Scranton’s gettin’ jazzy with it

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First Posted: 8/1/2014

“You’re having a jazz festival in NEPA? What are you, crazy?”

That’s what Bob Shlefinger said he heard from people when he began organizing a jazz festival in Scranton.

Schlefinger of Clarks Summit drummed on with plans saying he’d “at least give it a shot.”

A decade later, the 10th Anniversary of the Scranton Jazz Festival is bigger than ever and ready to swing in to NEPA.

The first festival, held in 2004, stated modest, a ” “small gathering with just about 1,000 people,” Schlefinger said. This weekend, more than 4,000 people are expected to pack the downtown area of Scranton and enjoy performances from more than 10 bands.

” said Schlefinger who is also the producer of the festival.

“Many people do not realize how diverse jazz music can be,” he said. “Our headliner, The Manhattan Transfer, infuse a lot of upbeat music in their set. They play many originals, which they have won a number of Grammy Awards for, but they will also take some legendary hits and make it sound better than you’ve ever heard it before. We had to book them as far in advance as last October. That’s how in demand they are.”

Schlefinger said he is excited for the blending of “local jazz musicians that can hold their own with world renowned musicians.”

He said this year’s performing lineup is “amazing and talented.”

Scheduled to perform, include:

• Bucky Pizzarelli

• The Chris Parker Band with saxophone icon Chris Vadala

• The Eric Mintel Group

• French jazz vocalist Ilona Knopfler

• Nate Birkey

• Clarence Spady Blues Band

• Indigo Moon Brass Band

• The Keystone College Jazz Institue Student Combo

• Mike Fahn & Chris Rodger tribute to Woody Shaw

• The Marko Marcinko Latin Jazz Quintet

• The All Star Festival Big Band.

The three-day festival begins Friday, Aug. 8 at the historic Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel (700 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton).

A main stage and jazz walk will be featured.

Tickets can be purchased at Joe Nardone Gallery of Sound locations or by contacting the Scranton Jazz Festival box office at 570-487-3954.

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