Flushing Town Hall presents annual Jazz Jam All-Stars concert on July 10, honoring local talent

jazz jam
Flushing Town Hall is set to present their annual Jazz Jam All-Stars concert on July 10.
Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall

Flushing Town Hall is set to delight music lovers of all ages with its annual Jazz Jam All-Stars Concert on Wednesday, July 10 at 7 p.m.

The featured lineup of musicians are from all walks of life, ages 22-80. Some talented performers include vocalist Naomi Okai, vocalist and violinist Mimi Block, tenor sax player Rich Braithwaite and soprano sax player Frank Bergamini. 

For the first time since its inception in 2020, the annual concert will honor four outstanding musicians for their high-caliber talents and dedication to Flushing Town Hall’s monthly Louis Armstrong Legacy Jazz Jam. Among the All-Star honorees are three Queens residents, including Glen Lowe, who was introduced to jazz through the sounds of jazz icon Louis Armstrong, and Sharif Kales, a Flushing-born trumpet player who started playing at the tender age of 13. Also being honored is Keith Jordan, a Hollis Hills resident and retired Francis Lewis High School student who continues performing his music on the national stage. 

The All-Stars will perform alongside the Flushing Town Hall house band, led by Carol Sudhalter, the master of ceremonies who also plays sax and flute. The house band also includes Joe Vincent Tranchina on piano, Scott Neumann on drums and Eric Lemon on bass.  

Sudhalter shared that audience members will hear familiar tunes from many eras of jazz and that the musicians will represent various forms of jazz to which they feel connected. “We may hear a mix of Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, anybody you could think of, especially with this Queens-based audience that’s so diverse today,” she said.

The Louis Armstrong Legacy Monthly Jazz Jam, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in October 2021, started in collaboration with Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music. The jam began as an educational program for young jazz musicians to play together and hone their skills. The monthly jam was later opened to amateur and professional musicians and public audiences under Queens Jazz OverGround, a collective of Queens-based jazz musicians. Sudhalter took over the Louis Armstrong Legacy Monthly Jazz Jam as leader of Flushing Town Hall’s house band in 2016. Since then, the program has played homage to Louis Armstrong in every performance, including virtual jam sessions during the pandemic.

This specific Jazz Jam All-Stars concert is unique, as only a select group of musicians were invited to perform on stage, unlike the regular open collaborative Louis Armstrong Legacy Monthly Jazz Jams. 

The concert will start with a Louis Armstrong piece played by the jazz house band. After the performance, each All-Star will perform two pieces with the house band. Residents can also look forward to other special performances throughout the night of the concert.

Tickets for the concert are $25 for the public, $20 for Flushing Town Hall members and $15 for students with ID.