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Harbor Jazz Festival brings some cool for the summer

Tom Manuel, founder and president of The Jazz

Tom Manuel, founder and president of The Jazz Loft in Stony Brook, will also be performing at the Harbor Jazz Festival running Aug. 15-19. Credit: Peter Coco

Come on down and paint the town at the fourth annual Harbor Jazz Festival presented by The Jazz Loft in Stony Brook from Wednesday to Sunday. The five-day event will feature full double-set performances from a dozen traditional jazz duos, trios and quartets.

“Jazz is an American-born art form. It’s our soundtrack,” says Tom Manuel, founder and president of The Jazz Loft. “The beautiful thing about the genre is that it really brings people together.”

Here are six acts that are on the bill for the festival:


Drummer Dan Pugach likes his jazz mixed with hints of other styles.

“We play an interesting hybrid between big band jazz with groovy Brazilian folk and a bit of pop,” says Pugach, who comes from Israel. “There are a lot of solos and interaction that’s made up in the moment.”

The nine-piece band will play a set from the new album, “Plus One,” featuring Pugach’s wife, Nicole Zuraitis, on vocals.

“We fight on stage like a married couple,” says Pugach. “I’ll talk and she’ll cut me off with funny banter.”

PERFORMING Thursday at 7 p.m.


The Jazz Journalists Association voted drummer Matt Wilson Musician of the Year and awarded his 2017 album, “Honey and Salt: Music Inspired by the Poetry of Carl Sandburg” Record of the Year at its 22nd annual Jazz Awards in June.

The Baldwin resident will be performing originals and covers with saxophonist Jeff Lederer and bassist Chris Lightcap.

“Jazz is all about collective creativity,” Wilson says. “I’m drawn to the rhythm. I like music that has areas where it can open up and not always be the same.”

PERFORMING Friday at 7 p.m.


Known as one of the top jazz vibraphonists of the past half-century, Warren Chiasson goes for a blend of classical composition and modern jazz.

“I have my own distinctive melodic sound,” Chiasson says. “I like to bring out the true nature of the standard acoustic vibraphone and really make it sing.”

He'll play his widely known originals, “Ultra Marine,” “Bedouin” and “September,” plus arrangements of American standards.

PERFORMING Saturday at 1:30 p.m.


Growing up in Australia, vocalist-bassist Nicki Parrott listened to the likes of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Today she plays tunes from the American Songbook with a twist.

“I was drawn to the freedom and expression of jazz as well as the feel and the sound,” Parrott says. “I love that you can take any tune and turn it into a jazz arrangement.”

Parrott has become a Jazz Loft favorite who will be making her third appearance before touring Europe in September, Canada in October and Japan in November.

PERFORMING Saturday at 4 p.m.


In 2016, pianist Bill Charlap won a Grammy for “The Silver Lining — The Songs of Jerome Kern” album, where he partnered with Tony Bennett. At the Harbor Jazz Festival, he will pair up with cornet player Warren Vaché.

“Our chemistry is absolutely natural. It was instant from the first time we played together and it has only grown,” Charlap says. “We both know hundreds of songs off the top of our heads and we are improvisers, therefore we like to choose things on the fly.”

PERFORMING Saturday at 9 p.m.


For pianist Marc Devine, it’s all about keeping the atmosphere light and energetic while delivering bebop and swing to the audience.

“The crowd’s energy is food for musicians,” Devine says. “When we can feel the energy in a room, it spurs us on to give a little more.”

With drummer Jackie Williams and bassist Hide Tanaka by his side, Devine will perform songs from his latest album, “Inspiration,” and will feature Manuel guesting on trumpet.

PERFORMING Sunday at noon



WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday (across the street on the Village Green) and noon Sunday, The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook

INFO 631-751-1895,

ADMISSION $30 individual show ($25 seniors, $20 students), $75 opening night VIP show and reception Wednesday, $250 full festival pass (Thursday-Sunday; $205 seniors $180 students), $135 Saturday day pass ($110 seniors, $85 students), $50 Sunday day pass ($40 seniors, $30 students), 

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