The Rapidian

New GRandJazzfest set for August 18

The inaugural jazz festival will take place at Rosa Parks Circle. This all-day, free event includes smooth genre artists Tim Bowman and Phil Denny.
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Mayor Heartwell introducing GRandJazzFest

Mayor Heartwell introducing GRandJazzFest /Ken Ford

"I'm proud to announce that we now have GRandJazzfest," said Mayor Heartwell just after 12 p.m. Tuesday. This free, one-day event will start at noon on August 18 at Rosa Parks Circle and will feature Tim Bowman and Phil Denny in addition to the other four musical acts.

Tim Bowman, a jazz guitarist from Detroit, will headline this year's event. Bowman's song "Sweet Sundays" reached number one on the Billboards under the jazz category, and his 2010 album "The Collection" raised critical acclaim and brought him increased commercial success.

Jazz saxophonist and Lansing native Phil Denny plans to release his new album "Crossover" in the summer of 2012, perhaps just in time for this year's GRandJazzfest. Trippin N Rhythm Records selected him to perform his own sixty-minute show at the Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival this past February.

Organizer and GRandjazzfest Chair Audrey Sundstrom said, "[due to its walkable distance] the event will help support local businesses." She also added that the festival will include a variety of jazz, such as Latin, big band, and contemporary. The specific artists will be announced at a later date.

West Michigan Jazz Society and presenting sponsor DTE Energy help bring this first-time event to Rosa Parks Circle. There will also be food and merchandise vendors, and GRandJazzfest encourages audiences to visit local bars and restaurants while at this day-long event.

Despite the afternoon's snowy weather, Community Affairs Director of DTE Engergy Roger Royer said, "as things heat up here in Grand Rapids, we're going to bring in some cool jazz."

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