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Sounds of jazz to take over Flushing Town Hall again

Members of the Queens JazzOverGround, Brian Woodruff (l. to r.), Josh Deutsch, Mark Wade and Amanda Monaco, jam at Flushing Town Hall. Photo by Merle Exit
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An artists’ collective of musicians, known as Queens Jazz OverGround, plan to highlight the talents of world-renowned and emerging jazz instrumentalists who call the borough home at the second annual Spring Jazz Festival this weekend.

Performances from professional and student musicians will fill Flushing Town Hall for 10 hours.

“It is a collective of Queens-based musicians. Our mission is to bring more jazz to Queens through concerts, workshops and education,” guitarist Amanda Monaco said. “Historical­ly, Queens has been a huge place for jazz. This is where all the famous jazz musicians moved when they had money to buy a house. There is a young community of jazz musicians here including kids that are playing in the public schools and this is a great opportunity.”

The group started with Monaco organizing a bunch of her friends in Long Island City calling it the Long Island City Jazz Alliance.

“I started looking at my friends who were go getters and great musicians who had a lot of integrity. I felt like we could get together and do some tremendous things.”

She approached drummer Brian Woodruff, trumpeter Josh Deutsch and bass player Mark Wade to form the collective.

“We were playing at a club in Astoria called Blackbird’s,” Woodruff said. “I was gung ho to go to venues in Queens to recruit people for my session, which I ran for about 3 1/2 years. We had discovered that there was a hot bed of musicians in this area, only going to Manhattan and Brooklyn to perform. We decided to join our forces and powers and concentrate on performing in Queens.”

The festival, beginning at noon, has daytime and evening sessions taking place at both the Town Hall’s gallery on the first floor and the second floor theater.

Children will have the opportunity to create collages at a Louis Armstrong Collage Workshop. Armstrong was also known for his collages.

Student bands from JHS Q185 (Alex Jung, director), JHS Q194 (Scott Martin, director), and Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School Q501 (William Stevens, director) will play selections and work with guest clinicians Javier Arau, Tom Zlabinger and Josh Deutsch. Rhythm section, brass and saxophone master classes will be led by members of the Jazz OverGround as well as guest artists Ron Horton (trumpet) and Hashem Assadullahi (saxophone). Besides leading the classes, which are open to everyone, these musicians will be around to answer questions and speak with visitors throughout the day.

In addition, student combos from Frank Sinatra High School, the Queens College Center for Preparatory Studies in Music and the York College Blue Notes High School band will also perform sets.

Evening performances begin at 6 p.m. with professional ensembles: Lazy Susan, the Edward Perez Trio, the Amanda Monaco/Noah Baerman Quintet, UoU, the Peter Brendler Quartet, the Mark Wade Trio and the Brian Woodruff Sextet.

If you Go

Spring Jazz Festival

When: Saturday, April 26, noon-10 p.m.

Where: Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.

Cost: Free

Website: www.queensjazz.org

Updated 8:26 pm, April 24, 2014
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