Music & Events

August 1 & 2, Noon until 10 p.m. Frontier Park, Erie PA

Erie Art Museum Blues & JazzFestival 2015
Free. Rain or Shine.

23rd Annual Erie Art Museum Blues & Jazz Festival

It’s always one giant party when 20,000 of your closest friends and family come together to hear the best blues and jazz showcase in the region! We won’t disappoint when it comes to the amazing lineup of regional favorites and national stars on tap.

   12 noon -- M4 and the Rock School
   2 p.m. -- The Breeze Band
   4 p.m. -- Travis "Moonchild" Haddix
   6 p.m. -- Grady Champion
   8 p.m. -- Rev. John Wilkins

   12 noon -- The Four Grads
   2 p.m. -- The Monk's Brew
   4 p.m. -- One World Tribe
   6 p.m. -- United Trumpet Summit, with Eddie Henderson, Russell Gunn & Rayce Biggs
   8 p.m. -- No BS! Brass Band

Special Features:

  • NoBS! Brass Band workshop led by trombonist Byron Hooten: "Yoga for Musicians" at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, near the LEAF layyranth.
  • "Weaving to the Beat" 1:30 - 8 p.m., Sat. & Sun.  Look for the Erie Art Museum booth.
  • Goose Island Beer Garden -- but a beer and support the Festival!  All proceeds go to the Erie Art Museum Blues & Jazz Festival.

For more information about the Erie Art Museum's Blues & Jazz Festival go to:


M=4Regional Bands:

Noon -- M4.  Erie kids converge on World of Music to learn teamwork and improve their musical skills in ensemble playing in a program initiated by rocker Ryan Kassiak.  Three of these bands, including the rock band M4, appear onstage.  M4 members are Ben Semple, Matthew Yost, Bo Root, Chad Tucker, Charlie Root and singer Audra Miller.

The Breeze Band2:00 p.m.  The Breeze Band.   Classic R&B, soul, blues, rock and smooth jazz shape the repertoire of this great local ensemble.  Members include Maurice "Mo" Troop, Amber Cook, Kenny Hollis, Anoia Hobson, Pamela Davis, Kevin Sapper, Clarence Jennings, Jr. and Barry King.


Travis 4:00  Travis "Moonchild" Haddix.   Growing up in Mississippi, Haddix was inspired by the late blues legend B.B. King to take up the guitar and the blues.  Songwriter and recording artist (20 albums), as well as busy performer, Haddix shares his Memphis style blues with fans around the world, and returns for a repeat performance at the Erie Art Museum Blues & Jazz Festival.

Grady Champion6:00 p.m.  Grady Champion.   "A torch carrier for authentic Mississippi blues," Champion has been on the circuit for nearly 20 years.  Recipient of many awards including the 2010 International Blues Challenge, he will bring his own young backup band to the Erie stage.

Rev. John Wilkins8:00 p.m.   Rev. John Wilkins

Born in Memphis, TN, John Wilkins is the son of venerated blues and gospel singer Robert Wilkins, a pioneering artist in the 1930's whose original song "Prodigal Son" became a classic and was later recorded by the Rolling Stones.  When young John Wilkins picked up the guitar, he also picked up his father's country blues and gospel styles.

John began playing publicly in both church and clubs in the 1960's, and has been pursuing his career as a blues man since, carrying on the family tradition with his own unique sound and style.


Regional Bands

The Four GradsNoon   The Four Grads.  Celebrating the concept and jazz vocal harmonies of the Four Freshmen, this local group brings both instrumental and close vocal harmonies to their renditions of jazz and pop standards.  Instigator, guitarist and vocalist Carl Hultman, singer-percussionist (including the occasional banjo break) Barb Schwartz, master saxophonist and singer Stan Bialomizy and singer & bassist Bob Seeman compose this group

The Monk's Brew2:00 p.m.  The Monk's Brew.   Germinating in the halls of Mercyhurst University's jazz program, this group of young musicians is dedicated to the proposition that  jazz can be listenable, fund, and...yes, even popular in today's era of eclectic music. Members are Dillon Shidemantle - trumpet & vocals, Bobby Lucas - keyboards, Alex McLaughlin - bass and Michael Hibbler II - drums.

One World Tribe4:00 p.m.   One World Tribe.   One of the region's premier music groups, One World Tribe "celebrates the ties that bind humanity and rails against the forces that hold it down" (Erie Times-News).  World music combining Afro-beat, funk, Latin and more with music, dance and song.  An international cast of performers.


Dr. Eddie Henderson6:00 p.m.   Dr. Eddie Henderson's Trumpet Summit with Leon Jordan and Russell Gunn

In addition to being a hard bop mainstay since the 1970's, Henderson is a "real" doctor, earning his MD from Howard University Medical School in 1966, and practicing medicine actively for periods since that time.

Like Rev. Wilkins, Henderson also had a life in music.  His mother was a dancer in the original Cotton Club.  He had an early trumpet lesson from Louis Armstrong.  Miles Davis was a family friend.  Henderson completed his formal music education at the San Francisco Conservatory of music, after his family had moved too the west coast.  He then turned toward medicine, earned his M.D. and practiced medicine in an area clinic.

But his heart was in music.  Hi music career began to flourish with a three year gig with Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi band (1970-73), followed by stints with Pharoah Sanders, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and others.  He traveled and worked in England and Europe with fusion bands, then reunited to the U.S. and hard bop in the 1990's, still practicing as an MD part time.

Henderson has recorded extensively, with nine albums as a leader since 2000, most recently "Together" (2015), and many others as a sideman.  He is a member of the Julliard faculty since 2007, and is an Assistant Professor at Oberlin.

No BS! Beass Band8:00 p.m.   No BS! Brass Band brings the traditional New Orleans brass band into multi-generational territory, combining the sounds of James Brown, John Coltrane, Michael Jackson and Led Zepplin (among others) within the spirit of New Orleans.  Add funk, danceability, garage and much more.

Performances at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and NPR, along with many other venues, attest to the band's glow.

Personnel include Reggie Pace, Bryan Moten, John Hulley - trombones, Dillard Watt - bass trombone; Sam Koff, Marcus Tenny, Taylor Barnett, Rob Quallich - trumpets, David Hood - saxophone; Stefan Demetriadis - tuba; Lance Koehler - drums.

Plan to catch the blues set Saturday, August 1 and the jazz showcase Sunday, August 2, both from noon-10 p.m., rain or shine. Enjoy tasty food from local vendors.

June 27, 2015