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Caramoor All-Day Jazz Festival Features Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra (July 20); Season Also Includes Hot Jazz Age Frolic with Vince Giordano, Bria Skonberg and Kat Edmonson; Solo Show by Broadway Star Laura Benanti

The annual Caramoor Jazz Festival returns on Saturday, July 20 for its 26th season and the fifth year of its enormously successful programming collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, bringing together an eclectic mix of established jazz legends, future phenoms, large ensembles, and solo performers for a daylong excursion into every corner of America’s home-grown art form. A wide range of styles are represented, from tributes to legends like Roy Hargrove and Art Blakey to world jazz with influences from Africa and Brazil, culminating with a headline performance in the Venetian Theater by elder statesman of Latin jazz pianists and ten-time Grammy Award winner Eddie Palmieri with his Salsa Orchestra. On opening weekend Caramoor will also present a Hot Jazz Age Frolic swing dancing event under the gala tent, featuring music from Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks and Bria Skonberg’s Hot Five along with special guests and dance lessons. Broadway star Laura Benanti – currently starring in the Lincoln Center Theater production of My Fair Lady – performs her solo show “Tales From Soprano Isle” in the Venetian Theater in July, and soprano Madison Leonard and baritone Shea Owens – both alums of Caramoor’s Schwab Vocal Rising Stars young artist program – join conductor Curt Ebersole and the Westchester Symphonic Winds for a medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs in the annual family favorite “Pops, Patriots and Fireworks” concert.

Jazz has been part of Caramoor’s cultural mix for almost three decades, with performances by the likes of the great Ray Brown, as well as the big bands carrying on the official heritage of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. The Jazz Festival was founded in 1993, and has since devoted itself to convening an eclectic array of jazz legends and future stars for one-of-a-kind collaborations and fresh synergies. In recent years, Caramoor’s exquisite setting and laid-back charm have attracted such performers as Chick Corea, Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, Roy Haynes, Vijay Iyer, Dr. John, Robert Glasper Paquito D’Rivera, McCoy Tyner, and Dianne Reeves, among many others. As the Huffington Post said about jazz at Caramoor: One couldn’t ask for a more exciting and contemporary selection of musical performers to choose from.” The all-day festival is also just as fun for kids as it is for their parents, with a host of activities and performances to keep the whole family entertained. The Record Review, describing a recent season of Caramoor’s popular Jazz and American Roots Festivals, said: “In a scene that embodies everything to which Caramoor aspires, multiple generations of families often enjoyed the music and surroundings together.” For ticket information and more, go to

Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra (July 20)

Bandleader, arranger and composer Eddie Palmieri is known as one of the finest pianists of the past 60 years, fusing the rhythms of his Puerto Rican heritage with a range of influences from Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, and McCoy Tyner to his older brother, Charlie Palmieri, a salsa bandleader who was known as the “Giant of the Keyboards.” Born in Spanish Harlem and raised in the Bronx, Palmieri learned to play the piano at an early age, and at 13 he was playing timbales in his uncle’s orchestra. In 1961, He formed his own band, La Perfecta, which featured an unconventional front line of trombones rather than the trumpets customary in Latin orchestras, and had an innovative style mixing American jazz with Afro-Caribbean rhythms. His 1970 release entitled Harlem River Drive was the first to merge so-called “Black” and “Latin” music into a free-form sound that encompassed elements of salsa, funk, soul, and jazz.

In 1975, Palmieri won the first of his ten Grammy Awards for The Sun of Latin Music. Recognizing him as an American icon, the Smithsonian recorded two of Palmieri’s performances for its archives in 1988, and in 2009, the Library of Congress added his composition Azucar Pa’ Ti to the National Recording Registry. Other honors include the Eubie Blake Award (1991); Yale University’s Chubb Fellowship, usually reserved for international heads of state, but given to Palmieri in recognition of his work building communities through music (2002); the Harlem Renaissance Award (2005); and the Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award (2008). In 2013, he was awarded both the National Endowment of the Arts’ coveted Jazz Master award and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. In the last few years, he has released a big band album entitled Mi Luz Mayor, which features Carlos Santana and Gilberto Santa Rosa; the album Sabiduria, a fusion of jazz, funk, and Latin with Afro-world rhythms; and in 2018 the salsa project Full Circle, both as an album and the world’s first interactive salsa app. In 2017 Palmieri celebrated his 80th birthday with a year-long tour entitled “EP @ 80.”

Jazz Festival Daytime Artists (July 20)

Leading up to Palmieri’s evening performance, a long list of stellar jazz performers can be heard all day throughout the 90 acres of picturesque Italianate architecture and gardens that make up the Caramoor estate. Etienne Charles & Creole Soul is an Afro-Caribbean-inflected outfit led by Trinidadian trumpeter Charles, who, still in his 20s, has already recorded three impressive and well-received albums for his own Culture Shock Music imprint. The New York Times calls him an auteur who is “one of [jazz’s] more ambitious soloists and composers.” Lakecia Benjamin Plays Coltrane features the electric stage presence, sultry saxophone and soaring, dance floor-friendly grooves of New York native Benjamin, making her Caramoor debut after sharing stages with Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, The Roots, Macy Gray, and many others. Michela Marino Lerman’s Love Movement is a trio of tap dancers led by Marino, dancing to a range of styles that include spirituals, jazz, and original music. They are joined by young South African vocalist and Montreux and Monk Competition winner Vuyo Sotashe, appearing at Caramoor for the third year in a row. Grammy-nominated drummer Sammy Miller leads a set of joyful and uplifting jazz with his band Sammy Miller and The Congregation. Jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer Isaiah J. Thompson, who has performed with artists including Christian McBride, Joe Farnsworth, and Rodney Whitaker, and was featured on the album Handful of Keys with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis, performs with his Quartet. Drummer Willie Jones III and his Quintet celebrate the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove, with whose own quintet Jones played for seven years. Marquis Hill – a winner of the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Competition (2012) and the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition (2014) who the New York Times calls “a dauntingly skilled trumpeter” – plays a set with his Quartet. Other daytime attractions include the Brazilian-inflected sounds of young Catalan singer-trumpeter Andrea Motis and her Quintet; drummer Cedric Easton with his band Circle of Friends, playing a set called “Art Blakey at 100”; guitarist Andrew Renfroe, whose projects have ranged from reimagining Delta Blues to arrangements of Messiaen, with a set called “Country Time”; young tenor saxophonist Abdias Armenteros with his Trio; and Award-winning virtuoso and champion of the Venezuelan cuatro Jorge Glem.

Hot Jazz Age Frolic (June 16)

A “Hot Jazz Age Frolic” will mark the first public performance at Caramoor for Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, joined by Bria Skonberg’s Hot Five, vocalist Kat Edmonson, tap dancer DeWitt Fleming Jr., and gramophone DJ Michael Cumella, the last three all making Caramoor debuts. A bandstand and a large dance floor under the gala tent will provide the setting for music and swing dancing (dance lessons by Gaby Cook and Nathan Bugh included). A special afternoon family set by Bria Skonberg, an avid educator and supporter of music programs in public schools who is known for her enthusiasm in workshops and concerts for students of all ages, will also be presented.

Laura Benanti (July 6)

Broadway star and Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti gives her first solo show in New York with a Caramoor debut in the Venetian Theater this summer, titled “Tales From Soprano Isle.” A celebrated singer, dancer, and actress who took Broadway by storm at the age of 18, Benanti’s talents have led her to numerous roles on stage and screen, including recent revivals of She Loves Me and My Fair Lady. As the Philadelphia Inquirer raves about Benanti: “She is flat-out gorgeous, sings like an angel, and inhabits a character with the sort of presence and total conviction granted only to a precious few.”

“Pops, Patriots and Fireworks” (July 4)

Finally, more Broadway is on tap when audience favorites Curt Ebersole and his 60-piece Westchester Symphonic Winds celebrate Independence Day in style with a family-friendly “Pops, Patriots and Fireworks” concert honoring the American heritage. Guest vocalists – and Schwab Vocal Rising Stars alums – soprano Madison Leonard and baritone Shea Owens sing a Rodgers and Hammerstein medley, on a program that includes patriotic tunes, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, and much more. The evening’s festivities conclude with fireworks to celebrate the holiday.

Food + Drink Offerings

Spread a blanket on the lawn, reminisce with family and friends over a glass of wine at a picnic table, or set up your own table and chairs for the day—Caramoor has plenty of space. The onsite Food + Drink Offerings during the Summer Season feature a variety of delicious, organic, and locally-sourced snacks and beverages provided by Great Performances catering and events company. The Tap Tent has something for everyone: salads, sandwiches, snacks, water, soda, local wine and beer, coffee and tea, and ice cream. Vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan items are available. Also, the Katchkie Food Truck offers the mouth-watering Caramoor Burger and Treble Dog, a gourmet grilled cheese, a Farmers Salad Bowl, and more. For the Jazz Festival, you can also enjoy a menu special: the Poulet Fricasse, a marinated chicken skewer served with sautéed spinach and sweet plantains. Caramoor Members enjoy 10% off the Food + Drink selections.

For maximum convenience and to avoid the lines, Great Performances also offers pre-ordered picnic boxes in a variety of menus. Each picnic includes an entrée and sides with dessert options to add-on. Menus for the picnics are available online, and can be ordered either online or by calling the Box Office at 914.232.1252. Order by Tuesday at 4:00pm for the upcoming week’s performance.

For high-resolution photos, click here.

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About Caramoor

Caramoor is a performing arts center located on a unique 90-acre estate with Italianate architecture and gardens in Westchester County, NY. It enriches the lives of its audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality. Its mission also includes mentoring young professional musicians and providing educational programs for young children centered around music. Audiences are invited to come early to explore the beautiful grounds; tour the historic Rosen House, a stunning mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places; unwind with a pre-concert picnic or concessions with beer and wine; enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea on Wednesdays and Sundays; and discover beautiful music in the relaxed settings of the Venetian Theater, Spanish Courtyard, Music Room of the Rosen House, and magnificent gardens. Summer concerts take place in two outdoor theaters: the acoustically superb Venetian Theater, which seats approximately 1,500, and the more intimate, romantic Spanish Courtyard, which seats around 470. In the fall and spring, concerts are presented in the splendid Music Room in the Rosen House. Caramoor’s gardens, also used for concerts and the sound art exhibition Sonic Innovations, are well worth the visit and include nine unique perennial gardens. Among them are a Sense Circle for the visually impaired, the Sunken Garden, a Butterfly Garden, the Tapestry Hedge, and the Iris and Peony Garden.

Getting to Caramoor

Getting to Caramoor is simple by car, train or public transportation. All parking is free and close to the performance areas. Handicapped parking is also free and readily available.

By car from New York City, take the Henry Hudson Parkway north to the Saw Mill River Parkway north to I-684 north to Exit 6. Go east on Route 35 to the traffic light (0.3 miles). Turn right onto Route 22 south, and travel 1.9 miles to the junction of Girdle Ridge Road where there is a green Caramoor sign. At the junction, veer left and make a quick right onto Girdle Ridge Road. Continue on Girdle Ridge Road 0.5 miles to the Caramoor gates on the right. Approximate drive time is one hour.

By train from Grand Central Station, take the Harlem Division Line of the Metro-North Railroad heading to Southeast, and exit at Katonah. Caramoor is a 3.5-mile drive from the Katonah station, where taxi service is always available and free shuttle service is available for most performances. For current information, check the Metro-North schedule.

Caramoor: Jazz and Broadway

June 16
Hot Jazz Age Frolic
Gala Tent
Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks*
Bria Skonberg’s Hot Five
Kat Edmonson, vocalist*
DeWitt Fleming, Jr., tap dancer*
Michael Cumella, gramophone DJ*
Gaby Cook, dance instructor*
Nathan Bugh, dance instructor*

July 4
Pops, Patriots and Fireworks
Venetian Theater
Westchester Symphonic Winds/Curt Ebersole
Madison Leonard, soprano (VRS alumna)
Shea Owens, baritone (VRS alumnus)
Smith: The Star Spangled Banner (Arr. by Walter Damrosch/ John Philip Sousa)
Smith: Eternal Father, Strong to Save
Various Composers: American Originals (arr. Sammy Nestico)
Williams: Strategic Air Command
Broughton: Silverado (arr. Randol Alan Bass)
Galante: Beyond the Horizon
Rodgers and Hammerstein: Medley (arr. Matt Podd)
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Op. 49 (arr. Mayhew L. Lake)
Sousa: Stars and Stripes Forever (arr. Keith Brion & Loras Schissel)

July 6
Laura Benanti*
Venetian Theater
Laura Benanti, vocalist

July 20
Jazz Festival Day
Various venues
Daytime artists:
Etienne Charles & Creole Soul
Willie Jones III Quintet: Celebrating Roy Hargrove*
Sammy Miller and The Congregation
Marquis Hill Quartet*
Lakecia Benjamin Quartet Plays Coltrane*
Michela Marino Lerman’s Love Movement
Andrea Motis Quintet*
The Isaiah J. Thompson Quartet*
Cedric Easton & Circle of Friends: Art Blakey at 100*
Andrew Renfroe: Country Time*
Jorge Glem
Abdias Armenteros Trio*

Evening headliner: Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra
Venetian Theater

* Caramoor debut

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All concerts made possible, in part, by ArtsWestchester with funds from the Westchester County Government.

All concerts made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The 2019 Summer Music Festival is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

© 21C Media Group, June 2019

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