STONINGTON — Opera House Arts will celebrate the 15th edition of its annual Deer Isle Jazz Festival at the Stonington Opera House Friday, July 31, through -Aug. 1. This year’s event will feature Geri Allen, a pianist and an educator, and Evan Christopher’s Clarinet Road, a quintet grounded in the distinctive aesthetic of New Orleans jazz but also unbound by any stylistic conventions.

Fesitval headliner Geri Allen will join a long line of great pianists — including Kenny Barron, Randy Weston and Henry Butler, will perofrm at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1. Clarinetist Evan Christopher will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, July 31

In addition to bringing national stars to Deer Isle, the festival has established deep community ties, involving ongoing collaborations with local schools and arts organizations. Each year, one musician serves as visiting musician for a two-week residency at the island’s renowned Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; Evan Christopher will spend two weeks on the island serving in that role this year.

As is the festival’s tradition, Maine musicians and student groups will be showcased as well.

Opening for Allen is Novel Jazz, a septet led by saxophonist Barney Balch, whose members hail from communities all over the state of Maine. Opening for Christopher’s Clarinet Road are local heroes in their own right: the J-A double Z Jazz Combo of George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Maine, under the direction of Steve Orlofsky, stocked with award-winning players at the annual Maine State Jazz Festival and continuing a longstanding festival collaboration with the academy.

About the Deer Isle Jazz Festival:

The Deer Isle Jazz Festival, curated in collaboration between Opera House Arts and award-winning jazz journalist Larry Blumenfeld, has been breaking new boundaries and enriching the state’s cultural life since its inception in 2001. The event has drawn fans from throughout the New England region to a 250-seat former vaudeville house with charmed acoustics to hear, among others, NEA Jazz Master pianists Kenny Barron and Randy Weston, saxophonists Charles Lloyd and Dewey Redman, singers Luciana Souza and Andy Bey; French horn player Vincent Chauncey; free-jazz heroes bassist William Parker and pianist Matthew Shipp; and Latin jazz innovator Arturo O’Farrill. “Stonington is a perfectly natural setting for jazz,” Alicia Anstead wrote in the Bangor Daily News. “Far out on the town dock, the music coming from the Opera House slipped and slid through the air.”

Tickets cost $30-$45 and are available at www.operahousearts.org or by calling 367-2788 or visiting Opera House Arts’ box office, on the corner of Main and School streets .


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