Smooth jazz under the stars

Bradley Fair’s Summer Concert Series

Story by Julie Schillings

Joseph Vincelli, contemporary jazz artist and saxophonist

Joseph Vincelli, contemporary jazz artist and saxophonist

Meandering jazz melodies and evening summer breezes usher in the 13th annual Bradley Fair Summer Concert Series beginning on June 7th. Staged in the beautiful fountain plaza area of Bradley Fair, the lake provides a tranquil backdrop under the stars. The Thursday night concerts, beginning at 7:30 P.M., welcome all ages and are free to the public.

Bradley Fair features five performances from national and regional jazz musicians beginning with Joseph Vincelli, a favorite with local fans.

June 7 | Joseph Vincelli

Contemporary jazz artist and saxophonist, Joseph Vincelli returns to Bradley Fair for a much anticipated repeat performance. Cathy Erickson, Vice President and Marketing Director of Laham Development, is excited to have Vincelli open the concert series. “Joseph has a unique connection with the audience. He strolls through the crowds with his sax which really energizes and excites the audience,” Erickson said. To the delight of local fans, Vincelli has performed every year but one since the Bradley Fair concert series originated in 1999.

Vincelli is equally excited about returning to Wichita in June. “The crowd reaction in Wichita is great — inspired,” reports Vincelli, “My band and I always look forward to performing at Bradley Fair.” From the inaugural year’s crowd of six hundred to the several thousand that filled Bradley Fair’s plaza in recent years, Vincelli is a proud witness to the success and popularity of the Summer Concert Series.

Joseph Vincelli’s passion for music led him to write a book titled, The Art of Tone: understanding our love for music, in which he delves into the interconnectedness of music to our surroundings and one another. In his book Vinicelli writes, “Music enriches our life experience, bringing each of us greater beauty. It encourages us to think because it initiates a path toward greater well being, if we are only willing to search...” Vincelli shares his musical insight at workshops in his hometown of Dallas and across the nation.

With intent to connect with his listeners and create a memorable experience, Vincelli has promised to introduce a little more of a dance element into the set for his Bradley Fair concert. Recalling one of the highlights from previous years, Vincelli shares the story of a gentleman in his nineties folding up his lawn-chair and dancing amidst the audience. It wasn’t long until the crowd surrounding him joined in as well. The melodic chords from Vincelli’s sax and the heart-felt passion of his performance will reverberate with the audience during and long after the music ends.

June 14 | Marcus Anderson

Bradley Fair welcomes Marcus Anderson for another unforgettable and dynamic performance. “For me, it’s about the crowd,” said Anderson, “I feed off their energy.” The saxophonist, vocalist and entertainer from South Carolina is recognized for his natural ability to electrify the stage with unmatched passion. “Marcus is so high energy and puts on such a great show that we are thrilled to have him back again this year,” said Erickson.

Growing up in a musical family as one of eight children, Anderson was surrounded by music from a young age. His parents nurtured his talents through his school years and Anderson continued his jazz studies at North Carolina Central University where he was a member of the world renowned Jazz Ensemble directed by Dr. Ira Wiggins. Jazz fans of all ages will appreciate the opportunity to see Anderson’s performance at Bradley Fair. “I put all of my heart and soul into my playing, and that’s where music should come from!” says Anderson.

The beautiful fountain plaza area of Bradley Fair

The beautiful fountain plaza area of Bradley Fair

June 21 | Brian Simpson

Celebrated keyboardist, composer and world class musician, Brian Simpson has been the ‘go-to’ man for everyone from Janet Jackson and Teena Marie to George Duke, Stanley Clarke and Dave Koz. Known for his ability to sculpt timeless love songs, soulful party anthems and melodies that stay on the mind, Brian is truly a master at his craft. A native of Illinois, Simpson’s music has always played a starring role in his life. “Our house was filled with music. My older brother and sister both played instruments...I never really considered any other lifestyle,” shares the keyboardist. Simpson’s breakthrough as a solo artist began in 2005 with the #1 radio hit “It’s All Good.” The song remained in the Top 5 on the Radio & Records Smooth Jazz Airplay chart for four months.

Scheduled to perform at Bradley Fair last year, Simpson’s concert was cancelled due to threatening weather. Organizers look forward to welcoming him back on June 21st for a beautiful evening of jazz.

June 28 | Alexander Zonjic

Bradley Fair welcomes for the first time renowned flutist Alexander Zonjic to the Summer Concert Series. Launching into the world of music as a 9-year old guitarist, Zonjic’s path took a turn towards classical training in his twenties. While on hiatus from a rock tour he was offered his first flute from a stranger on the street for nine dollars. “I liked how it looked in the case,” Zonjic recalls “I saw mastering it as a challenge and found an immediate passion and all-encompassing desire to play it.” Zonjic proved to be a gifted student of the flute and over the years has performed with orchestras nationwide.

From rock, R&B, classical to jazz, Zonjic’s artistry and creativity shines. In his 2009 release, Zonjic tips his hat to his adopted city of Detroit in Doin’ the D. The jazz album features guest appearances by saxophonist Kenny G, trumpeter Rick Braun and others. Zonjic will take the audience at Bradley Fair on a musical journey from sunny upbeat riffs to cruising soulful melodies.

July 5 | Celebrate America Concert and Fireworks

Dotsero, meaning “something unique,” takes their name from a small mountain town in Colorado. This group of award-winning musicians live up to their name, bringing style, energy, charisma, humor and spontaneity to each live performance. “Our goal is for our shows to be a total sensory experience,” says Stephen Watts, the band’s saxophone player. “The best thing is that anything can happen at one of our performances.” For over 18 years Dotsero has been performing and recording for audiences across the nation while racking up an impressive number of awards and honors along the way.

Dotsero’s contemporary jazz concert will be intermixed with patriotic tunes in celebration of our Nation’s birthday. Returning after 5 years, Dotsero is welcomed back for Bradley Fair’s Summer Concert Series finale. Following Dotsero’s July 5th concert, the skies over Bradley Fair will light up with a spectacular fireworks display to celebrate America. An ideal way to kick off the weekend early, the Thursday night concerts are free to the public and begin at 7:30 P.M. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for seating. Beverages are available for purchase in the plaza area and more than a dozen restaurants located in Bradley Fair will be open for pre-concert dining. Newport Grill will accept dinner reservations on their lake side patio and will pipe music from the concert to guests sitting inside as well. A printable concert schedule and a listing of Bradley Fair shops and restaurants can be found at www.bradleyfair.com.

The Bradley Fair Summer Concert Series has developed an outstanding reputation within the jazz community. Nationally renowned artists covet a spot on the schedule because of the hospitality and warm reception they receive in Wichita. Celebrated as the longest running outdoor free concert series in Wichita, Bradley Fair is proud to feature an atmosphere that can be shared across generations. From toddlers to toe-tapping gramps, all are welcome to enjoy the soothing sounds of jazz under the stars.

 
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