Annual jazz festival to honor late musicians


Every year, a group of local musicians take to the stage at the Long Beach Public Library for a festival that celebrates jazz music. This year, the festival will honor two late musicians who were integral to the music community: Michael Barnett and Bernard Soto.

Local musician and platinum sound recording engineer Peter Kuperschmid is hosting this year’s festivities, not to be confused with the previous years’ Jazz Festival run by Steve Adelson. In lieu of Adelson’s absence — he was unavailable to host the festival this year — Kuperschmid organized Jazz at the Library, which will feature well-known performers from the area.

Hosting the jazz performances at the library for the past 16 years “has been part of our community DNA,” said Library Director Michael Simon.

“A lot of people really look forward to this every year,” Simon said, “and we certainly wanted that to continue. It’s been such a wonderful tradition for so many years.”

The festival is dedicated to Barnett and Soto’s memory, he added.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve lost two real important members of the musical community in Long Beach: Mike Barnett, who has always been a contributor to this festival, and Bernard Soto, founding member of Primo, who performed up until he was unable to do so anymore,” Simon said. “Hopefully we can rekindle that spirit.”

The Jazz at the Library weekend at the library, located at 111 W. Park Ave., will take place between Friday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 16. All events are free and open to the public. Musicians will include International Orange, the Kerry Kearney Band, the Ken Simon Quartet, Dianne Hoffman, Uppercut, the Larry Meyer Trio, J. Brittany Band, Guardavidas, Emedin Rivera, Alberto Pibiri featuring Miriam Waks, the Larry Mitchell Band and the Dean Brown Band.

“For me, it’s always a pleasure helping the library and the community when it comes to music festivities, and I think this year’s Jazz at the Library is going to be a wonderful musical journey,” Kuperschmid said.

The festival is sponsored by Cybernet, the First National Bank of Long Island, Silberstang Lasky Architects, P.C., SavMor Mechanical Services, R.S. Abrams & Co. LLP, the Long Island Drum Center, Ocean Analog Recording Studios and Friends of the Library. Participating venues include Junction, Brixx & Barley, LB Social and Lola’s.

“Peter has assembled the greatest jazz musicians for your musical enjoyment,” said Edie Kalickstein, event programmer at the library. “Come one, come all.”

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