The Masten District Jazz Festival will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. July 20 and July 27 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park behind the Buffalo Museum of Science (1020 Humboldt Parkway). Now in its 19th year, the Masten District Jazz Festival was the brainchild of Pappy Martin, the leader of the Pappy Martin Love Supreme Jazz Orchestra and member of the great family of jazz that also included the late saxophonist John “Spider” Martin.
Details are traditionally sketchy until the last minute, but some information on the July 20 lineup has come to light through prolonged Googling. On that first Sunday, the festival will welcome Paradigm Shift Jazz, a trio from Rochester led by Rochester native Mel Henderson. Henderson has played with gutbucket jazz legends as David “Fathead” Newman and organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. His trio, Paradigm Shift, plays what has been called soul jazz.
The other musicians in the trio are organist Gerry Youngman and drummer Sean Jefferson. The ensemble is a Western New York hybrid. Henderson joked: “Youngman is a Buffalo native who lives in Rochester, and Jefferson is a Rochester native who lives in Buffalo.” For the Masten Jazz Festival, the trio will be joined by Brown Man, a trumpet player from Toronto. “It’ll be a quartet,” Henderson said.
The festival also features trombonist Brian Thomas and saxophonist Jared Sims, both imported from Boston, Mass. Thomas, a Rochester native who studied classical trombone at Ithaca College, has been involved in all kinds of colorful musical projects including the Chuck Mangione Studio Orchestra, Ithaca-based funk band Nozmo King and roots reggae band John Brown’s Body. Sims teaches at the University of Rhode Island. He has performed with a list of artists who could be considered truly diverse. They include rapper Matisyahu, DJ Logic, bassist Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers, the Artie Shaw Band, and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.