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GRandJazzFest announces all six acts | Arts & Culture

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GRandJazzFest announces all six acts
GRandJazzFest announces all six acts

GRandJazzFest, presented by DTE Energy Foundation, today announces its full slate of performances for the FREE day-into-evening major jazz event coming to Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday, Aug. 18. Festival organizers in April announced the headline act and two other acts.

GRandJazzFest is pleased to announce the additional three acts:

  • Grupo Ayé, formed by percussionist Robert Mulligan, brings Latin jazz and more. Grupo Ayé specializes in Afro-Cuban music, which blends salsa, Latin jazz, bachata and merengue. The group’s experience spans performances with such noted artists as Pat Metheny, Tito Puente, Wynton Marsalis, Celia Cruz, Aretha Franklin, Harry Chapin Jr., Englebert Humperdink and Paquito Rivera.
  • The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra for more than 35 years has been one of Michigan’s premier jazz ensembles, featuring some of the finest musicians in the area playing swinging original compositions and arrangements as well as traditional favorites. Accompanying GRJO will be well-known vocalist Edye Evans Hyde, who delights audiences of all ages. 
  • The Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet of Grand Rapids plays versions of jazz standards as well as original works. Steve Hilger, who heads up the band, has been a singer-songwriter since the mid-1970s; he’s joined by John Gist, Steve Talaga, Tom Lockwood, Randy Marsh, Deborah Richmond and Charlie Hoats.

The previously announced acts:

  • Renowned guitarist Tim Bowman of Detroit will headline GRandJazzFest. Bowman, an extraordinary contemporary jazz guitarist who headlined the 2007 Guitars and Saxes Tour, was named Billboard’s 2009 Top 10 Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year and, at the Dubai International Jazz Festival, was named Best Guitarist of 2010.
  • Saxophonist Phil Denny is another major performer announced as part of the GRandJazzFest lineup. Denny, of Lansing, was a featured performer at the 2012 Dubai International Jazz Festival.
  • Walt Gutowski & The Bridge Street Band, accompanied by vocalist Michelle Covington, will perform at GRandJazzFest. Grand Rapids’ very own Gutowski and his band played at GRandJazzFest’s April press conference, giving attendees a taste of the jazz fest to come. 

“All six of our performing groups are Michigan-local. In this first year of our festival, the Michigan connection – supporting Michigan artists – is very important to us,” Festival Founder Audrey Sundstrom said. “We’re thrilled with the diversity of our lineup – we have all of the major jazz forms represented.”

GRandJazzFest is organized by GR and Jazz, a nonprofit organization founded and led by Sundstrom and a board dedicated to jazz in Grand Rapids. GR and Jazz also has collaborated with a team of additional jazz aficionados including local business and community leaders and the West Michigan Jazz Society. The festival is being financed by generous sponsors and in-kind contributors so it can be FREE to the public. The Downtown Development Authority in March awarded GRandJazzFest a $10,000 grant because of the festival’s commitment to supporting downtown merchants.

More information on GRandJazzFest – including the schedule and sponsorship/volunteer opportunities – can be found at www.grandjazzfest.org, and at the festival’s Facebook and Twitter sites – www.facebook.com/grandjazzfest and www.twitter.com/grandjazzfest.

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