The word jazz means many things to many people because it is so diverse. But when you say it in the summer in Grand Rapids, you are probably referring to the growing scene that was born out of the city's first outdoor jazz event started in 2012, the GRandJazzFest.
What started as a one-day event has quickly grown in popularity, becoming a two-day festival committed to inviting musicians from all over the state to perform.
On Saturday night, the festival welcomes Rick Braun – a star trumpeter and vocalist who has performed with Tina Turner, Sade, and Rod Stewart. Sunday's closing night performance will feature music by Detroit jazz flutist Alexander Zonjic. If you know jazz then you know the flute is rarely seen on the scene, so this closing act is sure to pack the faithful and the curious at Rosa Parks Circle.
To add to your jazz festival experience on Saturday night, the Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet will welcome artists to join them for their first after party being held at The B.O.B. beginning at approximately 9:30 p.m., immediately after Rick Braun's performance.
Other exciting additions will be Sunday's GRandJazzFest's noon debut of The Steven Van Loozenoord Band, an all-Michigan musician student act led by the namesake of the band. Band members are coming from all corners of the state, further fulfilling GRandJazzFest's President and Founder Audrey Sundstrom's vision for sharing our talented Michigan artists with our Grand Rapids audience.
New this year is a partnership with the Grand Rapids Art Museum, whose front terrace area will be open to the event sponsors and the public who wish to purchase a cocktail and enjoy the festival from this unique viewing space.