Jazz Fest Artists

The lineup for the 7th Annual Manchester CT Jazz Fest is still evolving every day. As more performers join us, we’ll add them to this page. And don’t forget to scroll down to see some of our performers from previous years!

The Brian Charette Trio featuring Sachal Vasandani 

Brian Charette

Brian Charette is a Hammond and IK Multimedia endorsed, Steeplechase, Positone, and Cellar Live recording artist, currently #3 on the Downbeat Critic’s Poll. He is also The 2014 Downbeat Rising Star, and 2015 Best Organist in NYC from Hothouse Magazine. Brian leads his own organ groups all over the world as well as playing with many well known artists like Chaka Khan and George Coleman. Brian’s new album, Jackpot was recorded at Rudy Van Gelder’s hallowed studio and is of this writing #9 on the Jazzweek US Radio Chart

Sachal Vasandani

Sachal Vasandani is recognized for his singular voice, with a tone and unique phrasing that mark him as one of the most compelling artists on the scene today. Thoroughly rooted in jazz, Sachal has the swagger to front the most swinging big bands and the vulnerability to present definitive takes of classic ballads. His deeply creative approach to improvisation across lyrics, melodic changes and time signatures is always soulful, and he has come to be regarded as one of the eminent vocal improvisers of his generation.

Jordan Young

Jordan Young is a versatile drummer who has played with Wynton Marsalis, Peter Bernstein, Vic Juris, Jerry Vivino, and Ben Monder. Jordan has recorded three albums as a leader, two for Positone Records. All have met with critical acclaim. Jordan completed the prestigious Artist Diploma program at The Juilliard School in 2016 and traveled around the globe representing the school. Jordan also has an active private teaching studio based in Brooklyn, NY. Jordan also endorses Canopus drums and Amedia cymbals.

Eric Alexander Quartet

Boasting a warm, finely burnished tone and a robust melodic and harmonic imagination, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander has been exploring new musical worlds from the outset. He started out on piano as a six-year-old, took up clarinet at nine, switched to alto sax when he was 12, and converted to tenor when jazz became his obsession during his one year at the University of Indiana, Bloomington (1986-87).

“The people I listened to in college are still the cats that are influencing me today,” says Alexander. “Monk, Dizzy, Sonny Stitt, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson–the legacy left by Bird and all the bebop pioneers, that language and that feel, that’s the bread and butter of everything I do.”

Rale Micic

Rale Micic


Rale Micic is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed jazz musicians to emerge from Serbia. Audiences throughout the world have been captivated by Micic’s mesmerizing music, exploring interaction between his Serbian musical roots and his extensive knowledge of jazz. With three albums released on CTA Records, Rale created a cult-like following among music fans with his mix of jazz and haunting melodies from the Balkans. On his second release entitled Serbia, Micic establishes himself as one of the most inventive voices on the music scene today.

Jonathan Barber

Jonathan Barber


New York City-based Jonathan Barber was voted the #1 Up-and-Coming Drummer of 2018 in Modern Drummer. Only 31 years old, he has already recorded and toured worldwide with such artists as Pat Metheny, Nicholas Payton, Buster Williams, Jeremy Pelt, Wallace Roney, Terrace Martin, Jennifer Holiday, Harold Mabern, Steve Davis, Stefon Harris, and many more. Barber has also been called on for such significant performances as Jimmy Greene’s Ana Grace Project (with an all-star band comprised of Greene, Kenny Barron, John Patitucci, and Kurt Elling) and back-to-back sold-out concerts with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Erykah Badu at the BAM Opera House.

Jason Clotter

Jason Clotter


Jason Clotter, a bassist from Puerto Cortes Honduras, currently resides in the mecca of jazz in New York City. Clotter has shared the stage with numerous great musicians such as Eli Yamen,Stacy Dillard, Samara Joy, Vincent Gardner, Marquis Hill, Wallace Roney, Eric Lewis, Steve Davis, Jerry Weldon, Anthony Wonsey, Vincent Herring, Wynton Marsalis and many more Jazz legends. Currently Jason Clotter has been Storming the Jazz Scene as an upcoming Bassist. It is Jason mission to create beautiful music and keeping the music alive and going.

Rob Gottfried & Friends

Rob “The Drummer” Gottfried has a tri-fold career – a Jazz-Rock/ Recording Artist, Children’s Motivational Educator, and Private Percussion Instructor. As a Top Five Best Rock Drummer contender in LA, Rob has recorded on Arista Records with notable Organist Larry Young, played at The Village Gate and Carnegie Hall for the Newport Jazz Festival, and fills the percussion chair with guitarist extraordinaire Jeff Pevar. Rob finished his third CD with “Guitar Queen” Desiree’ Bassett – Ms Bassett was chosen as the lead guitarist for the Michael Jackson Cirque DuSoleil World Tour. His ROB THE DRUMMER Children’s Concerts are performed nationally! In 2104, Rob received the Special Tribute Award from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for his outstanding service to the youth and communities of Michigan.

Linda Ransom

Linda Ransom


LINDA RANSOM hails from Connecticut where she has enjoyed the privilege of working with world renowned musicians for many years. World Renowned Venues such as The Tavern on the Green in Central Park, Mintons and The Blue Note of New York City have over the years, hosted Linda’s performances with those musicians; Jazz Legend Lionel Hampton, The Artie Lee Orchestra of New York along with Sonny Costanza Orchestra and the infamous Peter Deutchen Orchestra to name a few.

Jeff Bousfield

Jeff Bousfield


Jeff Bousfield is a lifelong resident of CT who began classical piano at age 7. After switching to contemporary music as a teenager, he began playing rock & blues in Hartford music venues at the age of 17, using a beat up old Hammond B3 and Fender Rhodes piano. After high school, he attended the Hartford Conservatory of Music as a Jazz and Pop music performance major.

Tony Dioguardi

Tony Dioguardi


Tony Dioguardi is a Connecticut based Blues/Jazz/R&B/Whatever guitarist who has performed with Jaimo’s Jazz Band, Bernard Purdie, Jeff Pevar, Jim Oblon, Guitar George Baker, Laco Dezci, Rickie Miller, and Brandt Taylor. A dentist by day, Tony has a monthly residency at the legendary CAFÉ NINE in New Haven, CT.

Brandt Taylor

Brandt Taylor


Brandt Taylor has been one of New England’s premier guitarist and singer/songwriters for nearly twenty yfears. He’s been a sideman for many of the area’s most notable bands, as well as fronting his own band. Brandyt has opened for several famous acts, Tower of Power, Joe Louis Walker, James Montgomery, and Jeff Pitchell to name a few. He’s also shared the stage with Buddy Cage (New Riders of The Purple Sage), Gary Hoey, Sugar Ray Norcia and several others. He was nominated two times as “Best Blues Act” in New England by the Hartford Advocate, and a district finalist in Guitar Center’s “Battle of The Blues”.

Dave Stoltz

Dave Stoltz




Sheila Jordan

Raised in poverty in Pennsylvania’s coal-mining country, Jordan began singing as a child and by the time she was in her early teens was working semi-professionally in Detroit clubs. Her first great influence was Charlie Parker and, indeed, most of her influences have been instrumentalists rather than singers. Working chiefly with black musicians, she met with disapproval from the white community but persisted with her career. She was a member of a vocal trio, Skeeter, Mitch And Jean (she was Jean), who sang versions of Parker’s solos in a manner akin to that of the later Lambert, Hendricks And Ross.


Karrin Allyson

Karrin Allyson, 5-­‐time Grammy nominated jazz vocalist, pianist, and songwriter is widely recognized as one of the most gifted voices of her generation. With fifteen albums under her belt, she has built a mastery of The Great American Songbook, blues, pop, be-­bop, Brazilian, and French chansons, to name a few.

Born in Great Bend, Kansas, Allyson now lives in New York City.  Since moving to New York, Allyson’s band has consisted of such players as Bruce Barth, Ed Howard, James Williams, Adam Cruz, Steve Wilson, Miro Sprague, Jerome Jennings, and Jeff Johnson.


Avery Sharpe

Sharpe was born in Valdosta, Georgia and his first instrument was the piano. “I started playing when I was eight years old,” he recalls. “My mother is a piano player in the Church of God in Christ, and she gave lessons to every-body in the family. I’m the sixth of eight children, but it didn’t stick until it got to me.” He moved on to accordion and then switched to electric bass in high school.

Sharpe enrolled at the University of Massachusetts, where he met the jazz bassist Reggie Workman, who encouraged him to learn the acoustic bass. Sharpe adapted quickly to the big instrument, and within a few years he was performing with such notables as Archie Shepp and Art Blakey. In 1980, Sharpe auditioned with McCoy Tyner and won a spot in the pianist’s group. He worked with Tyner almost continuously for 20 years, playing hundreds of live gigs and appearing on more than 20 records.


Eric Alexander

Boasting a warm, finely burnished tone and a robust melodic and harmonic imagination, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander has been exploring new musical worlds from the outset. He started out on piano as a six-year-old, took up clarinet at nine, switched to alto sax when he was 12, and converted to tenor when jazz became his obsession during his one year at the University of Indiana, Bloomington (1986-87).

At William Paterson College in New Jersey he advanced his studies under the tutelage of Harold Mabern, Joe Lovano, Rufus Reid, and others. “The people I listened to in college are still the cats that are influencing me today,” says Alexander. “Monk, Dizzy, Sonny Stitt, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson–the legacy left by Bird and all the bebop pioneers, that language and that feel, that’s the bread and butter of everything I do.”


Willie Jones III

With an unparalleled style of rhythmic expression, drummer Willie Jones III is one of the world’s leading jazz drummers. In addition to honoring his monumental influences – the late greats Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey and Billy Higgins – Jones’ bold articulation and constantly innovative sense of swing are results of his life-long musical experience.

Born in Los Angeles, California on June 8, 1968, Jones’ earliest exposure to music was through his father, Willie Jones II, an accomplished and notable jazz pianist. Dedicated to the further development of his skills, the younger Jones spent years working diligently with acclaimed drummers and music instructors and began performing with distinguished musicians by the time he was in his teens. Before he was a semifinalist in the 1992 Thelonious Monk Jazz Drum Competition, Jones co-founded jazz band Black Note. Influenced by the rich soulful energy of the West Coast bop movement, Black Note’s hard-swing sound propelled them to first place in the prestigious John Coltrane Young Artist Competition in 1991.


John Patitucci

John Patitucci was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1959 and began playing the electric bass at age ten. He began performing and composing at age 12, at age 15 began to play the acoustic bass, and then started the piano at age 16. He quickly moved from playing soul and rock to blues, jazz and classical music. His eclectic tastes caused him to explore all types of music as a player and a composer.

As a performer, John has played throughout the world with his own band and with jazz luminaries Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz, Pat Metheny, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Michael Brecker, McCoy Tyner, Nancy Wilson, Randy Brecker, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Hubert Laws, Hank Jones, Mulgrew Miller, James Williams, Kenny Werner and scores of others.


Valery Ponomarev

Valery Ponomarev worked with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers for 4 years. With the Messengers, he performed at major concert halls, clubs, and festivals all over the world and recorded eleven record albums. He also made numerous television appearances with the Messengers in Europe, Japan, and Brazil. In the United States he has made television appearances on “To Tell The Truth,” on the PBS network, National Geographic Today, and CNN. He performed at the Clifford Brown Memorial Concert in Wilmington, Delaware, 1991, which featured the music of the legendary Max Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet with Max Roach (leader) on drums, Harold Land, tenor sax, George Morrow, bass, Sam Dockery, piano, and Valery Ponomarev, trumpet.

As a solo artist, Mr. Ponomarev has completed two tours of Australia, China and numerous European tours, including a special tour with Harold Land featuring the music of Clifford Brown. He was also featured as a European superstar at the Charlie Parker in Paris Festival.


Abraham Burton

​It was once written in the New York Times by jazz columnist Peter Watrous, “If Abraham Burton were to be drawn in a caricature, there would be flames coming out of his horn…” Approaching three decades as a prominent figure on the jazz scene, world-renowned saxophonist and educator Abraham Burton’s passionate sound can still ignite a room filled with patrons. 

In recent years, Abraham’s interest has broadened to teaching and sharing his musical knowledge and experience with future generations. In 2013 Abraham was awarded the prestigious Ralph Bunche Fellowship at Rutgers University where he received his Masters Degree in Music. Abraham also has joined the faculty at both the Jackie McLean institute of Jazz (University of Hartford) and Rutgers University where his classes are in high demand.

Brubeck Brothers

Chris and Dan Brubeck have been making music together practically all their lives. Drummer Dan and bassist, trombonist, and composer Chris cut their first record together in 1966—nearly a half century ago. They’ve subsequently played a variety of styles in a number of different groups, as well as with their father, jazz giant Dave Brubeck, and with their own Brubeck Brothers Quartet. With Dan and Chris as the foundation, guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb, complete this dynamic quartet.

They perform at concert series, colleges, and jazz festivals across North America and Europe including the Newport, Detroit, Montreal, Playboy/Hollywood Bowl, and Monterey Jazz Festivals. The Quartet’s last cd, LifeTimes was a hit on the Jazz Week radio chart where it made the Top Ten list as one of the most played jazz recordings of the year.


Jonathan Blake

Johnathan Blake, one of the most accomplished drummers of his generation, has also proven himself a complete and endlessly versatile musician. Blake’s gift for composition and band leading reflects years of live and studio experience across the aesthetic spectrum. Heralded by NPR Music as “the ultimate modernist,” he has collaborated with Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Tom Harrell, Hans Glawischnig, Avishai Cohen, Donny McCaslin, Linda May Han Oh, Jaleel Shaw, Chris Potter, Maria Schneider, Alex Sipiagin, Kris Davis and countless other distinctive voices.

DownBeat once wrote, “It’s a testament to Blake’s abilities that he makes his presence felt in any context.” A frequent presence on Blue Note records over the past several years, Blake has contributed his strong, limber pulse and airy precision to multiple leader releases from Blue Note artists including Dr. Lonnie Smith’s Breathe (2021), All in My Mind (2018) and Evolution (2016) and Kenny Barron’s Concentric Circles (2018), the latter whose trio Blake has been a vital member for nearly 15 years.


Yotam Silberstein

As a young musician in Tel Aviv, Yotam Silberstein was quickly recognized as a prodigy and was invited to perform with many of the nation’s top musicians. At 21, he performed at Italy’s renowned Umbria Jazz Festival, released a critically acclaimed debut album and set out on an extensive tour of Europe.

Upon receiving a scholarship to the prestigious New School, Yotam Silberstein moved to New York in 2005. He was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Guitar Competition in 2005 with one critic noting: “Yotam’s tones are exquisitely old school but his playing fresh, fiery and bursting with joyful exuberance, and musically he is one heavy cat.” Jazz Times noted that Yotam has “made an impact on the scene with his precision bebop lines and fleet fingered improvisation”. All About Jazz saw a resemblance between his 2009 release, “Next Page” and “the heyday of Blue Note Records”, adding that Yotam is “forging his own path with skills and style.”