More live music on tap in August in Huntington and Northampton

  • Keyboardist and composer Khalif Neville brings his jazz, funk and R&B trio to Huntington’s North Hall Festival, on the town green this summer, on Aug. 1. PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTH HALL ARTS FESTIVAL

Staff Writer
Published: 7/26/2021 9:49:05 AM

NORTHAMPTON – Even as concerns rise about a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, communities are trying to find ways to bring people together for something that’s been largely missing for over a year: live music.

In both Northampton and Huntington, outdoor music series are planned for August and September, from “pop-up” jazz shows outside a bakery in Northampton to a range of styles — jazz, Celtic, country — on the town green in Huntington.

In the latter community, the North Hall Arts Festival, which has staged concerts and other events at Huntington’s historic North Hall for years, has moved events for 2021 to the town green, at 24 Russell Road by the intersection of routes 20 and 112.

Peri Sossaman, co-president of the North Hall Association, said because of the pandemic and the “up and down” year it’s spawned in terms of restrictions on public gatherings, it made sense to move this year’s shows outside — though they will be able to move indoors to nearby Stanton Hall in case of bad weather.

The North Hall Festival kicks off Sunday, Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. with the Khalif Neville Trio, led by keyboardist and composer Khalif Neville, the older son of the late saxophonist Charles Neville, the former Huntington resident. Joined by his brother, drummer Talyn Neville, and guitarist Jason Szafranski, Khalif Neville leads a group that blends traditional jazz forms with elements of funk, R&B and hip-hop.

The Huntington series continues Aug. 15 with the Wild Thyme Band, which plays Celtic folk music drawn from Irish, Scottish, and French Celtic traditions. Aug. 29 offers the vintage tunes of the Old Country Road Band, and traditional jazz and swing will be on tap Sept. 12 when the Bob Sparkman Trio — Bob Sparkman on clarinet, Jerry Noble on piano, Kara Noble on bass — takes the stage.

The series concludes Sept. 19 with a performance by José González & Criollo Clásico, which plays a mix of classical, folk, and contemporary Latin rhythms.

All the shows are free and will last about an hour. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or a blanket. More information on the shows, as well as links to virtual programming, is available at northhallhuntington.org.

Northampton

In Northampton, Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares, the long-running program in which jazz lovers invest money up front to help produce concerts, will host four free shows on the lawn in front of Hungry Ghost Bakery, at 62 State Street close to downtown, on consecutive Thursdays, from 5-8 p.m., beginning Aug. 12.

First up is the Carl Clements Trio, featuring Carl Clements on saxophone, Fumi Tomita on bass, and Jen Allen on piano. On Aug. 19, Taylor Rose Mickens, an actor and singer who has studied at UMass Amherst, brings her trio — Ben Powell on bass and guitar, Zandra Azoulay on drums — to the Hungry Ghost.

The series continues Aug. 26 with Davy Lazar’s “Hematorsion,” which includes Lazar, a composer, on trumpet and electronics, Anna Webber on tenor sax and flute, and Weston Olencki on modular synthesizer. The final show, Sept. 2, features Arctic Moth, made up of Wayne Smith (cello) and Lysha Smith (electronics).

The Hungry Ghost will have homemade pizza for sale at the shows.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.


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