Organizers are already planning the second Olcott Beach Jazz Trail event for July 22 and banking on the success of their inaugural event to attract even more seasoned jazz lovers and novices.
“We figured, conservatively, that we had 5,000 to 7,000 attend last year,” said founder James Sansone,a local attorney/musician. “It was a great economic boon to the town. And, we also had a lot of people come who had never heard jazz live before and this was done in intimate settings so they really got a chance to hear the virtuosity of these musicians.”
Sansone said his committee made just a few changes to this year’s event, which continues its daylong, progressive format. All performances are free to attend.
The event will still employ five venues within easy walking distance of each other, minus the Olcott Beach Carousel Park this year, Sansone said.
The event will start from noon to 2 p.m. with Don Menza and his Sextet at the Lakeview Village Shoppes, 5955 Ontario St. This will be Menza’s first performance on the Jazz Trail.
“Don Menza played with Maynard Ferguson - in fact, he was his arranger and he’s a composer, too,” said Sansone. “Don’s originally from Buffalo and lives in Los Angeles now.”
The Bobby Militello Quartet will take the stage at the Olcott Gazebo on Main Street from 2 to 4 p.m., followed by the Cabaret Big Band with Boston trombonist Phil Simms and vocalist Katy Miner from 4 to 6 p.m. on Lockport Street, across from Captain Jack’s Restaurant..
Militello appears again from 6 to 8 p.m. with Syracuse jazz extraordinaire Nancy Kelly back at the Olcott Gazebo. And Dan Hull and Friends, featuring a “Battle of the Saxes” with Pat LaBarbera and Menza, is planned for 8 to 10 p.m. at Mariner’s Landing Restaurant, 1540 Franklin St.
“They are probably two of the top 10 tenor saxophonists in the country,” said Sansone. “Pat LaBarbera played with Buddy Rich for several years and many others. Don Menza is on a nine-week tour in Europe right now.”
Sansone said last year’s inaugural concert drew not only from Western New York, but also from Toronto and Rochester.
“It was a great success, well beyond my expectations and everyone else’s,” he said. “Everyone just had such a wonderful time. And all of the musicians who played last year wanted to come back, plus I had a dozen other musicians and groups ask to play, so I guess word is getting out.
“Restaurants and vendors told us it was the best day of their year and some even said it was their best day ever,” Sansone added. “We’ll have wineries here and food trucks again this year, and, because we had requests for it, we’re adding beer.”
The evening will wrap up with a 10 p.m. jam session at Mariner’s Landing with Jessica and the Sophisticats and invited musicians from the festival.