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2017 Coltrane Jazzfest Announces Stellar, High Energy Two-Day Lineup


High Point, NC — Multi-instrumentalist and contemporary saxophone giant Gerald Albright will make his second appearance at the 7th annual John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival (JCIJBF) held in High Point, NC’s Oak Hollow Festival Park Sept. 2-3, 2017. He is performing with guitar and vocal sensation Jonathan Butler on Saturday, September 2, 2017.

Comprising the exciting line-up for day-two on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017 will be a combination of high energy, skilled improvisation and an eclectic convergence of traditional and contemporary  jazz with world beat rhythms are the music styles that will be presented are Special EFX, Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo, Spyro Gyra and newcomer Alexis Morrast.

Stellar Saturday Lineup

Matthew Whitaker
Jonathan Butler
Eddie Palmieri
Gerald Albright
Robert Randolph

Gerald Albright appeared as part of the Summer Horns with Dave Koz, Mindi Abair and Richard Elliot for the 3rd annual festival in 2013. He has had numerous albums nominated for Grammy Awards in the categories of “Best Contemporary Jazz” and “Best “Pop Instrumental.”  Albright’s 2014 album release, SLAM DUNK continued his reign as the genre’s most compelling and consistent artist. It, too, received a Grammy nomination in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category for that year.

Guitarist, singer/songwriter Jonathan Butler was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He recorded his first album in 1973 when he was 12 yea

rs-old. It won the Best New Artist Grammy in South Africa the following year.  He achieved international recognition when he released his first, self-titled album.  The follow-up album MORE THAN FRIENDS, contained the Grammy nominated song “Lies” and the R&B hit “Sarah, Sarah.”  He was also nominated for best contemporary jazz song for “Going Home.”  His genre-busting material earned songwriter’s awards and received abundant airplay in multiple radio formats: pop, urban, contemporary jazz, adult contemporary and gospel.

Ten time Grammy Award winner, Eddie Palmieri, bandleader, arranger and composer of salsa and Latin jazz will be the performer on the Saturday show. The octogenarian received the Jazz Master award by the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) in 2013. The NEA Jazz Master award is the highest honor an American Jazz artist can receive. Palmieri’s latest CD, SABIDURIA was just released in April.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band are also part of the Saturday lineup. One of the top names on today’s Blues scene, the renowned pedal steel guitarist never heard any secular music until he was well past his teens. Randolph is known for giving high energy, static charged live performances. Their debut album on the Sony Masterworks label, GOT SOUL, was released in February and catapulted up the Blues chart.

Pianist, singer and songwriter Matthew Whitaker will make a special guest appearance.  The 15-year-old musician has been compared to Stevie Wonder, more for his technical and vocal capabilities than the fact that, like Wonder, he is blind.  Many will recognize the musical prodigy from his television appearances.  He won Showtime at the Apollo and performed on the Apollo Holiday Special. OUTTA THE BOX is his debut CD released earlier this year

High Energy Sunday Lineup

Special EFX

Special EFX have five of the most daring musician in contemporary jazz, including co-founder Chieli Minucci, seven time Grammy nominated alto saxophonist Eric Marienthal, renowned bassist Gerald Veasley, world rhythms innovator, Lao Tizer and American Idol season five finalist, vocalist Elliott Yasmin.

Formed in 1982 with guitarist Minucci and percussionist/drummer George Jinda, Special EFX excelled at creating what would become a signature fusion sound that mixed world rhythms with contemporary jazz. Jinda died in 2001. Minucci continued to record and perform. Under his leadership Special EFX released their 35th studio album DEEP AS THE NIGHT earlier this year.

Joining Minucci will be alto saxophonist Eric Marienthal who has won two Grammy Awards as a member of Chick Corea’s Elektric Band. Gerald Veasley, one of the world’s leading six string bass guitar players and whose reputation as a sideman encompasses the realms of jazz, rock and R&B.  Tizer, a keyboardist and composer uses vibrant energy to push the boundaries of modern fusion. Yamin’s soulful vocals took him to the number three spot on American Idol.

Joey Calderazzo & Branford Marsalis

The eldest son of Jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis; and brother to Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason, New Orleans born Branford Marsalis landed his first major job playing with trumpet legend Clark Terry and then alongside Wynton in Art Blakey’s legendary Jazz Messengers.  The brothers left Blakey to form the Wynton Marsalis Quintet and later Branford created his own band.

Branford has toured with Sting, collaborated with the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby, served as Musical Director of The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno and hosted National Public Radio’s widely syndicated Jazz Set.  He has won three Grammy Awards and has been named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Pianist Joey Calderazzo joined Branford’s band in 1998.  A native of New Rochelle, NY, Calderazzo hit the big time when he joined saxophonist Michael Brecker’s band in 1987.  When not working with Branford in the quartet or as a duo, Calderazzo keeps up a very busy solo career.

The two recorded SONGS OF MIRTH & MELANCHOLY over a three-day period in Durham, NC.  Both Calderazzo and Marsalis maintain strong ties to North Carolina. Calderazzo resides here and both artists cultivate an ongoing, teaching relationship with the Jazz Studies Department at North Carolina Central University.

Spyro Gyra
Alexis Morrast

Contemporary jazz icons in their own right, Spyro Gyra has been recording and performing for four decades. Hailing from Buffalo, NY, the group includes leader Jay Beckenstein-saxophones, Tom Schuman-keyboards, Julio Fernandez-guitars, Scott Ambush-bass and Lionel Cordew -drums and percussions. Over the last 40+ years, they have performed more than five thousand shows, released thirty-one albums (not counting “Best Of…” compilations) and sold over ten million albums while also achieving one platinum (MORNING DANCE) and two gold albums (CATCHING THE SUN and CARNAVAL).

Sixteen-year-old singing sensation Alexis Morrast is a two-time winner of amateur night, the legendary talent contest held at the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NY. She also won the syndicated nationally televised talent competition, Showtime at the Apollo. Hailing from New Jersey, Morrast began singing in church when she was three and led the adult choir by the time she was seven.  She has a voice and performs a repertoire far beyond her years.

The John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival will be held September 2-3, 2017 in Oak Hollow Festival Park, High Point, NC.

The yearly celebration of jazz and blues music honors Coltrane, a High Point, NC native son, who graduated from William Penn High SchooL, now Penn Griffin School of the Arts.  The two-day festival, held over Labor Day weekend, is becoming a destination event for festival goers.

Ticket information and festival details are available

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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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