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Jazz fest alive and well in Syracuse


Contact: Larry Luttinger

CNY Jazz Arts Foundation

T: (315) 479-5299

C: (315) 436-9082

Jazz fest alive and well in Syracuse

CNY Jazz celebrates 18 years of serving Syracuse with a top-flight international jazz festival surrounded by fine wines, food, and fun, as the Berkshire Bank Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival holds court in Clinton Square, the heart of downtown Syracuse, on July 26th and 27th.

The two-day event provides the performing arts anchor for Syracuse Artsweek, the “festival of festivals” that stretches from Clinton Square to the Everson Museum, attracting over 66,000 festivalgoers to downtown Syracuse every summer.

This year, the 11th as a “jazz and wine” fest and the 18th as Syracuse’s downtown jazz festival, brings many new facets. It is the first in partnership with the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, which will lodge festival artists and host local acts on its outdoor patio. A new presenting partnership with Mack Studios will bring an international flavor and a member of America’s foremost jazz dynasty to the main stage. The event will also serve as the festival launching pad for the brand new CNY Jazz Youth Orchestra, an all-star 17-piece big band whose members hail from city and county school districts and area colleges.

The festival has been serving downtown Syracuse and Central New York with a signature jazz  event for nearly 20 years with no signs of slowing down, according to organizer and founder of CNY Jazz, Larry Luttinger. “Syracuse doesn’t have to worry about losing any jazz capacity while we’re on watch,” according to Luttinger. “As the sole surviving jazz festival for the region, we’ve had a year to lay the groundwork for growth. We’re continuing to work hard to convince the public and private sector that this tradition needs to continue and that Artsweek continues to grow. Jazz, and the arts as a whole, are a huge, largely untapped economic driver for our region. I’m carrying this flag full-time these days, and lobbying hard for new investment in downtown arts organizations, with a signature downtown jazz event leading the way as the prime cultural tourism engine.”

This year’s lineup of artists has never been stronger, thanks to continued support from title sponsor Berkshire Bank, Assemblymember Pam Hunter, a host of new sponsors, and new co-presenter Mack Studios. Peter Mack, well-known regional producer, bandleader, and musician, will curate two main stage acts. Delfeayo Marsalis, trombonist member of the American dynasty setting the benchmark for mainstream jazz, will appear with the Macktet, an all-Upstate New York group with members from all corners of the state.  Lending an international flair is Quinteto De Corazon, featuring Milo and Omar Tamez from Monterrey Mexico, German-born Thomas Heberer, Mack, and Harvey Sorgen, a veteran of wildly eclectic experience including Hot Tuna, Paul Simon, Phil Lesh and Dave Douglas.

The remainder of the bill features a wide variety of musical styles played by the best in the business. “Jazz is like America, in all its various cultural forms,” said Luttinger. “As an education organization, we always deliberately present a sampler of all that jazz is, and can be, for listeners of all ages, tastes, and backgrounds.” Other main stage acts include a French-inspired acoustic swing act with bluesy overtones, the Pelotones; the powerhouse contemporary jazz, funk and RnB electric flute of Detroit’s Althea Rene; the smooth jazz of JJ Sansaverino and Will Donato, and the unique horn-driven Millennial group the Huntertones, complete with Sousaphone and human beatbox.

In between main stage acts, the festival’s WAER Mardi Gras and World Beat pavilions will resound with multiple sets by area mainstay soul group the Longwood Jazz Project, former Soulive saxophonist Sam Kininger with Mike Houston’s 5th Edition, New York City’s emerging guitar sensation Joe Wittman with his trio, and a lively CNY Jazz Alumni Jam hosted by standout young trumpeter and leader Nick Di Maria, now at the Manhattan School of Music. Each night of the festival ends with a blowout late night jam session at Jazz Central, a short walk from Clinton Square, where the pros mix it up until the wee hours.

Warming up the jazz vibe on the “Grill & Chill” deck as part of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown’s Artsweek activities are vocalists Melody Rose and Scott Dennis, regulars in the CNY Jazz at the Cavalier Series, performing happy hour sets on Thursday and Friday. The Marriott is offering a special vacation/staycation package for hard core festival attendees, including Main Stage preferred seat passes, complimentary wine, breakfast for two in the “11 Waters” restaurant, and FREE parking. The special package is available for $199 per night, either Friday or Saturday, July 26-27, 2019, and may be booked by emailing mentioning the “Jazz Fest 19 Promo”.

The CNY Jazz commitment to paying it forward is exemplified by the event’s scholastic activities. This year’s scholastic “fest within a fest” will feature three outstanding local student bands: the Cicero-North Syracuse Jazz Ensemble, Baldwinsville’s Kats Pajamaz big band, and the elite CNY Jazz Youth Orchestra. They will play in an “open classroom” setting with a main stage artist as featured soloist and clinician. Standout community jazz bands will then get a chance to air out their chops, including Brig Juice and the Easy Money Big Band.

Said Chris Papayanakos, Regional VP of Berkshire Bank, “We are proud to be the title sponsor of the Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival. Our partnership in this event continues in the tradition of Berkshire Bank’s support of the Syracuse community and our appreciation of the arts as a cultural and economic engine. We look forward to enjoying this year’s acts in the company of our employees, clients and neighbors living in downtown Syracuse, Central New York, and beyond.”

Assemblymember Pam Hunter stated “This festival provides a great experience for downtowners, city and county residents, and tourists alike. It’s the centerpiece of CNY Jazz urban programming, and underscores their commitment to community and youth. It is always great to see so many participating in what is sure to be one of the best events of the summer.”

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, added “The Jazz & Wine Festival is one of the many great events happening downtown during Artsweek that brings together a diverse group of incredibly talented national and local artists. This festival in July and the Jazz in the City concert series in August have become staples of the arts scene in our community.”

Major support from Berkshire Bank and Pam Hunter make this year’s festival possible, as well as Mack Studios and a large family of corporate supporters, including new sponsors Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists (S.O.S.), J.P. Jeanneret Associates, Marriott Syracuse Downtown, Costello Cooney Fearon PLLC,  IoTRIGHT, Music & Arts, and Hall Building Services. They join a loyal family of returning sponsors including WAER 88.3, National Grid, Bousquet Holstein, Modern Industrial Marketing, Baldwin, Sutphen & Frateschi PLLC, Lockheed Martin Employees Federated Fund, American Express, Fust Charles Chambers LLP, Bond Schoeneck & King, Washington Street Partners, Unimar, Grossman St. Amour, Critical Link, Ra-Lin, Sunny 102, Soul of Syracuse, Owera, and in-kind sponsors Volvo, Charles Signs, Cabot Cheese, Eastwood Litho, and DUMAC, as well as annual funding from CNY Arts and Onondaga County.

The festival’s world class wines are again provided by major sponsor Palm Bay International and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. Back by popular demand, outstanding wines from Northern Italy are represented by The Cavit Collection. Wines of Australia’s Hunter and Barossa Valley will be showcased with “The Plan” wines by McGuigan. Sparkling selections will be provided by Lunetta, and a new Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc by Portillo will be introduced.

Full information about the festival, complete wine list, links to artist videos and printable schedules are available at

To schedule phone interviews with artists, call CNY Jazz at 315-479-5299.


2019 Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival Schedule

Friday July 26

Main Stage

6:30 pm               Quinteto De Corazon Presented by Mack Studios

8:15 pm               Huntertones

10:00 pm             Althea Rene

WAER Mardi Gras Pavilion

5:00 pm               Nick Di Maria’s CNY Jazz Alumni Jam

7:30 pm               Nick Di Maria’s CNY Jazz Alumni Jam

9:15 pm               Nick Di Maria’s CNY Jazz Alumni Jam

WAER World Beat Pavilion

5:00 pm               Longwood Jazz Project

7:30 pm               Longwood Jazz Project

9:15 pm               Longwood Jazz Project

Jazz Central

11:00 pm             Late Night Jam

Saturday July 27

Main Stage – Scholastic Festival

Noon                     CNY Jazz Youth Orchestra

1:00 pm               Cicero-North Syracuse Jazz Ensemble

2:00 pm               Katz Pajamaz

Main Stage – Battle of the Community Big Bands

3:00 pm               Brig Juice Mini-Corps

4:00 pm               Easy Money Big Band

Main Stage

6:30 pm                The Pelotones

8:15 pm               Delfeayo Marsalis & the Macktet Presented by Mack Studios

10:00 pm             JJ Sansaverino & Will Donato

WAER Mardi Gras Pavilion

5:00 pm               Joe Wittman Trio

7:30 pm               Joe Wittman Trio

9:15 pm               Joe Wittman Trio

WAER World Beat Pavilion

5:00 pm               Sam Kininger & Mike Houston’s 5th Edition

7:30 pm               Sam Kininger & Mike Houston’s 5th Edition

9:15 pm               Sam Kininger & Mike Houston’s 5th Edition

Jazz Central

11:00 pm             Late Night Jam

Marriott Syracuse Downtown “Artsweek” Shows

5:00 pm Tuesday July 23rd – My So Called Band @ Rock the Block

5:00 pm Wednesday July 24th  – Steve Scuteri Grill & Chill

5:00 pm Thursday July 25th – Melody Rose Grill & Chill

5:00 pm Friday July 26th – Scott Dennis Grill & Chill


About CNY Jazz – The CNY Jazz Arts Foundation, established in 1996, is the largest year-round provider of jazz presentations for the public and for schools across the entire Upstate New York region. Its growing list of programs includes The CNY Jazz Cabaret Series, Scholastic Jazz Jams, Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival, Jazz Vespers Series, Nancy Kelly Vocal Jazz Jams and Stars of Tomorrow Cabarets, SummerJazz Workshop, Jazz in the City, Jazz at the Plaza, Parties at the Plaza, Jazz On Tap, Jazz at the Cavalier, Opening Night After-Parties at Syracuse Stage, Summer Jazz at the Bob Cecile Center, the Black History Month Cabaret, CNY Jazz Youth Orchestra, and shows of all kinds at the Jazz Central theater. Learn more at