In the 1990s, when Buffalo was transitioning from 20th century industry to 21st century innovation, many who loved the city stepped up to make sure its treasures were not left behind or forgotten.
Architectural gems were preserved and restored, and in the heart of the Masten District James "Pappy" Martin worked with city leaders (including then-Council Member Byron Brown) to start the Masten Jazz Festival in 1996.
After Martin's death in 2015, the festival was renamed the Pappy Martin Legacy - Masten Jazz Festival, and it takes place this year on two Sundays, July 21 and July 28. Now in its 24th year, the outdoor music celebration is held on the grounds of Martin Luther King Jr. Park (another local treasure) with the stage on the side lawn of the Buffalo Museum of Science (1020 Humboldt Parkway).
Organizers of the free event are bringing in a host of national headliners to join popular local acts. The music begins at 2 p.m. each day; DJ Slim will be host.
The lineup for July 21 is Love Supreme PM, the Progressions (youth band), Odyssey, Charenee Wade (whose voice has been compared to Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan) and Keyon Harold on trumpet.
Scheduled for July 28 are pianist George Caldwell with the Marcus Lolo Quintet, Nelson "Poppa" Lucas with Expression, Kevin Hall with a Tribute to Grover Washington Jr., pianist Johnny O'Neal (who played Art Tatum in "Ray") and, wrapping it all up, Grammy-nominated sax player Tia Fuller with the (also Grammy-nominated) Curtis Lundy Legacy Band.
Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Along with the sounds of more than 50 musicians, there will be food and craft vendors and, for the kids, the splash pad is nearby.
Solos in the silos
Performances in the round don't come much rounder than the regular events sponsored by Just Buffalo Literary Center in the historic and acoustically magical towers of Silo City. In the Silo City Reading Series, four artists will be sharing their work at 7 p.m. July 20 at 105 Silo City Row (off Ohio Street opposite the Ganson intersection).
Danez Smith from St. Paul is author of "Don't Call Us Dead" and has won several literary prizes and been a finalist for a National Book Award. Buffalo's own Eve Williams is ranked as one of the top 20 slam poets in the world and can be heard on several blogs. Entrepreneur and artist Edreys Wajed has exhibited in group shows around the city and is one of the artists who created the Freedom Wall portraits on Michigan Avenue and East Ferry. Jaz Frazier will perform hip-hop in her stage persona, Hop Hop.
The Silo City Reading Series is free. There is parking available onsite.
Roll over, Beethoven
Chautauqua County is hosting two fun-for-the-family concerts on July 19. At Chautauqua Institution, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra plays live with "Star Wars: A New Hope" at 8:15 p.m. in the Amphitheater. Tickets are $45 for general admission, or $75 for preferred seating. Tickets are at chq.org.
Just a few miles away, scaramouche Galileo! Also on July 19, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is performing in Jamestown, where conductor Brent Havens will lead "The Music of Queen." No, not any queen -- the music of the one, true Freddie Mercury Queen, as interpreted by Windborne and joined by a rock band and vocalist Tony Vincent. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. July 19 at the Reg Lenna Center (116 East 3rd St., Jamestown). Tickets are $35 to $75, available at bpo.org.
Then get your gamer face on the next night, when the BPO returns home to Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Circle) for "Video Games Live!" Along with the orchestra, the audience will see "completely synchronized cutting-edge video screen visuals, state-of-the-art lighting and special effects, stage show production and special on-stage interactive segments," according to the BPO. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. July 20; tickets are $29 to $79 at bpo.org, where you can also read more about what to expect and even see a video clip of the show.
Meet artist William Rich
Visitors who have been impressed by the work of William Rich since his show opened in June at the Art 247 Gallery (247 Market St. in Lockport), and those who have yet to see the exhibit, have a chance to talk with Rich at a free reception from 1 to 4 p.m. July 20.
An Army veteran who survived a war and being shot in the head when he returned home, Rich expresses himself through intricate pen and ink work, which he says helps him "crawl out of deep dark holes in my past." The gallery invited people to meet Rich and "delve further into experience transformed into art." The show remains on view through Aug. 11.