Jazz event set for city

The Bridgeport News
Thursday, January 21, 2010
by Julie Perine, Lifestyles Editor

Those who love jazz music are in luck:  A special jazz event is scheduled for Jan. 29-30 at the Bridgeport Conference Center.

Event sponsors are hopeful this will be the first of a string of such events, ultimately leading to the organization of an East Coast Jazz Summit in the fall of 2011.

“Our target area is from Athens to Cleveland and Pittsburgh to Charleston,” West Virginia Jazz Society President Eric Spelsberg said.

“Instead of having to go to Atlanta to hear good soul jazz, they can come here for the real thing.  And we’ll have a reputation for always having good jazz music here in North Central West Virginia.”

Winter Jazz Weekend also will encompass master class music workshops, student mentoring sessions and a business networking luncheon, among other opportunities.  The theme of the event is “The Business of Music.”

The main events will be Friday and Saturday nights, although there are activities geared toward student musicians during the day on Friday and Saturday.

Those activities include a luncheon on Friday for area business leaders, as well as musicians visiting three area high schools to work with students.

Seven bands are expected to perform during the two evenings of live music.

Musicians will come from clubs in Atlanta, New York City and this area, Spelsberg said.

New York City saxophonist Sean Nowell will be one of the headliners, performing acoustic and electric sets with his quintet. He will be featured on Friday.

Also scheduled are the Atlanta-based Will Scruggs and CC Booker and area bands, the Jenny Wilson Trio and Appalachian Jazz Project.

Serving as emcee is musician and Harrison County Cultural Foundation President Phil Wyatt.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity economically and to bring quality entertainment to our community,” Wyatt said.

“There will be a nice jazz club environment, first class musical entertainment and a nice, four-course dinner,” said Scott Duarte, director of hospitality for Charles Pointe and West Virginia Jazz Society board member.

The event should serve to enhance the local cultural and entertainment scene, Duarte said.

Limited tickets are available for Friday and Saturday nights, with reservations required.

Doors open and music starts at 6 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets cost $50 per night and can be reserved by calling (304) 808-3000.