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Jazz Focus: The 39th Annual BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival Runs June 7-August 12

Prospect Park Bandshell

Prospect Park West, 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215

BRIC, the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, once again rocks the borough with an array of free (some are ticketed though) shows by outstanding locally based and world-renowned performers at the Prospect Park Bandshell. From June 7 to August 12, the 39th annual bash will present 31 performances that will reflect the diversity and eclecticism of Brooklyn.

Of the 31 total performances being presented this season, 25 are free (with a $5 suggested contribution at the gate); 20 are music concerts; three music-movie performance events with live music accompanying films projected on NYC’s largest (50’ wide x 21’ high) outdoor screen; and two dance performances.

The festival kicks off with Brooklyn’s own Lake Street Dive, a charismatic quartet specializing in doo-wop, soul and ‘60s pop. In the last five years since the band’s founding, it has risen from local heroes to international stars, having impressively sold out Radio City Music Hall last year.

In addition to a wide range of music, movies and dance at the two-month festival, here’s a look at the jazz-infused shows:

• FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 7:30 P.M.
Saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders headlines the show with his vibrant music steeped in his participation in the avant latter-day bands of John Coltrane. Brooklyn Raga Massive, the beating heart of Indian Classical music in New York City, pays tribute to Sanders with its interpretation of classic Coltrane music.

• THURSDAY, JULY 27, 7:30 P.M.
The playful avant-jazz group Sexmob led by brilliant slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein celebrate its 20th anniversary as a band by performing a live score to Maciste All’inferno, a seminal work of the Italian silent era. Directed by Guido Brignone, the film’s story line centers on Herculean strongman Maciste, whose physical prowess and virtue are tested when the Devil and his minions capture him and drag him to hell.

Legendary jazz fusioners banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck and his equally brilliant band The Flecktones go for the beyond with a mind-boggling meld of jazz, bluegrass, funk and rock. Opening is the enchanting and smart chanteuse Nelly McKay.

Wilco guitarist Nels Cline is one of the key figures in the free jazz scene in New York. last year he recorded a brilliant album for Blue Note Records: Lovers, an amalgam of originals and songbook standards performed in a big band setting. That large-scale project will be performed at the Bandshell in what promises to be the best jazz show of the festival.

• THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 7:30 P.M.
The 2014 Oscar-winning historical drama Selma tells the inspiring story of the resistance, which contributed to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. For his first leap into working with film, MacArthur Award winner and jazz mover-and-shaker Jason Moran enlists the Wordless Music Orchestra to provide an original live score to the film.

Dan Ouellette

Lake Street Dive at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival; photo: Danny Clinch.


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