It’s a huge weekend for music where I live.
Wynton Marsalis leads the Lincoln Center Orchestra onto the stage of the M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest as the headliner Friday night. If you’ve never had the opportunity to sit in the same place as, oh, a couple dozen of the best jazz players on the planet playing pieces that have stood the test of popular history — and have also been arranged by the great jazz mind of our time — I strongly suggest it.
Saturday night, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin wraps up the two days of music. She’s merely one of the few people who truly deserves the tag legend, a woman who has been bringing it since the 60s, deserving every ounce of respect sent her way.
In front of them will come a rising star band in Lake Street Dive, and another veteran Lousiana king in Buckwheat Zydeco.
And before those get-people-ready-for-the-headliners we’ll professionals from our Central New York area and spreading out through upstate, the AppleJazz and Upstate Burners.
Both days will kick off with collectives of great scholastic musicians, the city of Syracuse Parks & Rec All-Stars and Notified.
That, my friends, is how you serve, spread and savor the passion of music. Young and talented. Local, great and proud. Coming and staying. Big and bold.
Free admission, save for a $5 parking fee before 6 p.m., $10 thereafter. If you live within driving distance of the Onondaga Community College campus, it will be crowded. Find your piece of ground, make your peace with your neighbors, and enjoy.
I wrote more about the festival, including a Q and A with fest founder and executive director Frank Malfitano, for Syracuse Public Media site waer.org. You can read my Mark It Up community column by clicking the link below.
Have you seen any of the bands at this fest, and if so, what did you think? Do you prefer big band, soul or zydeco, and why? Would talk of big crowds attract you or keep you away, and why?