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Jazz & Blues Festival Returns Aug. 18

Free event will be held from noon to 10 p.m. on the Green in Morristown.

Jazz and Blues in Morristown are back for another round.

The . The free event features the talents of blues guitarist Robben Ford, Rob Paparozzi and the Hudson River Rats, the Rusty Paul Band, the all-female quartet the Jazz Chicks, and the Jerry Vezza Quartet with special guest Grover Kemble.

Friday night the Green will feature the fifth-annual MorristownGreen.com Film Festival, starting at 6 p.m.

“Last year’s festival was such a success that we are making this an annual event for the town," said Mayor Tim Dougherty. "I am pleased that we can present a great day of music at no cost to our taxpayers. Thanks to the generous support of many businesses in town, we will present 10 hours of music for the entire family. It is free, a lot of fun, and great for our local businesses.” 

The music kicks off at noon with a performance by the all-woman quartet and featuring Nicki Parrott on bass, Janice Friedman on keyboard and Barbara Merjan on drums.

They will be followed at 2 p.m. by the Rusty Paul Band, led by the son of the legendary guitarist Les Paul. Their blend of jazz, blues and funk includes a tribute to the great Les Paul featuring a special appearance by long-time member of the Les Paul Trio, Lou Pallo. The Rusty Paul Band also includes Steve Lucas on guitar, Jay Dittamo on drums, Frosty Lawson on keyboards, Mark Friedman on horn and Sonja Hensley on vocals. 

At 4 p.m., Rob Paparozzi and the Hudson River Rats take the stage. Singer and harmonica player Paparozzi has worked with a diverse list of artists including Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, B.B. King, Dr. John and Cyndi Lauper. He most recently spent seven years as front man for Blood Sweat and Tears and also tours with the “Original Blues Brothers Band.” 

Following Rob Paparozzi will be the Jerry Vezza Quartet with special guest Grover Kemble. The two popular jazz musicians will be joined by Tom Hamilton on sax, Tom Sayek on drums and Rick Crane on bass. 

The festival closes with five-time Grammy nominee Robben Ford and his trio. Ford has worked with a wide-range of artists, including George Harrison, Miles Davis, Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald, John Mayall, Greg Allman and many others.

With both the Jazz & Blues Festival on Saturday, and the film festival on Friday, Dougherty said they "provide a boost for the community at a traditionally slower time for restaurants and retailers and also adds to Morristown’s reputation as an entertainment center for northern New Jersey.”

Major sponsors for the Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival include PSE&G, JCP&L, Brown and Brown Metro, 40 Park, Morristown Municipal Airport, Atlantic Health, the Jonathan Rose Company, Genova Burns and the Star-Ledger.

Additional sponsors include Alaimo, Community Theatre at MPAC, EmbroidMe, FJ Rawding, AIA, Greenbaum Rowe, Ingelsino Pearlman, Iron Bar, McEnerney, Mezmar Media, Morristown Parking Authority, Porzio Bromberg & Newman, Riker Danzig, Sona, T&M, Trustees of the Morristown Green and Villa Enterprises. 

Admission for both events is free. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. For more information, visit the Town of Morristown website.

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