Jazz event has Wesleyan presence

Students, graduates and faculty of the West Virginia Wesleyan College jazz studies programs will entertain hundreds of jazz fans the weekend of June 21-22 as the West Virginia Jazz Society kicks off its “Summer Jazz 2013” program.

Dr. James Moore, director of the WVWC jazz department, is working with WVJS organizers to feature recent Wesleyan grads, Kyle Andrews and Adam Loudin, and WVWC faculty, Curtis Johnson and Jeff Bush, in Clarksburg’s “Uptown Jazz Stroll” June 21, and in a special performance of the James Moore Sextet for the Grand Opening of Weston’s Riverside Music Hall June 22.

The “Stroll” features four bands playing simultaneously in four venues with show times of 6 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. There is no cover charge for the performances, and additional businesses are also participating with live jazz shows.

In a performance in Clarksburg’s Waldomore Mansion, Loudin will play trumpet and Andrews will play drums and join bassist, Steve Hefner in support of Alton Merrell, a Pittsburgh-based jazz and gospel pianist. Merrell will perform on a vintage Steinway Concert Grand piano maintained by the Clarksburg Harrrison Cultural Foundation.

In the Fifth Floor, Wesleyan faculty member and tenor saxophonist, Curtis Johnson, will headline the show playing with Seth Maynard on vocals and guitar, Mark Cappellini on drums and Greg Thurman on bass.

In PJ Kellys, a music bar and restaurant, trombonist Jeff Bush will be backed up by pianist, Davin Seamon, with George Heid on drums and Anton DeFade on bass. Bush is on the faculty of West Virginia Wesleyan and Youngstown State.

Moore’s “Stroll” performance is set for The Starving Artist, an eclectic artists’ cooperative and gallery on the second floor of a former clothing retailer, and the fourth stop on the “Stroll.” The Wesleyan Student Jazz Ensemble will join Moore for the performance. Starving Artists owners plan a varied and interesting experience for those who stop in for the jazz music.

But the involvement of Wesleyan related musical talent doesn’t end there and then.

On June 22, Riverside Music Hall, the region’s newest jazz venue, will host the James Moore Sextet in an exclusive regional appearance on the entire ensemble. The last time the band played in central West Virginia was in Jazz At Charles Pointe in Bridgeport during Winter Jazz Weekend 2011, where they received rave reviews.

“We are very happy to have the full James Moore Sextet play for our Grand Opening,” said Kathy Fealy, hostess at Riverside Music Hall. “We promise an evening of top quality music, comfortable dining and friendly service.”

Moore, Bush and Merrell will be joined in Weston by their regular rhythm section of Tom Wendt on drums and Paul Thompson on bass, plus Eric DeFade will play saxophone and flute to complete the ensemble.

“Half the guys will have warmed up in Clarksburg on Friday night,” said Eric Spelsberg, president of the WVJS and producer of the Riverside Music Hall show, “so they should be ready to inspire their partners as the whole band gets together for us in Weston. It will be a big night for jazz in West Virginia.”

The continuing collaboration between the West Virginia Jazz Society, Inc. and West Virginia Wesleyan College’s jazz programs has yielded the Winter Jazz Academy, recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as numerous learning and earning opportunities for graduates and students.

For more information on Summer Jazz 2013, the West Virginia Jazz Society, the Wesleyan College jazz studies program or jazz artists in the central West Virginia area, contact Spelsberg at 304-269-3683 or INFO@WVJazzSociety.com.

The Uptown Clarksburg Jazz Stroll is designed to promote the greater central West Virginia region as a entertainment, dining and cultural tourism destination, and is sponsored by Greater Clarksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Harrison County Commission, Clarksburg Harrison Cultural Foundation, Uptown Clarksburg Association, MVB Banking, West Virginia Division of Tobacco Prevention and Dominion Energy.