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Three-Day Jazz Festival Celebrates 100th Birthdays of Four Jazz Icons

Jazz lovers will be pleased to hear that the music of four legendary jazz performers will be celebrated at Pausa Art House starting today, Thursday, October 19. JazzBuffalo is presenting the live sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Mongo Santamaria.

“Each left an undeniable mark on American popular music history that still reverberates today. Not only in jazz but also in music universally.” – Jazz Buffalo

The three-day event is being referred to as The Jazz 100 Festival, and will feature three concerts, including “a special performance by the Grammy Nominee and Julliard international jazz artist from New York City, Cuban-born jazz pianist Elio Villafranca.”

“We are excited to present to the Buffalo community three days of celebrating four of the greatest jazz legends in the history of jazz. Culminating with a very special performance by the Grammy Nominee and international jazz sensation, Elio Villafranca who will be joining us from New York City.” says Executive Director of JazzBuffalo, Tony Zambito.

The three-day JAZZ 100 Festival and line-up includes:

Thursday, October 19 at 7 pm


On this first evening of the JAZZ 100 Festival, the concert remembers the great first lady of song, Ella Fitzgerald. The band will feature Mary McMahon on vocals, Dave Schiavone on sax, Rick Strauss on guitar, Bud Fadale on bass, and Abdul-Rahman Qadir on drums. Mary McMahon is one of the region’s top jazz vocalist. Having won previously the JazzBuffalo Poll for Best Female Jazz Vocals and appearing at MusicalFare Theatre Premier Cabaret Lounge. She will be accompanied by an all-star ensemble of Buffalo jazz instrumentalists. Hear the Mary McMahon Project perform jazz standards that were part of Ella Fitzgerald’s repertoire as the JAZZ 100 Festival is kicked-off. (Admission at the door is $10)

Friday, October 20 at 8 pm


The George Caldwell led ensemble, Star People, has performed the music of Miles Davis during the past two years under an exclusive project at Pausa Art House. For the JAZZ 100 Festival, the Grammy winner jazz pianist will lead an ensemble in a tribute to the jazz icon, Thelonious Monk. Star People has had such members as John Bacon and Bobby Militello perform under the direction of Caldwell spanning the catalog of Miles Davis. Caldwell, the former pianist for the late ‘90’s version of the Grammy winning Count Basie Band under the direction of Frank Foster, has become one of Buffalo’s most prominent jazz artists. (Admission at the door is $10)

Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 pm


In a special performance, JazzBuffalo and Pausa Art House presents one of the world’s most talented jazz pianists today. Steinway artist Elio Villafranca is at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable Cuban pianists, composers and bandleaders that for several years has been making major creative contributions to the international development of modern jazz. In the 2010 Grammy Awards he was nominated in Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year, for his performance, composition and coproduction in the album Things I Wanted To Do by Chembo Corniel. Wynton Marsalis calls Villafranca an “inspired and visionary musician”. Villafranca challenges the boundaries of Jazz by fusing it with the syncopated nature of Afro-Caribbean music.  Villafranca will be joined by special guest trumpeter Brownman Ali. Ali is a highly sought-after jazz trumpeter who has challenged the boundaries of jazz with the infusion of the modern sounds of hip hop. Becoming a principal touring lead trumpeter for Jay-Z and Missy Elliott. Equally adept at traditional jazz, Ali is the winner of the 2002 Canadian National Jazz Award for Jazz Composer of the Year, as well as, runner-up recipient for Jazz Trumpet Player of the Year.  Rounding out the ensemble will be former Ahmad Jamal bassist Sabu Adeyola and Cuban-born international master percussionist, Vladimir Espinosa who currently teaches at Hollins University in Virginia. A spectacular line-up celebrating the 100th Birthdays of Dizzy Gillespie and Mongo Santamaria. (Ticketed Admission is from $17.50 – $25)

The JAZZ 100 Festival and the concerts will take place at Pausa Art House located on 19 Wadsworth Street in Buffalo. For more information, visit or The Elio Villafranca concert will be a ticketed event with tickets available on

See Facebook event for details

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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