artists & schedule

One of the great characteristics of jazz music is its ability to appeal to people of all ages, races and diverse, ethnic backgrounds. This year’s festival lineup is intended to reflect the cornucopia of colors, textures and flavors that comprise the genre. This year’s HCJ&A Festival kickoff begins with a great big bang on Friday evening like nothing you’ve ever seen or heard. Come prepared to party with our special “Tribute to Treme and all that’s New Orleans! It will be foot stompin’, hand clappin’ and street dancing in the true Mardi Gras tradition. This year’s performers include:

Friday, July 8th
“The Sounds N’ Soul of N’Orleans” hosted by Wendell Pierce, star of the hit HBO series, “Treme”.

Wendell Pierce - No one represents N’Orleans and the Treme sound better than your special host for this very special kickoff of the Hampden Bank Hoop City Jazz & Art Festival than Wendell Pierce. Pierce was born in New Orleans and raised in a neighborhood next to Lake Pontchartrain. His mother was a teacher and his father, a WWII veteran, worked as a maintenance engineer. He attended the New Orleans Centre for Creative Arts high school where he graduated as a Presidential Scholar. Pierce attended the Juilliard School and began appearing in small film roles by 1985. He starred in all five seasons of the HBO drama series, “The Wire” as Detective Bunk Moreland. He was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Support Actor in a Drama Series for the role in 2007. Prior to The Wire, he is also recognized from his role in “Waiting to Exhale”, and most recently as Antoine Batiste, a smooth-talking trombonist in the HBO smash hit series, Treme.

Friday, July 8th
6:30 PM -- Glen David Andrews

Glen David Andrews - represents an “infusion” of the Treme sound. Growing up in the historic this historic section of the New Orleans, Andrews was immersed in the thick of New Orleans culture from the get go. Since he began playing his instrument at age 13, Glen David has performed with almost every brass band in the city. His boisterous voice and warm trombone style are fixtures on the streets, and he adds his own flavor to whatever band he is supporting that day and always makes it sound better. His ability to add new songs to the brass band repertoire is matchless for a performer so young. "He is one of the most amazing vocalists alive today -- his billowing baritone is like a horn instrument itself -- and he is an incredible entertainer.


Friday, July 8th
8:30 PM -- The Soul Rebels

Whether you want to get a party, or an entire jazz festival started there’s no better way than with the sounds of the Soul Rebels Brass Band! Formed when Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss, originally members of New Orleans’ iconic Dejean’s Young Olympia Brass Band, The Soul Rebels decided they wanted to play the new, exciting music they were hearing on the radio while respecting the tradition they loved. “We wanted to make our own sound without disrespecting the brass tradition,” LeBlanc recalls, “so we knew we had to break away.” Break away they did and now averaging around 250 shows per year, the Soul Rebels have brought the party to stages as far away as South Africa and Europe, playing some of the world’s best-known music events, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Jazz Ascona, Antibes Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Fest, Bonnaroo Music Festival and, of course, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Saturday, July 9th
2:30 PM -- Marcus Anderson

Capital Jazz Fest Challenge winner, Marcus Anderson electrifies stages with an unmatchable energy and an intoxicating sound that stretches the definition of jazz. The multi-talented saxophonist, flautist and vocalist from Durham, NC recently released his second solo CD, From The Heart, a much anticipated follow up to My Turn -his stellar debut project. "I put all of my heart and soul into my playing, and that's where music should come from!" says Anderson.


Saturday, July 9th
4:00 PM -- Down to the Bone

Hailed as the “Kings of UK Jazz Groove”, Down To The Bone's groove gets harder, funkier and juicier. Their music encompasses all that is funky, soulful and jazzy. As founder and producer of the band, Stuart Wade states that 'it's all about the groove.... that is what gets people dancing, their toes tapping and their heads nodding.' An avid music collector, Wade has been a long time admirer of musicians' such as Ramsey Lewis, Roy Ayers and Lonnie Liston Smith. The retro-vibe that pays homage to these musical greats and epitomizes the Down To The Bone sound. While Wade is not a conventional musician, he has a team of band members who help him to expand his ideas and melodies: together, they lay down chords and create rhythms. Then he uses a selection of live instrument recordings and samples from his library, and with the help of an engineer, edits and mixes the various parts. With the addition of guest vocalists and reputed musicians here and there, he is able to create some truly tasty tracks.

Saturday, July 9th
6:00 PM --Vincent Ingala

Vincent Ingala has accomplished much in his 17 years. His talent and passion for music have been evident since he was a toddler and he continues to pursue his musical goals with determination and zeal. His dream is to become a smooth jazz artist.
Vincent received his first drum set when he was four years old. Since then, he has become a multi instrumentalist, excelling on the saxophone, guitar drums, keyboard and vocals. He also composes and records his original music, playing all of the instruments himself. His debut CD, “North End Soul”, which he produced himself, contains six of his original compositions. Among some of his more noteworthy accomplishments, Vincent was the recipient of a scholarship to the Eastman School of Music, Summer Jazz Program in Rochester, NY. He also won the 1st place Jazz Award in the Southern Regional High School Division. One of his prouder moments came when he was asked to open for Smooth Jazz superstar Dave Koz.


Saturday, July 9th
8:00 PM -- Gerald Albright

Beginning in the late '80s, saxophone master Gerald Albright recorded numerous successful solo albums for Atlantic when he wasn't busy assisting an impressive, and mammoth, roster of popular R&B artists. Born in South Central Los Angeles, the saxophonist idolized James Brown and took much influence from Maceo Parker and Cannonball Adderley. He first made a name for himself within the music industry during the 1980s, when he became a highly requested session musician. His revered reputation resulted in a solo contract with Altantic Records. His first album for the label, Just Between Us, introduced him to the masses in 1987, and numerous albums resulted, including a best-of collection in 2001.His second GRP album, Kickin' It Up, followed in 2004. Two years later he appeared on Peak Records, which released New Beginnings. In 2010 his album Pushing the Envelope landed on the Heads Up label. Some of the more well-known artists Albright assisted during his career include Anita Baker, Quincy Jones, the Temptations, Phil Collins, and Whitney Houston.


Sunday, July 10th
2:00 PM -- The Eric Bascom Quintet featuring Sam & Tess Plotkin

A smooth jazz ensemble at its best led buy the magical strings of Eric Bascom. In 1990, Eric formed a quartet that featured saxophonist Marc Weismann (saxophone) and began playing gigs in the Springfield area. Together with Ed Brainerd and Genevieve Rose, Eric continues to play in the greater New England area and has been the leader of the "house band" for all of the Induction Ceremonies at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Today, the group continues to play for private parties, clubs and musical venues throughout Greater Springfield and the New England area.


Sunday, July 10th
3:30 PM -- Kendrick Oliver & the New Life Orchestra featuring Nicole Nelson

Under the musical direction of 33-year old Conductor, Arranger and Tubist Kendrick Oliver, this youthful, vibrant and energetic orchestra has been captivating audiences, selling out concerts, and turning heads throughout the jazz scene since its inception in 1995 while Oliver was a student at Berklee College of Music. The group earned instant respect throughout the New England Jazz community when well-known musicians from around the country flocked to join the band for jam sessions and concert appearances. A host of high-profile appearances including: Boston Beantown Jazz Festival, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Tanglewood Jazz Festival, and New Life’s launch toward national stardom in opening JVC’s prestigious Newport Jazz Festival.

Nicole Nelson. "Blending deep rooted blues, soul, folk, and rock Nicole conjures old souls with her brand new classic sound.


Sunday, July 10th
5:00 PM --Samirah Evans & Her Handsome Devils

In New Orleans, a city known worldwide for its music, Samirah was one of its most popular jazz & blues vocalists. She first performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1990, and became a regular fixture as either a leader or featured vocalist for fourteen consecutive years. She has toured Europe, Asia, and both North and South America as a headliner, and shared stages with a multitude of legendary artists from B.B. King and James Brown, to New Orleans own Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas. Samirah's live performance repertoire runs the gamut from raunchy blues to jazz smooth as silk. She has often been compared to Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, and Etta James. Like many jazz and blues artists, Samirah dedicates time to perpetuating indigenous American music. She was a long time participant in the Blues Schoolhouse program sponsored by the International House of Blues Foundation. She also served as a volunteer show host on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage radio station, WWOZ, for over ten years.


Sunday, July 10th
6:30 PM -- Poncho Sanchez

The GRAMMY Award winner (in the Latin Jazz category) and 2006 Percussionist of the Year (Downbeat readers' poll) will be appearing with his internationally renowned 8-piece Latin jazz band. For almost two decades as leader of one of the world's most celebrated Latin jazz bands Poncho Sanchez has been an unswervingly-passionate exponent of the bedrock style of Afro-Cuban Latin jazz pioneered half a century ago by such legendary musicians as Machito, Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie. The bearded, jovial conguero and the members of his octet are today virtual living symbols of the best of the modern jazz and tropical Latin traditions. Poncho and his men are undisputed kings of a vibrant hybrid that has become one of the most dynamic and enduringly popular styles of the century. Today, Sanchez’s life’s story has become a well-known part of Latin jazz lore. He was born in Texas on October 30, 1951 into a large Mexican-American family (rumor has it that his 13-year old mother fled to the U.S. after hiding under the bed as revolutionary Pancho Villa stormed her village), but grew up in the Los Angeles area, where he was weaned on a broad range of Latin and non-Latin popular music. Inspired by the conga playing of Cuban great Mongo Santamaria, he honed his skills as a percussionist and broke into the limelight at the age of 23 when he joined vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s famed Latin jazz ensemble in 1975. Poncho performed with him until Tjader’s untimely death in 1982. A year later, he began his unprecedented 23-year relationship with Concord Records, which has produced two dozen recordings, a GRAMMY® Award and several GRAMMY nominations.

*All times and artists subject to change.