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Contact: Larry Luttinger

CNY Jazz Arts Foundation

T: (315) 479-5299

C: (315) 436-9082



New Title Sponsor Berkshire Bank, Symphoria Performs, Staycation at Sheraton Offered


Great music, wines, food and fun converge this summer at the Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival in Clinton Square, the heart of downtown Syracuse, on July 28th and 29th.


For the 8th year, the two-day event will provide 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.


The lineup of artists appearing on the main stage has never been stronger, thanks to support from new title sponsor Berkshire Bank. The main stage will be inhabited by a typically eclectic mix of jazz, including the 50-piece Symphoria with special guest Joe Magnarelli; Bobby Militello, Dave Brubeck’s mainstay saxophonist for 35 years; Bob Holz & A Vision Forward performing a Larry Coryell tribute; Nashville’s eight-piece funk band Dynamo, and perennial funky dance favorite, Atlas, celebrating their thirty-seventh anniversary as a mainstay of Upstate New York’s music scene. The festival’s Mardi Gras and World Beat pavilions will host the J.A.S.S. All-Stars featuring Ron Joseph, breaking pop reggae group Root Shock, Dave Mathews saxophonist Sam Kininger backed by local funk favorite Brownskin, and classic Motown from Trumptight315. The festival’s main stage will again include a Battle of the Community Jazz Bands and a professionally adjudicated Scholastic Festival, and after-hours jams will take place at Jazz Central.


“We continue our tradition of programming with purpose by presenting an eclectic mix of musical styles with a decidedly urban flair,”, said Larry Luttinger, founder and director of CNY Jazz Central, the organizer of the festival. “We’re celebrating the fast-growing downtown Syracuse neighborhood, and giving 13202 what it’s telling us it wants. We’re delighted to showcase the jazz capabilities of Symphoria with our most famous jazz expatriate Joe Magnarelli. The CNY Jazz mission is to educate, inform and entertain, and we’re doing so via a myriad of styles, from reggae to funk to bebop to trad jazz, America’s music in all its forms. And we’re putting heads in beds, making our town a cultural hub as the performing arts anchor of Artsweek. It’s a thrill, and humbling, to be able to be a major part of creating the single biggest not-for-profit festival audience in the region.”


Said Chris Papayanakos, representing 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 Central New York community and our appreciation of the arts as a whole. 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.”

Senator John A. DeFrancisco, a longtime supporter of the arts and major sponsor of this year’s event, said, “I am always pleased to help support the Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival. This collaborative event helps to highlight the outstanding local talent that we have in our community, while drawing thousands of residents and visitors alike to downtown Syracuse. As a jazz enthusiast, I look forward to this year’s great lineup.”  


Van Robinson, President of the Syracuse Common Council, added “Not only is this festival the cultural centerpiece of Syracuse Artsweek, but it always shows strong support for a diverse group of local artists deserving of much critical acclaim. This event and the Jazz in the City concert series have become the summer staples of our local urban culture”.


“Downtown Syracuse is the epicenter of the arts in our community, and we always look forward to the last weekend in July as an opportunity to showcase the center of our city through an artist’s lens,” said Merike Treier, the executive director of the Downtown Committee. “We can’t wait to experience the diverse, high-quality talents of the craftspeople who make Columbus Circle their home for three days during the AmeriCU Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival, and how this compliments the Northeast Jazz and Wine Festival and the Syracuse New Times Street Painting Festival.  These events serve as anchor events in the ArtsWeek celebration in Downtown Syracuse. The weekend offers something for everyone.”


Proceeds from wine tasting courses held during the festival will benefit CNY Jazz and the local chapter of the American Red Cross. Wine sponsor Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits will unveil their all-new selection of festival wines at a later date. 


The event supports cultural tourism by offering a VIP lodging experience at the Sheraton Syracuse University where the festival artists stay, which includes two free main stage preferred seat passes with a value of $100, 2 sets of wine tasting wristbands, complimentary cocktails for two, hotel garage parking and a festival shuttle, for a highly discounted rate per night of $135 to $185.


The CNY Jazz commitment to arts education and cultural literacy continues with the event’s scholastic festival and alumni jam sessions. “We’ve turned out more than 1,000 SummerJazz Workshop and Parks & Rec All-Stars alumni in the last 15 years,” said Larry Luttinger, organizer of the festival. “The kids that you see on stage getting mentored by and performing with national artists are the kids who will be at our reunion jams for years afterward.  It’s a kick to be able to keep in touch with this group. The oldest are now professionals in all walks of life, and they have made America’s music their creative outlet. They’re playing their part keeping creativity alive in Central New York.” Some of these students will be jamming with main stage artists in twin “Late Night Jam Sessions” at Jazz Central.


The event also provides the only highly visible creative outlet for the region’s many avocational jazz bands on Saturday afternoon, with shows by the Rhythm-Airs big band, Utica’s Easy Money Big Band, and the most unique big band imaginable, the “Brig Juice Mini-Corps”, a twenty-two piece brass-and-drum set ensemble consisting of members of the Syracuse Brigadiers, playing high energy arrangements including Buddy Rich’s “Channel One Suite”.


Full information about the festival, including advance sale of wine passes, 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.


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, Stage of Nations ECOfest, Jazz Vespers Series, Nancy Kelly Vocal Jazz Jams and Stars of Tomorrow Cabarets, SummerJazz Workshop, Jazz in the City, Jazz@SITRUS, Jazz at the Plaza, Parties in the Plaza, Jazz On Tap, the Black History Month Cabaret, Stan Colella City of Syracuse Parks & Recreation All-Star Big Band, and more. Learn more at


Friday July 28

A – Main Stage

7:00 – 8:15 pm                  Symphoria! With Joe Magnarelli

9:30 – 11:00 pm                Atlas XXXVII


B – Mardi Gras Pavilion

5:00 – 7:00 pm                  J.A.S.S. All-Stars with Ron Joseph

8:15 – 9:30 pm                  J.A.S.S. All-Stars with Ron Joseph


C – World Beat Pavilion

5:00 – 7:00 pm                  Root Shock

8:15 – 9:30 pm                  Root Shock


D – Jazz Central

11:00 pm                             Late Night Jam


Saturday July 29

A – Main Stage

Scholastic Festival

Noon                                     Stan Colella City of Syracuse Parks & Recreation All-Star Big Band

1:00 pm                               Ray Middle School “Katz Pajamaz” Jazz Ensemble


Battle of the Community Jazz Bands

2:00 pm                               Rhythm-Airs

3:00 pm                               Brig Juice Mini-Corps

4:00 pm                               Easy Money Big Band


Evening Schedule

6:30 – 7:30 pm                  Bob Holz & A Vision Forward featuring Chet Catallo & Ralphe Armstrong:

Tribute to Larry Coryell and Alphonse Mouzon

8:15 – 9:15 pm                  Bobby Militello

10:00 – 11:00 pm             Dynamo


B – Mardi Gras Pavilion

5:00- 6:30pm                     Trumptight315
7:30- 8:15pm                     Trumptight315
9:15-10:00pm                   Trumptight315


C – World Beat Pavilion

5:00- 6:30pm                     Sam Kininger with Brownskin
7:30- 8:15pm                     Sam Kininger with Brownskin
9:15-10:00pm                   Sam Kininger with Brownskin


D – Jazz Central

11:00 pm                             Late Night Jam




Symphoria with Special Guest Joe Magnarelli

Symphoria is a world-class symphony orchestra that currently presents more than 50 concerts each season and reaches 100,000 people annually in venues ranging from their home venue, the Crouse-Hinds Theater at the Civic Center, to libraries, health care facilities, public parks, churches and museums across New York State. They are composed of a diverse group of talented musicians hailing from all across the globe, bringing with them a breadth of musical talent that extends far beyond the Syracuse community. They bring their ability to swing with the best jazz artists in the country, dating to their years as the Syracuse Symphony under the baton of the late great Calvin Custer. They will be joined by Joe Magnarelli, arguably the most successful jazz expatriate hailing from Syracuse since Sal Nistico, perennial jazz poll winner from the 1950s. Magnarelli is no stranger to Central New York audiences, having performed at multiple summer festivals including the Northeast Jazz & Wine festival with the Syracuse Symphony in 2009. He has nine records out as leader, and leads a busy life collaborating with countless other jazzmen and women.  He has performed and toured with Harry Connick, Lionel Hampton, Jack McDuff, Toshiko Akioshi, John Hendricks, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra. He is also an adjunct professor of music at the Juilliard School and Rutgers University.


Bobby Militello

Saxophone legend Bobby Militello brings back the spirit of Paul Desmond when he performs at festivals worldwide. After playing locally in Buffalo, he toured with Maynard Ferguson (1975-1979). He has played or recorded with the Bill Holman and Bob Florence Orchestras and Charlie Shoemake. He made his considerable mark on the jazz world by touring with NEA Jazzmaster Dave Brubeck for an incredible 35 years, until Brubeck’s death in 2012.


Bob Holz & A Vision Forward: Tribute to Larry Coryell and Alphonse Mouzon

Bob Holz and A Vision Forward is an all-star jazz/fusion band consisting of drummer and composer Bob Holz (The Larry Coryell Trio), Chet Catallo (Spyro Gyra) on guitar and Ralphe Armstrong ( Mahavishnu Orchestra, Frank Zappa) on bass. They are touring in support of Holz’s new release, A Vision Forward which features Randy Brecker, Larry Coryell, Mike Stern and Steve Weingart.  Holz has composed and recorded numerous live and studio recordings, movie sound tracks and theatrical productions. He has released five albums as leader. His third CD, entitled Split Decision, was nominated for Best Jazz category in the 2014 SAMMY Awards.



Dynamo is a Nashville-based, award winning touring band whose music fuses jazz, rock, and funk with elements of soul and R&B. Formed in 2012, Dynamo consists of nine core musicians. They have been the recipients of both the 2015 NIMA (Nashville Industry Music Award) for best Reggae/Funk/Fusion band and Album of the Year. When they’re not performing or recording in Nashville, the band is on the road, spreading their unique brand of feel-good music to audiences all over the world.



Atlas, the mainstay of the upstate funky dance scene, has been providing the public with scintillating funk of all kinds since 1981, the year they were founded by Maynard Ferguson and Melba Moore alumnus Larry Arlotta. Each time they perform at the Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival, they commemorate their longevity by adding their anniversary roman numeral to their name. They year they celebrate as “Atlas XXXVII”. Their current lineup is fronted by vocalists Andre Johnson and Juliane Holiday. They perform at festivals, clubs, schools and corporate events across the region.


Sam Kininger with Brownskin

Berklee alum and saxophone journeyman Sam Kininger is building his fan-base and repertoire at clubs and festivals across the country. Kininger has built his reputation in legendary funk/soul groups including Lettuce and Soulive. He also performs with the Dave Matthews Band, DJ Quick and Wyclef Jean. As a solo artist, Sam has developed a distinctive, organic sound on the saxophone that is extremely funky. He’ll be backed by Brownskin, RnB and Soul standard bearers for Central New York, a popular and  frequent NE Jazz & Wine Festival band.


Root Shock

Root Shock was formed in 2012 by regional veteran musicians whose love of reggae music flows deep. Their unique blend of reggae and heavy drum & bass combined with American roots and soul, creates an infectious and positive dance music vibe. The band has been delighting crowds across the New York region and beyond, spearheaded by the soulful vocals of Jessica Brown. On the heels of their 2016 debut album, Root Shock is touring their live show to clubs, festivals and concert halls across the country. They are the winners of the Syracuse Area Music Awards “Best New Artist” accolade as well as being crowned winner of the NYS Music state-wide “March Madness” fan favorite competition.



Trumptight315 is an Old School R&B Funk band that plays the smooth and funky sounds of Motown.  Entertaining the public since 2012, they consist of Mr. Trumptight, Eric Love Jones, and his beautiful wife Belinda (Belové), Jamar Lacey on drums, his dad, James “Pops” Lacey on bass, Donny on guitar, Brody White on congas and Marty on sax. When people ask them how they came up with their name: In certain card games, the highest ranking suit is called trump). When a person has nothing but trump cards in his hand it is referred to as being “trump tight”.


J.A.S.S. All-Stars with Ron Joseph


Brig Juice Mini-Corps




Easy Money Big Band


Late Night Jam Sessions

These post-festival jams at Jazz Central, 441 E. Washington St. are led by a house rhythm section of distinguished CNY Jazz Alumni, graduates of the finest conservatories in the country. They are a living legacy of the scholastic programs of CNY Jazz. All are welcome to sit in and jam at these sessions, which start immediately after the conclusion of Clinton Square programming at 11 pm.