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Sept. 13-17: A Five-Day Festival Brings International Jazz to Downtown White Plains

On September 13 through 17, the award-winning White Plains Jazz Fest will bring international jazz music to downtown White Plains. Presented by ArtsWestchester, the City of White Plains and White Plains BID, the five-day festival hosts a series of diverse concerts at different venues throughout the City. The festival kicks off on September 13 with classic jazz from Hiroshi Yamazaki Ensemble with vocalist Glenda Davenport at Downtown Music at Grace. That evening, a Jazz Stroll pairs four local restaurants with musicians for live music sets throughout the night.

The live music moves to ArtsWestchester’s intimate gallery on September 14 and 15. These evening concerts by renowned jazz artists begin with a “two performances with one ticket” concert on September 14. Saxophonist Ray Blue and his quintet will present a fusion of straight-ahead jazz and African groove (September 14). Said the New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee of his music style: “I gravitate towards a polyrhythm feel, which is a stable of African folk music and has a dance element.” A “jazz jam” will follow Blue’s set, led by pianist Pete Malinverni, whose up-tempo improvisational jazz and gospel approach are inspired by his work as a church musician.

Pablo Mayor

The next night, Colombian pianist and composer Pablo Mayor and his “Folklore Urbano” Septet will transport audiences to South America (September 15). While Mayor incorporates Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz genres to his compositions, his music primarily preserves the folkloric sound of his native county. He explains: “My sound is modern but at no cost to the traditions, which are at the heart of the music.”

Cuban saxophone virtuoso Paquito D’Rivera (pictured above) will join the list of performers with a concert at the White Plains Performing Arts Center on September 16. The 14-time Grammy-Award winner will bring his lively Latin jazz styles to the stage, including tango, Venezuelan waltz and straight bebop.

Jazz Fest culminates with an eclectic blend of sounds, from Brazilian-infused rhythms to soulful New Orleans jazz, during a free, outdoor White Plains Jazz and Food Festival on Mamaroneck Avenue on September 17. The line-up of performers includes SUNY Purchase Jazz All-Stars, Sage, the Kenny Lee All Stars, Steve Kroon’s Latin Jazz Sextet and Donald Harrison. The full-day celebration will encompass international music, as well as foods of Africa, Cuba, Puerto Rico and more, making the event an all-around cultural experience for all audiences. For more a full schedule and more info, see below and visit arts.org/jazzfest.

A version of this article first appeared in the September 2017 issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews