Annual Stroll, Concerts, Recitals, All Highlights of JazzFest Falmouth

COURTESY JAZZFEST FALMOUTH Denise Donatelli is the headliner for JazzFest Falmouth, September 26 to October 4.

Denise Donatelli is the headliner for JazzFest Falmouth, September 26 to October 4.

FALMOUTH – Thirteen musical groups will be giving free concerts on Main Street in Falmouth as part of the Jazz Stroll at this year’s JazzFest Falmouth.

The festival’s six events, including the Jazz Stroll, kick off September 26 and go to October 4.

Roger Day of ArtsFalmouth, the nonprofit that puts on the JazzFest, said, “We think of it as sort of a celebration of a really old-fashioned legitimate American style of music. You get everything from bossa nova to the blues. We try to incorporate as many parts of the town as we can and as many people as we can to just have fun and listen to music.”

ArtsFalmouth is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization whose members include arts and cultural groups in Falmouth. “We’re all sort of united together with an eye towards promoting arts and culture and trying to get more of it out in the public eye. Our general feeling is, you can’t have too much arts, so the more we do the better it is,” Day said.

JazzFest started in 2008 with an all-day concert at Bigelow Marine Park in Falmouth. The acts began at 10 in the morning with a high school jazz band, and through the course of the day, there were bands such as the Dizzy Gillespie All Stars. The evening ended with a performance by Esperanza Spaulding, who won a Grammy later that year.

The first year was a sold out success, but the good luck would not last.

“The next year, there was a monsoon,” said Judy Day, who runs ArtsFalmouth with her husband, Roger. “I now jokingly say that people who had free tickets didn’t come. Nobody came. It was impossible to get there. The roads were flooded.”

Because of that experience, the organizers decided to re-group.

“We had to backtrack and start all over with a new format,” Judy Day said.

In retooling the festival, one change is they moved the events indoors, in case of inclement weather.

For many people, the highlight of the festival is the free Jazz Stroll on Main Street, which this year takes place on Friday, October 2. It takes place rain or shine.

The music is in individual shops and restaurants all along Main Street and the Queen’s Buyway. It starts at 6 p.m. and runs to 10 p.m.

This year the stroll features a number of performers, both local and from off Cape. One of them, Roger Day said, is an 84-year-old who used to hang in the jazz clubs in the 40s and 50s, “so he knows his music,” Day said.

Stroll performers this year include, at the Queen’s Buyway: The Bliss Trio at Inn on the Square from 6 to 7:15; Livio Freitas & Friends at ByWay Barber from 6:15 to 7:30; Travis Bliss Trio at Vagabond Treasures from 6:30 to 7:45; and CJazz at Museums on the Green from 6:45 to 8 p.m.

And performers along Main Street are Hashem Assadullahi at Peg Noonan Park from 6:30 to 7:45; John Salerno at Captain’s Manor Inn from 7 to 8:15; The Classic Jazz Trio at the Pickle Jar Kitchen from 7:15 to 8:30; The Flip Side at Puritan Cape Cod 7:30 to 8:45; Christian Lyman Trio at Black Dog General Store from 7:45 to 9; Goodis & Glenn at Headlines from 8 to 9:15; The Russ Wilcox Group at Treasure Chest from 8:15 to 9:30; Jeremy Bernstein Quartet at Cape Gallery Framers from 8:30 to 9:45; and Charlie Jamieson Trio with Cerise at Peg Noonan Park from 8:30 to 9:45 p.m.

After the stroll, the musicians will head to Jacks, a restaurant on Gifford Street, for a jam session.

The headliner for JazzFest Falmouth this year, is Denise Donatelli, a three-time Grammy nominee, who sings the American Songbook. “She has been on our short list for the past three or four years,” Roger Day said.

Donatelli, who has just released a new CD, will perform at a concert on Saturday, October 3, at Highfield Theater. Tickets are $35 in advance and $30 at the door.

The headliner concert at JazzFest always sells out and this year will be no exception, the Days predict. Tickets are available in advance online at or the Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee or Eight Cousins bookshop in Falmouth or Under The Sun in Woods Hole.

Among the other events at JazzFest this year is a recital and lecture on Louis Armstrong by Robert Wyatt. The event takes place Saturday, September 26 from 10 a.m. to noon at Highfield Hall.

Judy Day said, Wyatt’s programs are always entertaining. “He’s a true showman. It’s marvelous,” she said.

On Sunday, September 27, at 4 p.m., NPR Jazz Host Jon Weber will perform a recital.

Roger Day said Weber’s session promises to be highly enjoyable for jazz fans. “He’ll say something about some jazz artist from 1922 and put his hands on the keyboard and—boom– there it is. His understanding of jazz is encyclopedic,” he said.

On Wednesday, September 30, Toni Lynn Washington will perform with the Frank Wilkins Quartet at Woods Hole Community Hall. Judy Day said the evening is sure to get people up and dancing.

Listen below to hear more from Roger and Judy Day of ArtsFalmouth about the upcoming JazzFest Falmouth.

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