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The Colored Musicians Club Jazz Festival

Buffalo is getting a lot jazzier these days. With a new jazz concert series at the Central Terminal, a couple of jazz festivals, jazz clubs on the rise, and local jazz musicians being given the respect that they are due, this city is once again getting back to its jazz roots.

Each year, the Colored Musicians Club holds a jazz festival that features the best jazz artists in the region. The festival is held in and around the club’s venue – 145 Broadway. In 2016, the festival is being renamed to reflect the roots of the jazz in Buffalo. The Colored Musicians Club Jazz Festival (formerly called the Queen City Jazz Festival) showcases Buffalo in an impressive light, by keeping the jazz torch held high.

This is the 99th year of the festival, which means that there will be plenty of new highlights to look forward to. The festival is going to be bigger and better than ever. 

July 29 and 30, 2016 highlights include:

  • New—Friday and Saturday concerts added
  • New—National headliner performances added (James Brandon Lewis – Buffalo-born – and Kamal Abdul-Alim)
  • New—Jazz Coachella Happy Hour added, with prizes awarded
  • New—Name changed to CMC Jazz Festival (formerly Queen City Jazz Festival)
  • Festival celebrates 99 years, (2017 Centennial)

To see this year’s line-up of musicians, click here.

For discounted advance tickets for evening concerts, click here. Saturday daytime performances are free.

This year’s headliner is James Brandon Lewis – Okeh recording artist

Walter Kemp 3oh! – BluJazz recording artist

Kamal Abdul-Alim

Kenny Hawkins All Star Band

  • Kicks off on Friday, July 29th at 5:00 pm with a Coachella-themed, “high-style” fashion-forward happy hour event
  • The evening continues with Buffalo-born tenor Saxophone titan James Brandon Lewis. Hailed by Ebony Magazine as one of “7 Young Players to Watch,” Lewis performs 7pm and 9pm shows
  • On Saturday, the festival continues to showcase the talents of more than 100 Western New York jazz musicians, many of whom boast national and even international reputations
  • All outside performances, and Saturday’s indoor performances from noon until 6 pm are free of charge

The complete CMC Jazz Fest Artist Roster:

Friday July 29th, 2016 Historic Colored Musicians Club stage, Inside (Passes or Tickets only)

5:30pm – Walter Kemp 3oh! (Jazz Coachella Happy Hour)

7:00pm – James Brandon Lewis Trio (1st Show)

9:00pm – James Brandon Lewis Trio (2nd Show)

Saturday, July 30th, 2016, Main Festival Stage OUTSIDE (free of charge)

12 pm – George Scott Big Band

1 pm – Taylor Brown Quartet

2 pm – Janice Mitchell and the Jim Beishline Trio

3 pm – Toney Rhodes

4 pm – Houston Gardwell Collective

5 pm – John Troy Trio

6 pm – Brotha Perry Trio – Lamont

7 pm – Greg Millar Quartet

Saturday, July 30th, 2016, Historic Colored Musicians Club stage, Inside (free of charge)

12 pm – Jazz Wizz – Robert Merlin Davis

1 pm – Rick Strauss and ThreeO

2 pm – Dark Matter

3 pm – Carrol Mclaughlin Quartet

4 pm – Why Not? Kevin Doyle

5 pm – Alex McArthur Quintet

Saturday, July 30th, 2016, Historic Colored Musicians Club stage, Inside (Passes or Tickets only)

7:00pm – Kamal Abdul-Alim Quartet

9:00pm – Kenny Hawkins & the Allstar Band

Two additional Saturday evening concerts have been added to the expanded festival this year:

7 pm recording artist Kamal Abdul-Alim, accompanied by George Caldwell, Sabu Adeyola, and Abdul Rahman.

9 pm Kenny Hawkins All Star Band, with Rodney Appleby, Carl Johnson and Wade Hawkins.

Festival sponsors are M&T Bank, LPCiminelli, Lafayette Hotel, Statler City, Piano&Organ Center, Try-it Distributors and Apples Haberdashery.

The historic Colored Musicians Club Museum will be open for visitors on Saturday from 11 am until 6 pm. Souvenir festival posters and tee shirts are available for purchase.

More details and advanced festival passes for paid performances are at

The festival will be broadcast live – click here during the scheduled dates and times

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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