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Jazz Festival joins Fair U City and adds more music

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 6, 2013 - The third annual University City Jazz Festival, set for this Saturday, Sept. 7 at Heman Park, continues to grow.

According to brothers Mike and Rob Silverman, who founded the event in 2011, there will be changes in the main stage setup, plus an additional second stage featuring student musicians.

“This year, we’ll have a much bigger main stage than we’ve had in the past,” Mike Silverman said in a phone conversation during a rehearsal break with his brother Rob – both founding members of the band Bach to the Future. “We’ll even have a Steinway piano on stage. And we’ve added a second Community Stage. During breaks between the Main Stage acts, we’ll feature three groups of young musicians.”

But the festival is also staying true to its musical booking philosophy, according to Rob Silverman.

“The goal has always been to have a headliner who is a well-respected musician on the St. Louis music scene,” he said. “This year it’s Willie Akins, who will be playing with his current band featuring Montez Coleman on drums. And we continue to present a tribute to a legendary musician every year, featuring an all-star group of St. Louis musicians. This year it’s the great guitarist Wes Montgomery.”

“We’re also bringing in two musicians and their bands who haven’t played the festival before, said Mike Silverman, “Vocalist Joe Mancuso with his Quintet, and guitarist Tom Byrne and his group, Have U Heard. And we’re bringing back Clave Sol, a Latin jazz band that played in 2011.”Aside from the expansion to two stages, one other change will make things very different at the University City Festival Saturday.

Fair U City, an annual fall weekend event sponsored by University City, and usually held later in September, will coincide with the Jazz Festival.

That means concessions will all be handled by Fair U City, which is a relief to the Silvermans.

“For the previous Jazz Fests, we had to line up food vendors ourselves,” Mike Silverman said. “Fair U City will have many more food options for everyone.”

“And there’s going to be plenty of other things going on throughout the park,” Rob Silverman said. “There’s a carnival, and they’re even having what they’re calling a Puppy Pool Party – opening the park pool for dogs to swim in. And Fair U City will also be presenting music on Friday night and on Sunday.”

In addition to working hard to keep the University City Jazz festival going, the Silverman brothers are determined to keep the Chesterfield Music festival – which they debuted this past summer – going.

“That will definitely happen again in 2014,” Mike Silverman said. “We’re already tossing ideas around on that.”

The brothers are also busy in the studio recording a new CD. Titled “The Rebirth of Fusion,” it’s set to feature major name guest musicians such as Randy Brecker, David Benoit, Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal, Tom Patitucci and Dweezil Zappa.

“As we’re recording, we’re releasing singles for sale,” Mike Silverman said. “We have four done and released, and the whole CD will be out soon.”

The music schedule for Saturday’s University City Music Festival runs from 1-9 p.m. in Heman Park, off Midland Boulevard, and admission is free. For more info on the festival, go to  www.ucityjazzfestival.com.

For more info on Fair U City, go to www.fairucity.com. The Friday and Sunday music schedule for Fair U City is listed below.

Fair U City Music Schedule

Friday, Sept. 6
Big stage:

6 p.m.: Starlifter U.S. Air Force Band

7:30 p.m.: Nikko Smith

Sunday, Sept. 8

Big stage:

11:30 a.m.: Riverbenders

1 p.m.: Fanfare

2 p.m.: James Matthews Band

3:30 p.m.: Heather Dawn

5 p.m.: Aloha Mi’sho

6:15 p.m.: FatPocket

7:30 p.m.: Dirty Muggs

Small stage:

11 a.m.: Poor People of Paris

12:45 p.m.: PINX Dance Studio

2 p.m.: The Slaughter Project & Washington University Dance Theater

3:30 p.m.: Clarion Brass

5:30 p.m.: Washington University Jazz Combo

7 p.m.: Teen Swag


Main Stage

1 p.m.: Clave Sol

2 p.m.: St. Louis Jazz All Stars – Tribute to Wes Montgomery (featuring Maurice Carnes, Ptah Williams, Freddie Washington & Chris Burchett)

3:30 p.m.: Joe Mancuso Quintet (featuring Carolbeth True, Willem vom Hombracht, Christopher Braig & Steve Davis)

5 p.m.: Have U Heard

6:30 p.m.: Bach to the Future

8 p.m.: Willie Akins/Montez Coleman Quintet

Community Stage

3 p.m.: Powell Street

4:30 p.m.: Playing with Sound w/Diane Davenport (ages 6+)

6 p.m.: Danbury Street

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. He has written for the St. Louis Beacon since 2009. Terry's other writing credits in St. Louis include: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis American, the Riverfront Times, and St. Louis magazine. Nationally, Terry writes for DownBeat magazine, OxfordAmerican.org and RollingStone.com, among others.

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