Mt. Washington Valley NH Jazz Fest to Benefit Gulf Coast Disaster Relief

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New Orleans jazz is coming alive again with Mt. Washington Valley Jazz Fest to Benefit Gulf Coast Disaster Relief. The benefit concert, which will feature 3 displaced New Orleans musicians, will be held at 8pm, Thursday, September 29 at at Cranmore 10th Mt. Pavilion, Cranmore Resort, in North Conway, NH. The indoor venue holds 350, with all tickets priced at $50 and 100% of the proceeds going to disaster relief. To purchase tickets call Leonard or Melissa at Badger Realty, 603-356-5757.

Jazz in New Orleans may have been silenced over the past four weeks, but it's going to come alive again with Mt. Washington Valley Jazz Fest to Benefit Gulf Coast Disaster Relief. The benefit concert will be held at 8pm, Thursday, September 29 at Cranmore 10th Mt. Pavilion, Cranmore Resort, in North Conway, NH. The indoor venue holds 350, with all tickets priced at $50 and 100% of the proceeds going to disaster relief.

The concert will feature three displaced New Orleans musicians: jazz pianist Henry Butler, said to be the greatest living proponent of the classic New Orleans piano tradition; jazz trumpeter James Andrews, a major figure in the New Orleans brass band scene; and bass guitarist and Conway NH native, Stewart McKinsey, playing a 10-string sub-contrabass of his own design. The three will be joined by local musicians including Fryeburg Academy's Brent LaCasse and The Swift River Dixie Land Jazz Band.

The Jazz Fest will begin with a warm-up concert by the Swift River Dixieland Jazz Band at 7:30 PM, while "Taste of New Orleans" hors d'oeuvres are served, all provided by The Independent Restaurants of Mt. Washington Valley.

According to the organizers of the event, "This is as authentic a New Orleans jazz concert is you can get!" The group, headed by Brenda Leavitt, Dick Badger, Melissa Leonard and Leonard Maglioca, all associates of Badger Realty, has come forward with $10,000 in hope of leveraging that donation into more than $30,000. The Mount Washington Jazz Fest is sponsored by Badger Realty, Monarch Events, Dearborn Precision Tools of Fryeburg, Cranmore Resort, and The Independent Restaurants of Mt. Washington Valley.

To purchase tickets call Leonard or Melissa at Badger Realty, 603-356-5757. You may charge your tickets over the phone and pick them up the day of the event.

The Musicians

Blind since birth, Henry Butler has always been passionate about jazz and blues. During his years of college at Southern University in Baton Rouge, he began teaching voice and piano lessons to students. After graduation, he maintained his teaching practice while completing a master's degree at Michigan State University. Teaching music workshops throughout the country, Butler initiated a number of different educational initiatives, including a residential jazz camp at Missouri State School for the Blind and a program for blind and visually impaired students at the University of New Orleans. Henry Butler is a five-time W.C. Handy "Best Blues Instrumentalist - Piano" award nominee.

James Andrews has lived a life in jazz since birth. As a ten-year-old he led his own band the All-Star Brass Band, which included a young Nicholas Payton and many family members. Andrews has since been a major figure in the New Orleans brass band scene, playing and recording with the Treme Brass Band and the New Birth Brass Band, and recently released "D Boy," on NYNO Records, to large critical acclaim. Andrews' new moniker, "Satchmo of the Ghetto," is entirely fitting -- Andrews' gravelly voice and ringing trumpet conjure auditory images of Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, while his experiences marching through the Treme neighborhood in brass bands make Andrews' sound more contemporary and unique. Andrews also lost everything in the Katrina disaster.

Although Stewart McKinsey studied violin and flute as a child, sang in choirs until adolescence, and even threatened to learn trombone, it wasn't until high school that Stewart McKinsey first picked up an electric bass and found his voice. In his college years, he studied harmony, theory, and counterpoint. He also encountered a whole new pool of players, expanding even further his scope of styles. He realized that he could expand the range of his bass higher as well as lower and moved to the 6-string. The first hour he played it, the idea for an 8-string which went both lower and higher than any bass around came to him. It took more than a decade to find the luthier who would make the instrument. McKinsey lost his instruments in the flood, but through the generosity of a friend has been given a 'loaner' while a new 10-string contrabass is being made.

Brent LaCasce of Fryeburg Academy Music Department, and a very talented jazz musician in his own right along with several area musicians, are planning to provide back up for all the soloists as well as present some opportunities for aspiring young jazz musicians to be exposed to these New Orleans 'greats.' It was Brent who first suggested the idea of a benefit concert which combined very well with Badger Realty's interest in promoting an event which would leverage contributed money into an even greater amount.

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Cindy Russell
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