Its finally here! The 2016 Salem Jazz and Soul Festival celebrates its 10th season of bringing FREE live funk, soul and jazz to the sandy shores of Salem Willows.
This year’s lineup is comprised of newcomers and returning favorites, sure to please and get your toes tapping! The festival kicks off on Saturday, Aug. 20. The Salem High School Jazz Band opens the festival, and the Zydeco hotshots Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers closes. This underscores both the breadth and depth of the music that has become the SJSF’s calling card. For more information about attending the festival, please check out the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Schedules, parking information, night time club shows schedule and much, much more. Shown below is just the schedule grids for the day festival main stage and education tent. Please see the official program for information on the individual acts. SEE YOU THERE!
Saturday, August 20th
Salem High School Jazz Band
(11 a.m.-noon) Led by Cynthia Naiperkowski. The coordinator of music and band direction of the Salem High School Jazz Band. The SHSJB has opened the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival every year since its inception.
Cynthia Napierkowski is the Recipient of the George N. Parks Award from the National Association for Music Education and Music for All. A firm believer that a well-rounded music program makes for well-rounded people. As Cynthia likes to say, “I truly believe that music makes a significant difference in our students’ lives.” And the results is this amazing group of young people. Not to be missed.
What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?
(12:30-1:30 p.m.) Named after a Victorian children’s game, What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? They time-travel from 1960s soul of New Orleans back to the woods of Medieval France. But not before landing in the Tin Pan Alley era of NYC. Led by the gender-defying voice of 3rian King, the ensemble delivers their unique brand. Starting with a smoky cabaret, neo-soul and acoustic noir. Then adding sounds celebrating something like Tom Waits and Amy Winehouse performing in a French cafe. They’re known for original songs, which marry rich lyrical imagery with a cinematic sensibility, exploring themes of love, spirituality, sexuality, and identity. According to the EDGE they are, “A triumph of mood and style, an unforgettable musical, theatrical and emotional experience.”
Beginning as a duo with singer-songwriter 3rian King and violinist and trumpeter Nathan Cohen, the duo quickly became a staple in Boston’s underground cabaret scene. A fiece blend of music with elements of circus, dance, and other performing arts. As audiences grew, the group incorporated Dennis Monagle on drums, Renée Dupuis on voice, keys, and melodica, and Joe Cardoza on upright bass. The band can perform as an acoustic ensemble or a full theatrical experience. That prescription calls for an amazing group backup singers; Shana Cahill and Liz Bean (known as The Furies), and aerialist, Eileen Little.
The Austin Torpedoes are a Boston-area band that performs what its members like to call “good ol’ American music.” Their unique sound combines elements of many American musical styles. Including blues, jazz, country, Western swing and rockabilly. In its unique way, the band interprets songs by a wide range of artists including Duke Ellington, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, the Beatles and Chuck Berry.
The members of the band — Nicky Vegas, lead vocals and guitar; Don Barthelemy, drums and percussion; Seitu, steel guitar and vocals; and Arthur Grady, upright bass and vocals. The boys have been playing together in some form or another for more than 20 years.
BT/ALC BIG BAND
(3:30-5 p.m.) Since the group’s formation in 2011, the Brian Thomas /Alex Lee-Clark Big Band has gained a reputation for featuring some of the best players in Boston, great compositions, and being undeniably unique. They take the tradition of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Thad Jones, and infuse it with funk music of their idols like Parliament Funkadelic. EvenThe Crusaders, The Meters, James Brown & the JB’s and many more. They’ve created a sound that pushes the art of big band forward, while still being pure entertainment for both the band and the audience.
The Nth Power
(5:30-7 p.m.) Since they first came together at a 2012 New Orleans Jazz, the Nth Power have been defying and redefining all the conventions of what a band can be. This is a powerhouse quintet of world-class players. And have even powered the music of icons like Beyonce, Chaka Khan and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk. As well as Big Daddy Kane, funk innovator Maceo Parker, Groovechild, and jazz greats Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garrison to name a few. Their sound fearlessly crosses genres. Marrying funky soul, rock, R&B, jazz, Gospel, folk and World Beat. Add in improvisational chops and they match any collective on the jazz and jam band scenes. Though a slate of hundreds of gigs, The Nth Power has generated a huge following among open-minded music lovers. Along with critics and the toughest of all audiences… their fellow musicians.
Sunday, August 21st
North Shore Jazz Project All Stars
(11 a.m.-noon) North Shore Jazz Project All Stars is a world-class, youth jazz band featuring the best high school musicians on Boston’s North Shore. The group is led by local tenor saxophonist, Mike Tucker, a Berklee College of Music graduate and professor.
The All Stars are now under the umbrella of the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival, since its merge in late 2015.
“We’re very excited to have the opportunity to work directly with the talented students of the North Shore Jazz Project All Stars,” said Nick Giarratani, SJSF’s education director. “This merger gives us yet another opportunity to expand our educational involvement in the communities that we serve.”
Edmar Noé Colón Gierbolini, a Berklee College of Music presidential scholar, is a 23- year-old tenor saxophonist, pianist and composer from Coamo, Puerto Rico. Edmar began playing the saxophone at the age of 12. Progressing at high speed, Colon started playing around PR in countless events with various local artists. The young talent quickly grabbed the attention of Berklee College of Music. He was awarded a full scholarship to the school’s five-week Summer Performance Program, three times in a row. Edmar then began touring around the world.
Colon graduated with a dual major in classical composition and performance (saxophone) from Berklee. He is currently attending the Berklee Global Jazz institute graduate program, and is expected to graduate this summer.
Boston-born Jen Kearney (who performed at the inaugural Salem Jazz and Soul Festival, in 2007) has spent a lot of time experimenting with seasoning her particular musical style and flavor. Her latest album, “Age of Blame,” is truly an amalgam of musical styles. A range from soul, R&B and funk, to rock, Latin and jazz, while maintaining a singer/songwriter’s attention to lyrics. Her band stirs the eight cuts of the album through boiling points and gentle simmers that concentrate that flavor down to hit all points. Flavors from salty, sour, sweet and bitter. In a pre-release review from Jed Gottlieb of the Boston Herald, Kearney’s “…booming soul voice and smart, tight songs provide the pillars of the eight tunes. But her band adds some awesome voodoo.” Lyrically, “Age of Blame” offers deeply personal and hopeful perspective on a myriad of subjects. The main theme being the importance of maintaining balance and love. This ever-evolving world where blame, fear, self-sabotage and deflection are all too easy to succumb to as human contact has receded. Kearney worked with Peter MacLean on drums, Aaron Bellamy on bass, Amy Bellamy on clavinet and B3 organ, Jason Yost on guitar, Mark Mullins on trumpet and flugelhorn, Jared Sims on saxophone, and Yahuba on percussion.
In Jen’s own words: “Working on the album with this group of heavy-hitting musicians has truly humbled me and pushed me to work harder than ever. We persevered through some very interesting situations and personal tragedies to get this album done, so being on the other side of it and listening to the first copy of it in the car was a bit more emotional and gratifying this time.”
Named “Residency King of the Hub”, and said to be “just too talented to remain a local hero” by The Boston Globe; Tim Gearan, the Boston based singer-songwriter, was awarded Unsung Hero at the Boston Music Awards in 2004, as well as Best Ongoing Residency in 2012 and continues to be nominated for BMAs today.
After 10 years of touring nationally and abroad as a sideman guitarist for Tony Lynn Washington, Gearan settled down in Somerville, Massachusetts. He performs his own music with a remarkable band of Boston MVPs almost exclusively, occasionally stripping down his songs in to a full house.
Gearan has been regular guest of local super-groups Session Americana, the Sea Monsters and the Treat Her Right. He has been acclaimed for his performance of Hades in Anais Mitchell’s folk opera, Hadestown even toured to Scotland with Kris Delmhorst. Along with Alastair Moock and Rose Polenzani as part of a project called the “Boston T Party.” He continues to collaborate with an amaement of artists in Boston and beyond.
“He’s like an eclectic Little Feat, hitting on different geres from bluesy slide-guitar workouts, to New Orleans Swing, funky soul, country-jazz, and even a touch of Tex-Mex. Gearan has never been bound by formula and that’s the key.” – Steve Morse, The Boston Globe
Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers
Dwayne (Dopsie) Rubin and his band made such an impression on the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival audience last year, we asked him back in 2016 to play his unique, high-energy style of zydeco once more. Dwayne hails from one of the most influential Zydeco families in the world. Although inspired by tradition, he has developed his own style that defies existing stereotypes and blazes a refreshingly distinct path for 21st-century Zydeco music. This singer/songwriter and accordionist has performed all over the world since debuting his band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, at age 19.
Dwayne, born in Lafayette, Louisiana, is the youngest of eight children. He attributes his musical abilities to his father, Rockin’ Dopsie, Sr., a pioneer of Zydeco music. As a small child, Dwayne was interested in the washboard, but quickly realized he had incredible talent with an accordion. He’s played the accordion since age seven and states, “This is my calling — Zydeco music is in my blood and it is my heart and soul.” As a tribute to his late father, the most influential person in his life, Dwayne plans to record an album of his Dad’s greatest Zydeco hits. (YEP! That makes us just love what he does even more!)
DJ Radio Scotvoid spins both days between sets.
Salem Jazz and Soul Festival Music Education Tent Schedule
This year marks the 2nd year of the SJSF music Education Tent. Stop by and you just might learn a thing or two! Last year, the Education Tent was a highlight for many festival-goers last year and represents the “hidden gem” of the festival. Dwayne Dopsie’s zydeco history session was particularly burning! Stop by and you might learn a thing or two!
Saturday August 20
Sunday August 21
Even the award winning ResortsAndLodges.com site is writing about our funky little festival. Read their piece ‘Closing out Summer in Style at the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival’ here.