Summer Jazz Series Begins

Summer Jazz Series Begins
Photo Courtesy of Norm Synder Claudia Burson will be performing this weekend inside Crisp Studios in Fayetteville alongside a few of her favorite jazz musicians. The concert will be recorded in-studio.

Photo Courtesy of Norm Synder
Claudia Burson will be performing this weekend inside Crisp Studios in Fayetteville alongside a few of her favorite jazz musicians. The concert will be recorded in-studio.

There’s a plethora of unique opportunities to catch some of Northwest Arkansas’ finest jazz musicians performing this summer.

The 18th annual KUAF Summer Jazz Concert Series is set to kick off as early as this weekend. Organized by the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society, the organization works to support jazz musicians and live jazz performances in the area.

“We’ve built a scene here, it’s gotten better and better,” said Robert Ginsberg, executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society. “They’re struggling to support this music in the cities. We have some great jazz musicians and concert series. We have a loyal cadre of people who have been supporting the jazz society for 26 years.”

With the Walton Arts Center closed for construction, the Jazz Society decided to make lemonade with the lemons of the situation and turned to a few unconventional venues to host concerts.

Composer’s Showcase: A Tribute to Claudia Burson

Saturday, July 23, 2016 – two shows – 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Crisp Studio, 2737 N Drake St., Fayetteville, AR 72703


The first of the summer concert series will provide for an experience that’s somewhere between a live concert and sitting in on a studio recording, as the concert will be live from Crisp Studios.

The concert will be honoring renown jazz pianist Claudia Burson, who’s was born and raised in Fayetteville. Burson will perform solos, duos, trios and quartet arrangements of original and favorite compositions with her long-time trio mates plus some of her favorite musicians from the region. The original trio features Steve Wilkes on drums and Drew Packard on bass. Joining the trio will be Ben Harris on guitar, Austin Farnam on saxophone, and Matt Beach on trombone.

“She’s so soulful,” Ginsberg said. “She swings her ass off, it’s amazing. Everybody that plays this music wants to play with Claudia. Her style is from the heart, and she plays so open I think it inspires other musicians.”

Crisp Studios is one of the biggest professional studios in town, and about 60 seats are available for each show in studio. Both shows will be recorded live in studio, and the recording will be available for purchase after post-production.

ArtInfusion : The Fayetteville Jazz Collective Nonet

Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016 7:00 p.m.

Crystal Bridges Great Hall, 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712


Essentially the all-star group of Northwest Arkansas jazz musicians, the nine-piece “little big band” Fayetteville Jazz Collective will be playing a free show at Crystal Bridges Aug. 17. The collective plays original material arranged by local Rick Salonen as well as some large ensemble tunes from the greats — Count Basie, Duke Ellington and others.

The nonet will feature performances from Rick Salonen, Austin Farnam, Matt Beach, Chase Cavalier, Claudia Burson, Ben Harris, Drew Packard, Darren Novotny, Fernando Valencia, Steve Wilkes and Matt Beach.

For more information call 479-225-2306.

Aaron Goldberg / Ali Amr Duo

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.

The Jones Center Performance Hall,922 E Emma Ave, Springdale, AR 72764

Another rare opportunity for Northwest Arkansas comes from Jewish jazz pianist Aaron Goldberg from Boston and Ali Amr, a west bank Palestinian. The two play as a duo, Goldberg on piano and Amr on the qanun — which is an Eastern instrument that sounds like a cross between a mandolin and a harp.

Even in Boston, the two rarely play together, but because Goldberg is a friend of Ginsberg, he was able to recruit the two to travel to Fayetteville to perform as well as speak on the issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where their music seeks empathy between the two groups.

“These guys are amazingly articulate, they’re both brilliant, orators as well as musicians,” Ginsberg said. “They’re going to talk about what this music means to the world right now and how important it is, being another channel of communication where traditional channels aren’t working.”

In addition to their concert they will appear the following evening, Monday Sept. 26 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for a “creative conversation” and discuss how music can create cultural bridges and understanding where politics fail.

Categories: Music