July 1, 2019 By Shane O’Brien
A jazz festival is coming to Jackson Heights for the fifth consecutive year on Sunday.
The Jackson Heights Jazz Festival has been running since 2015 and returns for a weeklong stint between July 7 and 14, with the hopes of spotlighting local artists in local venues, according to organizer Joe Knipes.
Knipes said that this year’s line-up is the most “high profile group” to date and includes several big names from around the country.
Knipes said that festival continues to grow and that this year there are more performers, venues and sponsors than in the past.
A total of seven acts will perform over the week at three venues. This will be the first year that The Queensboro, which opened in May 2018 at 80-02 Northern Blvd., will be part of the event.
Sponsors for this year’s festival include Table Wine, Sac’s Place, Ferreira Foodtown, Farine Baking Company and Pio Pio.
The festival kicks off on Sunday at the newly-renovated Travers Park at 6 p.m. with a performance from the Brian Charette Trio. Charette is a highly renowned jazz organist, who will be the first artist to perform at the revamped park.
The majority of the acts will take place at Espresso 77, located at 35-57 77th St., and The Queensboro. Both venues regularly employ jazz musicians for live performances, Knipes said.
The second performance of the festival will take place at The Queensboro on Sunday, hours after the event launches at Travers Park. The George PapaGeorge Trio are scheduled to play at 8 p.m., July 7.
The festival will then break for three days before returning on Thursday with a performance from local artist Javier Arau at 9 p.m. at Espresso 77.
The Cold Club of Queens, a local group, will take the stage at Espresso 77 on Friday evening.
On Saturday, July 13, Espresso 77 will play host to bassist Kim Clarke, who played as an electric bassist in the popular 80s band Defunkt. Clarke will play upright acoustic bass at the festival and is described as equally proficient with an upright bass as she is with an electric one, according to Knipes.
Vanessa Ruben, the highly regarded jazz singer, will play in Travers Park on the festival’s final day, July 14. Ruben has a special connection to Queens having lived in the borough for a number of years, according to Knipes.
The jazz festival coincides with the launch of Summer Sundays in the Park, a concert series organized by the Jackson Heights Beautification Group which takes place in the park in July and August. Charette will be the first to play at this year’s series and will be followed by Ruben a week later.
The festival concludes with a performance from local group the Ed Fuqua Trio at the Queensboro at 8 p.m. on July 14. All events are free and family friendly, with children encouraged to come along and attend.