Bria Skonberg, Frank Vignola, and the James Langton New York All-Star Big Band featuring Dan Levinson. Those are the three jazz performers at this year’s Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival being held Saturday, September 17, from noon to 10 p.m. on the Morristown Green.
Trumpeter/vocalist Skonberg, (pictured) who recently appeared at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (Jersey Jazz, June 2022), will lead a quintet at 4 p.m., combining some new material with jazz classics. DownBeat’s Philip Lutz, reviewing her 2019 self-produced album, Nothing Never Happens, wrote that it “explores new stylistic territory even as it keeps faith with the old.” All About Jazz’s Jerome Wilson said, “Skonberg’s singing and playing carries a level of grit and emotion she has never shown before.”
Guitarist Vignola, at 2 p.m., will be leading a quintet including fellow guitarist Jimmy Bruno, keyboardist John DiMartino, bassist Gary Mazzaroppi, and drummer Vince Cherico. These musicians play with Vignola on Wednesday nights at “Frank Vignola’s Guitar Night” at Birdland in New York City. Jazz Guitar Today’s Ray Matuza called Vignola’s Wednesday night Birdland gig “an awesome night out for anyone who loves jazz guitar.”
Saxophonist Langton’s big band, which will open the festival at noon, specializes in swing era music featuring tunes originally played by such bandleaders as Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington. In addition to clarinetist/saxophonist Levinson, the band will include pianist Rossano Sportiello, trumpeters Brian Pareschi and Mike Davis, saxophonist Will Anderson, trombonists Jim Fryer and Harvey Tibbs, and guitarist/vocalist Molly Ryan.
The blues artists in the evening will be pianist/vocalist Veronica Lewis at 6 p.m. and blues guitarist Walter Trout at 8 p.m. Admission is free, and those attending should bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. For more information, log onto morristownjazzandblues.org.
PHOTO BY CHRISTINE VAINDIRLIS