywood on the cd are a collection of some powerhouse players in the jazz, gospel, and R & B worlds, among them bassist Artie Reynolds, drummer Ainsley Taylor, Chris Fischer on keys, Willie Brown on guitar, and Paul Aponte on percussion. However, it is Haywood’s haunting soprano saxophone that gives the CD its voice and passion throughout a collection of 12 tracks that include sultry contemporary jazz originals and fresh arrangements of R & B favorites.
    The three songs by other artists that Haywood selected to interpret come straight from his heart and speak volumes of his musical affinity for his namesake, the legendary R & B saxophonist King Curtis. Haywood’s original compositions also speak eloquently of the man behind the music. The lyrical, buoyant “Heal Our Land”, was originally written in response to 9/11, but fully integrated into a song of hope, expressed by the voices of a children’ chorus, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, it’s in the rhythmic and soulful “Rain Song,” that Haywood’s dedication to music as a healing force is fully expressed. “Rain Song” is as much about awareness as it is a call to action. Haywood also aligns himself with Feed the Children and Self Help Africa which helps supply food for the people of Ethiopia and around the globe, donating portions to both charities. Curtis’ most recent trip to Accra Ghana (2018) has launched yet another joint venture where he is seeking to bring relief and expansion to the underserved communities in rural and urban areas.

    More information to follow.
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