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Capital Jazzfest, chalk art returns for art-filled weekend

Capital Jazzfest, chalk art returns for art-filled weekend

September 7th, 2017 by Allen Fennewald in Life & Entertainment

Monte Safford plays the drums Tuesday, July 25, 2017, during the Capital Jazzfest Jazz Jam Fundraiser held at the Mission in Jefferson City. Proceeds from the event were designated for Jazz Forward Initiative, Inc., the non-profit that sponsors the Capital Jazzfest and Jazz On Wheels programs.

Photo by Shelby Kardell /News Tribune.

A weekend of music and art is on its way to Jefferson City's Riverside Park.

The festivities kick off with Friday's Evening at the Amphitheatre featuring area songwriters.

The next day, the 26th annual Capital Jazzfest brings bopping melodies and swinging rhythm to the amphitheater from 1-6 p.m., with the Capital Chalk Art Fair to take place simultaneously.

Jazzfest brings together locally based, regional, and national jazz and blues acts. This year's ticket includes the Sam Copeland Quartet leading off at 1 p.m., then the Merge Quintet is to take over at 2:20 p.m., and Good 4 the Soul returns by popular demand at 3:40 p.m. Headliner Megan Birdsall will take the stage at 5 p.m.

Capital Jazzfest is put on by the Jazz Forward Initiative, which supports the propagation of jazz and strives to provide live performances to Mid-Missouri.

Featured artist Birdsall hails from Kansas City. Jazz Forward Initiative board member Jeff Bassinson said she has a classical style with a flair for the unexpected.

"She has dabbled in all sorts of different styles, and is still working with traditional jazz," he said. "I'm not sure what she will bring; it might be something new and different. It's always nice to hear interpretations of cover tunes and originals as well, and Megan has done both."

Birdsall will be backed by a three-piece band singing jazz standards and a few beloved contemporary arrangements.

"We are all excited to be in JC for this event," she said.

Good 4 the Soul played at Jazzfest to wide acclaim in 2014. They are a lively ensemble known for unique interpretations of popular cover tunes, like Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster." Bassinson said they merge all of the best aspects of soul, funk, gospel, and rhythm and blues into a lively jazz sound.

The Merge Quintet is a local group led by Arthur White, saxophonist and nationally recognized composer. Bassinson said they will perform all original tunes, which offer an old-school jazz sound with a flair hard to describe.

The Sam Copeland Quartet highlights Copeland's all original old-school jazz tunes. The young bassist is studying for a master's at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

"He brings a youthful exuberance to his performances with a feel and sound of a well-traveled, decade's experienced pro," Bassinson said. "I've heard the guy, and he's great. It's pretty much all straight ahead jazz with a little bit of bop."

Jazzfest finds a new home this year at Riverside Park. The amphitheater can seat about 500 people, Bassinson said, and attendees can lay out blankets or set up lawn chairs on the overlooking grassy hill.

"Downtown was a nice location, but we decided to get it a little bit more open, a little bit more greenery," he said.

Jazzfest has partnered with the Capital Chalk Art Fair for the past 11 years to offer audible and visual elements at the artistic exhibition. Chalk artists will take up sections of sidewalk from 1-5 p.m. throughout the park to put their abilities on display for judges, other participants and passersby.

This is the first year Evening at the Amphitheatre has collaborated in the event. The 6-10 p.m. Friday concert will include singer-songwriter, bluegrass and folk performances.

"We don't generally like to stick to one genre because we like to open up the doors to a little bit of everything — all types of talent, art and music," said Quinten Rice, Evening at the Amphitheater organizer and co-owner of Avenue HQ.

Sho-Me Music Entertainment founder Janice Martin organized the Friday concert. She said the event is meant to showcase local songwriters people don't often hear along with established acts. Performers include area artists Shalom Sardis and Jon Hensley, along with Nashville songwriter Craig Market.

"I love to see the songwriters come together," Martin said. "I'm hoping at the end of the night, they all get up and (play) something together. I want to see the local songwriters here in Missouri branch out and become more confident."

The Evening at the Amphitheatre has put out a call for area artists to put their work on display to add a visual component to the Friday evening of music before the chalk covers the sidewalks the next day. Artists can contact Rice by calling 573-230-5515.