Arts & Entertainment

Music-Lovers Enjoy an Evening of Jazz Downtown

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VooDUDES Credits: Marina P. Kennedy
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Nicole Breslow and her sons Ben and Jake. Credits: Marina P. Kennedy
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A crowd enjoys music by Jazz Lobsters. Credits: Marina P. Kennedy
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WESTFIELD, NJ--Westfield's “Sweet Sounds Downtown” Jazz Festival, sponsored by the Downtown Westfield Corporation, entertained crowds again Tuesday night with performances throughout the downtown area by Jazz Lobsters, Too Blue Lou and the Groove, the Dave Leonhardt Trio and VooDUDES.

People of all ages attended the festival. Couples, friends and families to strolled around the downtown area, enjoying dining options, shopping and, of course, the music.

Nicole Breslow took her sons Ben and Jake to hear the Dave Leonhardt Trio. “It’s a good introduction to music for my sons,” she said.

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Tom Maloney attended the festival with his wife, Erin, and son, Jack. The entire Maloney family are jazz buffs and came downtown to enjoy the music.

Many of the merchants in the downtown area are pleased to have “Sweet Sounds Downtown” on Tuesday evenings throughout July and August. “It’s excellent for the Downtown Westfield Corporation to bring business into the downtown," said Damon P. O’Gara of CoolVines on Central Avenue. He added, "It is great for families to be exposed to jazz and live bands."

The music groups enjoy playing their music in Downtown Westfield, as well. James Lafferty, Jazz Lobsters band leader said, “We love playing here. It’s always an appreciative crowd.”

Dave Leonhardt of the Dave Leonhardt Trio has performed every year at the jazz festival and said that the group loves performing in the venue. 

The quality of the bands is exceptional, as selection—which takes place in February—is highly competitive. Sherry Cronin, executive director of the Downtown Westfield Corporation, explained, “It’s our 16th year and it has been extremely popular. We have over 80 bands apply and we select 36.” 

The DWC also hired professional photographer Cheri Rogowsky to takes photos each night of the festival to be posted on www.westfieldtoday.com for the public to enjoy.  They can also be found on her website, cherisclassiccandids.com.

The festival will continue with performances each Tuesday from 7 pm until 9 pm through August 28. Rain dates are the following day, Wednesday, of each week. Jazz performances by four different bands each night are performed at various locations. They venues are on Central Avenue in front of Banana Republic, the lawn in front of the North Avenue Train Station, the plaza at the corner of East Broad and North Avenue and on Elm Street in front of the Baptist Church. For more information on the “Sweet Sounds Downtown” and a full schedule, visit www.WestfieldToday.com/jazzfestival.

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