This post is brought to you in partnership with Uptown Charlotte Parks. All opinions are our own.
Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation’s Summer Sizzle Music Series is winding down, but there’s still time for a little smooth Jazz.
To start this jazz party off right, the Freedom Jazz Series hosts Michael Manson with a special guest performance of the Jazz Revolution Aug. 24 in Freedom Park from 6-9 p.m. Then, the Bearden Music Series closes out the season with the jazzy sounds of Spyro Gyra, with special guest Dante Lewis featuring Kevin Whalum, Sept. 7 from 6-9 p.m.
The Freedom Jazz Series Aug. 24 at Freedom Park
Dates: Saturday, Aug. 24
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Park locale: Freedom Park, 1908 East Boulevard, Charlotte
Performing: Michael Manson, with a special guest performance of the Jazz Revolution
Michael Manson: The release of Michael Manson’s album “Thumpin’” saw him join the ranks of today’s premiere jazz artists. His first singles, “Outer Drive” and “Coming Right At Ya” reached the R&R Smooth Jazz top 10.
Bass-master Manson made the move from sideman to center-stage with his solo debut, “The Bottom Line.” His passion and precision are displayed with both unrelenting power and laid-back grace on an album that, he says, “reflects the deepest expression of all I have felt making music for the last 25 years.”
With writing and production credits on his new album, “Straight Up,” Michael has collected a who’s who of smooth jazz: Najee, Darren Rhan, Jeff Lorber, Nick Colienne, Lin Roundtree, Paul Jackson Jr., Jeff Lorber, the legendary George Duke and many more. This album is a great mix of contemporary jazz, R&B and even a little gospel.
Bearden Music Series Sept. 7 at Romare Bearden Park
Date: Saturday, Sept. 7
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Park locale: Romare Bearden Park, 300 S Church St.
Performing: Spyro Gyra with special guest, Dante Lewis featuring Kevin Whalum
Spyro Gyra: Spyro Gyra is an unlikely story of a group with humble beginnings in Buffalo who have continued to reach an international audience for more than forty years. The result? More than 10 million albums sold and over five thousand shows performed on five continents. Spyro Gyra has accomplished thanks to a forward looking approach, combined with the work ethic of an underdog, always striving to do something new while never resting on past success. It has proven to be a recipe for longevity for this jazz group, even while music genres have gone in and out of style in ever shorter cycles.
Spyro Gyra are an iconic contemporary jazz group that celebrated its fortieth year together in 2014 showcasing its breakthrough “Morning Dance” album. After a year of looking back, Spyro Gyra spent 2015 concentrating on more recent material, playing many songs from its post-2000 releases. The audience reaction was so positive to the recent material, bandleader Jay Beckenstein decided albums from that period deserved a little more focus. In order to spotlight this innovative and productive period, Spyro Gyra released “The Best Of The Heads Up Years.”
Don’t miss this summer’s last opportunity to cool down with some “cool” jazz from both of these top-notch entertainers at a great price — FREE. With food trucks and local brews at the ready, all you have to do is grab a chair, bring your toe-tapping shoes and show up ready for a good time.
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