Burchfield Penney and Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective co-present Annual Three-Day Jazz Festival

by Renata Toney

The musical virtuosity and global appeal of John Coltrane continues to top music charts 51 years after his death. When Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album was released June 29, 2018, it soared to 21 on the Billboard 200, his highest charting ever. The studio album was cut by the classic John Coltrane Quartet in 1963 two years before A Love Supreme. It was then stashed away, lost for years.

The Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective and Burchfield Penney Art Center will celebrate the perpetual jazz form of the colossus saxophonist at its annual three-day John Coltrane Birthday Celebration September 20 – 22, 2018.

Headlining Artists L/R Curtis Lundy ,Rob Dixon,
George Caldwell, Gary Bartz

This year’s headliners are Rob Dixon with the George Caldwell Trio; and Gary Bartz accompanied by the Curtis Lundy Trio

The multitalented line-up of conversations, performances and screenings include:

Thursday, September 20 7pm 

Lecture / Discussion – Chas With Jazz: At the BON TON Jazz Club with Charles Mancuso accompanied by pianist George Caldwell The legendary Bon Ton, formerly located at East Ferry and Waverly streets, was a leading jazz club in the early 1960s. Chuck Mancuso, SUNY Buffalo State professor and jazz aficionado, will present a talk on the iconic night club accompanied by Grammy Award-winning pianist George Caldwell playing the sounds of Bon Ton jazz.

Friday, Sept. 21, 201 -8 p.m.

Rob Dixon with the George Caldwell Trio / Guest appearances by Ahmad Pleasant and Amari McDade Nationally recognized saxophonist Rob Dixon has worked with Illinois Jacquet, Ali from A Tribe Called Quest, Count Basie band, Rufus Reid, composer Bill Lee (Spike Lee’s father), Jonah Jones and Mike Clark’s “Indigo Blue.” Fully tenured jazz piano legend George Caldwell presided over the ivory 88s for the Count Basie Orchestra winning a “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance” Grammy in 1996. He is also instrumental in co-organizing the annual John Coltrane celebration at the Burchfield Penney. Saxophonist Ahmad Pleasant coveted 1st place prize in the 2018 Buffalo’s Got Talent competition; Amari McDade is a vocal major at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. Tickets: $20 general public; $10 for Burchfield Penney and PMLJC members, limited to two tickets per membership.

Saturday, September 22 -12 NOON

The Progressions Quartet A taste of Buffalo’s next emerging generation of jazz musicians. Ahmad Pleasant (saxophone), Christian Bowman (drums), Oscar Woodrich (guitar), Jackson Edwards and (bass) will pay tribute to John Coltrane.

-1 PM Screenings | Coltrane Short Films The Church of Saint John Coltrane – documentary on the culture and spirit of the congregation founded in 1971 as the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco. Interview with John Coltrane June 15, 1958 – interview by August Blume conducted while Coltrane was appearing in Baltimore with the Miles Davis’ Quintet.  Admission is free with gallery admission.

-6:30 PM Greg Millar Quartet

– Guitarist Greg Millar and tenor saxophonist Nelson Rivera will recreate a classic album from 1958 that featured Coltrane paired as a sideman with legendary guitarist Kenny Burrel

-8 PM Gary Bartz with the Curtis Lundy Trio

In the 1960s, Gary Bartz joined the Max Roach/Abbey Lincoln Group and the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop. In 1965, he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Around the same time, he began working with McCoy Tyner and their relationship deepened the influence of John Coltrane on Bartz. In 1970, Miles Davis asked him to perform with his band at the historic Isle of Wight Festival. In the same year, Bartz also formed his own group, Ntu Troop. Overall, he has recorded more than 40 solo albums and over 200 as a guest artist. More recently, he released Coltrane Rules: Tao of a Music Warrior, Live at the Jazz Standard Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Curtis Lundy is arguably one of the most prolific in-demand bassists on the modern jazz scene. He is a disciple of the mainstream, straight ahead, hard bop school. Lundy also serves as the International Music Director for the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective.

Guest performances by vocalist Sehrea N’dayu/choreographer Jai Robinson and saxophonist Ahmad Pleasant- Sehrea is a vocal major at Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts; Jai attends Nichols High School and trains in jazz, tap, contemporary/lyrical, ballet and hip hop Ahmad Pleasant earned 1st place distinction in the 2018 Buffalo’s Got Talent competition.

Tickets are $30 general public; $15 Burchfield Penney and Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective members (limit two member-priced tickets per membership)


*This year’s John Coltrane promotional illustration ( as shown in the ad above) was designed by artist Stacey Robinson, a University at Buffalo MFA graduate and Arthur Schomburg fellow. Limited edition commemorative posters will be available for purchase during the festival in the Center’s gift shop.

“The Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective restructured earlier this year to integrate the five pillars of the late Pappy Martin’s vision under one umbrella organization,” said Dawn Martin Berry-Walker. “Our mission is to educate, elevate and celebrate an original American art form. From the summer jazz festival and Love Supreme School of Music, to the John Coltrane celebration, we honor the significance of jazz. We thank the Burchfield Penney for its generosity once again in partnering with us to help sustain my father’s footprint.”