New Haven is known as a city that celebrates culture. As the summer winds down, the city’s Department of Arts, Culture, and Tourism partnered up with Jazz Haven for what has become a new New Haven tradition. After a week filled with talented musicians featured at local restaurants and throughout the town, The New Haven Jazz Festival ended with a free concert.
While The Green stands as a central park in downtown New Haven and is always bustling with people, the Jazz Festival transformed the Green into a concert venue with hundreds of people celebrating a more unified cause. Of course, it would not be a New Haven event without an assortment of food trucks. Caseus’ Cheese Truck, Sugar’s Cupcakes, and many other local vendors set up their stands along the perimeter of the Green to serve snacks. In the center, families, students, and city professionals sat in their lawn chairs and laid out on blankets, taking in the unique sounds of the Hawkins Jazz collective, Zaccai Curtis & Insight, and the Wayne Escoffery Quintet. Natalie Fernandez of Zaccai Curtis & Insight incorporated a hint of Latin traditional music, providing the public an opportunity to freely dance throughout their performance.
This was the sixth festival of its kind and based on the turnout, it is clear that the festival was a hit. It is of course, a celebration of jazz musicians and the genre’s unique history, but it also seems to celebrate the Elm City’s community. As individuals departed that evening, they left having met new people in the area, new restaurants to try, and an appreciation of connecting with others. Whether through the music or through the conversations that could be heard under the soft trumpet sounds and amazing saxophone scales, the celebration of people in New Haven stood at the Festival’s Core.
(*Photo from New Haven Register, featuring band members of Zaccai Curtis & Insight)