Utica Summer Fest Music
Central New York has plenty of outstanding musical talent and plenty of opportunities to see those musicians locally.
For Utica Summer Fest, we decided to bring in groups area fans would have to travel outside the region to get to see.
Thursday, June 21 -
We launch Summer Fest with the high energy horn fueled Funk, Rock, R&B, Soul and fusion of Funk Evolution. Fronted by vocalist Sabrina Gogan, FE creates a sound that draws on the talents of the group's seven other musicians to propel her to great musical heights. Her vocal strength makes her always ready to rise to the challenge - and to bring everyone in the crowd along for the wonderful musical ride.
Stephen 'Rocco' Christman handles tenor sax and vocals. His exceptional reed work has landed the Funk Evolution founding member gigs with the Trans Siberian Orchestra, Aretha Franklin, Average White Band, George Clinton's Parliament and Funkadelic and the Grass Roots.
Joshua Mlodzianowski is a multi-skilled dynamo, covering alto sax, keyboards, flute and vocals for Funk Evolution.
Michael 'Mikey D' Dietlein's trumpet chops lead the charge of the award winning horn section that drives this band into territory only groups with great brass sections dare to go.
Guitarist Jay Dambrose has a guitar in his hands during most waking hours - and it shows. His mastery has made him a man-in-demand for dozens of groups looking for a killer guitar player, including Fugazi, but his loyalty always brings him back to the band he was an original member of, Funk Evolution.
No Funk band gets anywhere without a bass player that can deliver the bottom end and Josh Herzog is masterful at it.
The 2015 addition of Nick Marotta on keyboards and vocals allow Funk Evolution to cover even more musical territory - and do it brilliantly.
Drummer Daryl 'DJ' Jeffords anchors the powerful Funk Evolution rhythm section, supplying the beat with power and finesse.
Individually, these eight musicians are accomplished and talented. Combined, they are Funk Evolution, a band of members with a sound so in synch it's easy to understand why plenty of people end up convinced they were born to play together.
Friday, June 22 -
Jimmy Vivino & the BlueSoul Rockers
+ The Monk Rowe Trio
You’d be hard-pressed to find a legendary Blues or Rock guitarist on the planet that doesn’t consider Vivino one of the best guitarists of his generation. Vivino elected to forego the road warrior life of being a touring musician for a career without the wear and tear. He found what he was looking for when he landed the gig of being the Music Director/guitarist and arranger on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien in 1993. Jimmy still serves in that capacity for O’Brien on his current show. During his tenure, he’s had the opportunity to perform with and impress many artists he has great admiration for – and to earn theirs.
The Monk Rowe Trio
The Monk Rowe Trio provides the opening set. The Joe Williams Director of the Fillius Jazz Archive at Hamilton College, Monk is also one of most talented and respected musicians in the State. As a composer his original work and commissioned arrangements have been featured by a number of ensembles, including the Utica Symphony, the Fredonia Alumni Jazz Ensemble, the Allegria Trio, and numerous scholastic bands. His CD “Jazz Life” contains compositions written for and dedicated to nine of the artists interviewed for the Fillius Jazz Archive. A solo piano recording was released in 2011 entitled “At the Piano.”Monk performs frequently as a solo pianist or as a saxophonist with his own quartet and trio.
Saturday, June 23 -
The Boat Drunks
From first notes they play, you'll understand why The Boat Drunks is one of the most sought out bands in North America for fans of Trop Rock. These Trop Rock Band Of The Year Award winners have brought their party spirit and outstanding musicianship to events like SummerFest from Key West to to Seattle, Maine to Phoenix, and toured Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and lots of other likely and some unlikely places. One thing is the same wherever they play: people come to party and every BD performance becomes one.
Naturally, their set includes many fan favorite Jimmy Buffett songs and they have performed many times live with members of Jimmy's Coral Reefer Band. Together We Fly, the group's 5th album of original material, was produced by R Scott Bryan of the Peter Mayer band. In their 18 years as a group the Boat Drunks have made concert appearances opening for Jimmy Buffett, Little Feat, The Beach Boys and others.
Summer songs on a young summer night... what better way to welcome the new season!