Renfrew Jazz Festival features veteran sax man

Improvisational jazz concert features longtime favorites and jazz greats

Improvisational jazz concert features longtime favorites and jazz greats

August 25, 2005|by KRISTIN WILSON

Sixty-year jazz veteran Bud Shank has spent his life perfecting the way he wails on his alto saxophone.

And even though he is featured on more than 50 recordings and has garnered four Most Valuable Player Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Shank, 79, is still working on it.

"I'm mainly focused on trying to improve what I do," he told The Herald-Mail while driving through the Arizona desert. "I'm just always trying to learn and improve myself."

That attitude has placed Shank among the greats in jazz circles around the world. He regularly tours Europe. Earlier this month performed in Italy, and, in September, he kicks off a western European tour to include Vienna, London, Amsterdam, and Hamburg, Germany.


But before then, he will be one of the featured jazz musicians at the 14th annual Renfrew Jazz Festival in Waynesboro, Pa., on Sunday, Aug. 28.

Shank "is one of the world's premier alto saxophonists," says Andrew Sussman, event coordinator for the jazz event. "He truly falls into the legendary category; which sometimes comes with age, but it also has to be earned with a lifetime of contributions to the music world."

Shank regularly tours as a jazz musician but he also teaches, composes and arranges jazz music.

Shank will join guitarist Paul Bollenback, bassist James King and drummer Nasar Abadey behind the Renfrew Museum for a concert Sunday between 2 and 4 p.m.

"This will truly be a great jazz meeting," Sussman says. "This will be jazz improvisation at its finest."

The Renfrew Institute for Cultural and Environmental Studies has hosted the free jazz event for the past 14 years as a way of providing jazz music to local audiences.

"It's nice to be able to offer this level of world-class jazz in a small town atmosphere," says Melodie Anderson-Smith, executive director of the Renfrew Institute. "We enjoy being able to offer it. For a lot of people it's not affordable to go to a big city to listen to jazz."

Paul Bollenback is appearing at the Renfrew festival for the 13th time.

Sussman says the festival has, in a way, been built around Bollenback. The jazz guitarist is one of the constants at the festival and performs with a different group of jazz musicians each year.

King has performed with Stanley Turrentine, Gary Bartz, Elvin Jones and Buck Hill and has appeared at major jazz festivals both in the U.S. and abroad. Abadey is the leader of the band Supernova and has performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Hutcherson, Pharoah Sanders and Shirley Horn.

"What I love about this concert is that families can come. There is no admission charge," Sussman says. "Jazz does not get the radio or media play that some other forms of music achieve. (The Renfrew Jazz Festival) is a wonderful way to introduce people to music."

If you go ...

WHAT: 14th annual Renfrew Jazz Festival

WHEN: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28

WHERE: 1010 E. Main Street, Waynesboro, Pa. On the lawn behind the Renfrew Museum. Rain location: Waynesboro Area Middle School

COST: Free

DIRECTIONS: Take Md. 60 (Leitersburg Pike) north from Hagerstown. Md. 60 becomes Pa. 316. Once in Waynesboro turn right onto West Main Street. Parking is available in Renfrew's lower lot off Welty Road.

MORE: For more information, call the Renfrew Institute at 1-717-762-0373. Concert-goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets.

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