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2019 Long Beach Jazz Festival features free shows

The annual Long Beach Jazz Festival features a

The annual Long Beach Jazz Festival features a range of free-admission shows at the public library. Photo Credit: kdinanphotography.com/Karen Dinan

This week in Long Beach instead of sun and surf the focus will be on sound. The 16th annual Long Beach Jazz Festival returns to the city’s public library Sept. 19-22.

“The artists like to perform in a good vibes environment,” says festival chair Steve Adelson. “It’s very informal. This is not a business, it’s a jazz party.”

Here are six modern jazz musicians on this year’s festival roster:

BAKITHI KUMALO

INSTRUMENT Bass

BEST KNOWN FOR Playing on Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album

Growing up in South Africa, Kumalo built his bass playing on the a cappella singers in his country. His signature sound can be distinctly heard during his impromptu solo on Paul Simon’s hit, “You Can Call Me Al.”

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“It was my birthday and I asked Paul if I could do some bass slapping and he said, ‘Sure,’ ” says Kumalo, a former resident of Setauket. “The timing was perfect for that moment. It was best birthday present ever.”

SET TIME Friday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.

DEAN BROWN

INSTRUMENT Guitar

BEST KNOWN FOR Playing on The Brecker Brothers’ “Out of the Loop” album

Brown is a rhythmic style player, whose blues-influenced jazz will fill the room as he plays cuts off his solo albums.

“I’m always looking to do something creative and push the boundaries of expression,” says Brown, who lived in Long Beach for 25 years. “You have to make people feel something. There must be a human connection. I want the audience to have a transformative experience.”

SET TIME Friday, Sept. 20 at 8:30 p.m.

RACHEL Z

INSTRUMENT Piano

BEST KNOWN FOR Her solo debut, “Trust the Universe”

Rachel "Z" Nicolazzo returns with an acoustic set featuring Mino Cinélu on percussion, Jonathan Toscano on bass and Clarence Penn on drums playing material from her 1996 album, “Room of One’s Own.”

“The event has a real celebratory vibe. It encompasses the musician’s true spirit,” says Nicolazzo. “This is a festival by and for musicians, which is why everybody loves playing in Long Beach.”

SET TIME Saturday, Sept. 21 at 4:30 p.m.

MICHAEL MANRING

INSTRUMENT Bass

BEST KNOWN FOR His 1994 album, “Thonk”

In a surprising turn of events, Manring will playing solo, instrumental bass guitar — alone without any backing tracks.

“Playing solo offers some really interesting opportunities for improvisation, so I very much enjoy looking for ways to open up the music and take it in a unique direction,” says Manring. “I hope to show what a beautiful, poetic and intriguing instrument the bass guitar can be.”

SET TIME Sunday, Sept. 22 at 12:45 p.m.

FRANK VIGNOLA

INSTRUMENT Guitar

BEST KNOWN FOR His 2007 album, “Vignola Plays Gershwin”

Growing up in Islip, Vignola used to study music at Nassau BOCES in Syosset. Today he tours the world with Vinny Raniolo, who grew up in Franklin Square. Together they do swing guitar duets playing the music of Beethoven and Irving Berlin.

“We love great songs with good melodies and seeing what we can do with them,” says Vignola. “I try to stay respectful to the great music that’s been written. It’s about capturing the right tone.”

SET TIME Sunday, Sept. 22 at 3:30 p.m.

WILL LEE

INSTRUMENT Bass

BEST KNOWN FOR Playing in Beatles tribute The Fab Faux and with Paul Shaffer and The World’s Most Dangerous Band

For the last 54 years, Lee has played bass with everyone from Ace Frehley to Mariah Carey to Spyro Gyra to Chaka Khan as well as on TV with David Letterman. Currently, he’s jamming with the Oz Noy Boogaloo Band, which will be debuting some new material.

“I come from drums, so my bass approach is fairly groove-based,” says Lee. “I enjoy locking in with a drummer and trying the make the audience breathe together.”

SET TIME Sunday, Sept. 22 at 5 p.m.

16th ANNUAL LONG BEACH JAZZ FESTIVAL

WHEN|WHERE 7 p.m. Sept. 19-20 and noon Sept. 21-22, Long Beach Public Library, 111 West Park Avenue in Long Beach

INFO 516-432-7201, longbeachjazzfest.com

ADMISSION Free (first come, first served basis)

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