Jazz has a long and storied tradition here in Rhode Island. Back in the ‘50s, one of the classic hangouts on the East Coast was right here in Providence. Called the Celebrity Club, it was a tight, cozy place that attracted some of the biggest and best from the national jazz scene. Later there was Allery’s on North Main Street, another legendary gathering place for aficionados. And then there was Bovi’s Tavern in East Providence on Monday nights.
For one night only, Wednesday, April 25, there will be an unique celebration of this vibrant local jazz tradition, when over a dozen of Rhode Island’s very best jazz musicians come together for what should be a remarkable evening of music. Sponsored by the Providence Rotary Club, the night will bring together perhaps the best collection of local jazz musicians this area has seen in decades. Their names are a who’s who of local talent. Among the featured performers:
Greg Abate and “The Prince of Be-bop” Group
A jazz saxophonist, flutist, composer and Rhode Island native, Greg Abate is an international jazz/recording artist touring the globe 150 days a year, playing jazz festivals, jazz societies and jazz clubs throughout the U.S., Canada and abroad, including most of Europe, the U.K. and Russia. He was a 2004 Grammy nominee.
Duke Robillard (performing with Dan Moretti)
Guitarist. Songwriter. Singer. Producer. Leader of the incomparable Roomful of Blues. And a one-man cheering section for the blues, in all its forms and permutations. Considered one of the best blues guitarists in the world, the Woonsocket-born Robillard received a Grammy nomination in 2007 for his Guitar Groove-a-rama CD and has also been honored with the prestigious Rhode Island Pell Award for “Excellence in the Arts.” According to none other than BB King, when it comes to blues, “Duke is one of the great ones.”
Dan Moretti and the Hammond Boys
Moretti has toured throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, and India performing as a leader and sideman. His influences, ranging from jazz and classical to funk and Latin jazz, come from his experience performing and recording with artists across the spectrum of music, like Aretha Franklin, The Temptations and The Crusaders, just to name a few. A full time associate professor in the Contemporary Writing and Production Department at Berklee College of Music, Dan has produced 11 internationally released CDs in the last 15 years.
Shawnn Monteiro and Harry Allen (tribute to Carmen McRae)
Whether in the intimacy of a club date or the glitter of a Las Vegas showroom, vocalist Shawnn Monteiro has delighted audiences from the U.S. to Europe with her highly popular jazz repertoire, laced with blues-oriented improvisations. Shawnn has shared the stage with a prestigious list of jazz notables including Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton and the Count Basie Band, among others.
Saxophonist Harry Allen has over 30 recordings to his name. He has performed at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide, frequently touring the United States, Europe and Asia. He has performed and recorded with Rosemary Clooney, Ray Brown, Tony Bennett, James Taylor and others. Born in Washington, DC, he spent his childhood years in Burrillville.
An assemblage this talented needs a venue to match their skills, hence the brand new Fete, located at 103 Dike Street in the Olneyville section of Providence. As part of what’s being called the “First Annual Jazz Legends Festival,” this already handsome building will be transformed into an old fashioned jazz supper club, complete with table cloths and candles – all very intimate, yet with a sound system that will knock your socks off. The evening will also honor John Chan, owner of Chan’s in Woonsocket, who has been faithfully supporting both local and national jazz performers for decades.
Tickets for what should be an unforgettable evening of music will be offered in two price ranges. General admission has been set at a modest $35 for this three- to four-hour concert. In addition, there will be a special VIP event before the concert that will include a light buffet, champagne toast and the chance to meet and chat with all the artists in addition to preferred seating, all for just $75. The VIP event will run from 6-7:15pm. The concert will start at 7:30pm. Call 401-885-7017 to order tickets for this sure to sell out event.
All monies raised during the evening will go to support the Providence Rotary Charities, in particular, those targeted to support the children and the arts in Providence. This jazz festival marks the culmination of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Rotary Club of Providence, which was the 22nd club established in an international organization that now includes over 35,000 clubs worldwide. The concert is produced by Paul Borrelli Entertainment.