MORRISTOWN — The Town of Morristown and Mayor Timothy Dougherty will host a free all-day concert on the Green Saturday, Aug. 20, noon-10 p.m. The festival features the Rusty Paul Band, the Duke Ellington Legacy Band, the Winard Harper Sextet, Baby Soda and the Jerry Vezza Quartet.
“I am pleased that the town can present a great day of music at no cost to our taxpayers.” said Mayor Dougherty who spearheaded the concept. “Thanks to the generous support of many businesses in town, we will present ten hours of music for the entire family. It is free, a lot of fun, and great for our local businesses.”
Some of the sponsors making the first Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival possible include PSE&G, JCP&L, Riker Danzig, Brown and Brown Metro, The Metropolitan, 40 Park, Weichert Realtors, Roots, Trenk Depasquale, TSS Facility Services, Integra Management Corporation, Realty Management Associates, Belle Associates, Inglesino Pearlman, the Community Theatre at MPAC, Grasshopper Restaurant and Morristown Municipal Airport.
The music begins at noon with two sets by the Rusty Paul Band, led by the son of the legendary guitarist Les Paul. With a special blend of jazz, blues and funk, the six musicians will pay tribute to the great Les Paul.
At 2 p.m., the Duke Ellington Legacy Band, under the leadership of Duke’s grandson Edward Kennedy Ellington II, takes the stage. With fresh arrangements by pianist Norman Simmons and sax great Virginia Mayhew, this 9-piece ensemble is dedicated to keeping Duke’s music alive and current.
Following the Legacy Band will be the popular Winard Harper Sextet. Regarded as one of the elite jazz drummers on the current scene, Harper has performed with many jazz legends including Dr. Billy Taylor, Betty Carter, Dexter Gordon and Ray Bryant. Surrounding himself with extraordinary young musicians, Harper is an explosive drummer who is in demand all over the world.
At 6 p.m., five young musicians known as Baby Soda take the stage. On the forefront of a new movement known as street jazz, Baby Soda draws on an eclectic set of influences ranging from 30s era swing, New Orleans jazz and gospel.
The festival closes with the Jerry Vezza Quartet featuring two of the regions’ most popular jazz musicians, pianist Jerry Vezza and singer/guitarist Grover Kemble. Joining Jerry and Grover will be Tom Sayek on drums and Rick Crane on bass.
Admission is free and many local restaurants will be offering specials for festival attendees. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets. For more information, visit TownofMorristown.org.