Penn State’s Jazz and Open Mic clubs are collaborating to bring jazz music back to Happy Valley.
The headlining bands will perform at 7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday and Thursday evening in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Heritage Hall.
The Marvin Horne quartet — featuring Greg Bandy, Stanley Banks, Eli Byrne and Marvin Horne — and the band Bop Licity will be performing on Tuesday.
Band Burrage and the Arthur Goldstein Quartet are headlining Wednesday, and the Joe Ford Ensemble and Urban Fusion will wrap up the festival on Thursday.
Eli Byrne, the Jazz Club adviser, said that in addition to the leading jazz performances, the festival will feature a number of short performances by rappers, singers, dancers and poets.
“People should expect to see renowned jazz musicians performing each night of the festival with great supporting acts ranging from dance, hip hop and DJing from Penn State locals,” Nick Toma, Jazz Club president, said.
The three members of Tuesday’s headlining band are the house band for the historic Lenox Lounge in Harlem, Byrne said. He said a group of rich investors, including actor Robert De Niro, are attempting to buy out the owner of the jazz landmark, motivated by speculation that Harlem is an up-and-coming neighborhood.
“It is one of the true black jazz clubs where the musicians felt at home and sat in jamming with each other’s bands and the music really developed and evolved,” Bryne said. “But now all that history will fall into the hands of people who just want to get rich off somebody else’s culture.”
Bryne said the club has been in business for over 70 years and famous musicians including Billie Holiday and Miles Davis have performed and enjoyed music there.
“I hope at the very least we can voice the legendary history of the Lenox Lounge as a cultural landmark and its significance to art and music in America,” Toma (senior-neuroscience) said of the festival’s role in promoting awareness of the issue.
Ronnie Burrage, the Open Mic Club adviser, said that he thinks this event will allow the community to be exposed to more “adventurous” elements of jazz, rather than more mainstream styles that are usually found in the area.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for jazz neophytes and long-time listeners alike to experience some of the best musicians around as well as enjoy the wide range of entertainment offered from our own students,” Toma said.