Thursday, June 22, 2017

“Jazz in July” at THE BLACK BOX

THE BLACK BOX, downtown Franklin’s theater, music, and event venue, presents two evenings of great jazz to kick off the second annual Summer Concert Series.

Beginning on Friday, July 7 at 8 p.m., “Jazz in July” at THE BLACK BOX features Steven Kirby’s “Illuminations” Project with special guest, vocalist Aubrey Johnson. Steven Kirby is an award-winning guitarist/composer and Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music. He has appeared on more than 25 released recordings and toured in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Caribbean, Europe, China and Arica. Kirby’s music is most often categorized as contemporary jazz, but it is influenced by a variety of genres. His compositions have won awards in the International Songwriting Competition, Billboard Song Contest and DownBeat, and his music has been played on over 100 radio stations in this country and internationally. 
Steven Kirby’s “Illuminations” Project
Steven Kirby’s “Illuminations” Project

The “Illuminations” Project is Kirby’s newest compositional and performance endeavor. Described as “richly textured, multi-layered, ebullient and lyrical jazz,” it showcases original compositions and arrangements, as well as some creative arrangements of standard tunes, using a quintet of instrumentalists and a singer performing both wordless and lyrical vocals. “Illuminations” was recently an Editor’s Pick in the prestigious jazz publication, DownBeat.

THE BLACK BOX Summer Concert Series continues on Friday, July 21 at 8 p.m. with the renowned Kenny Hadley Big Band. The critically acclaimed 16-piece ensemble, led by drummer Kenny Hadley, boasts masterful musicians with performance ties to Big Band legends Woody Herman, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich and more. 

The Kenny Hadley Big Band has shared the stage with such notables as the Count Basie Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Orchestra and has hosted guest soloists including Clark Terry and Louie Bellson. Hadley was 14 when he first heard Buddy Rich’s band play live. He caught Duke Ellington at The Boston Globe Jazz Festival and saw Basie, Kenton and Ferguson, among the greats, at the tail end of that era. 

Forming his own band at 23, Hadley has grown that ensemble to showcase a distinguished rotation of some 45 or 50 players. Now more than 30 years later, the Kenny Hadley Big Band continues to wow audiences and keep the big band tradition alive.

THE BLACK BOX, the home of the Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC), is located at 15 West Central Street. Tickets to “Jazz in July” summer concerts are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. A cash bar is available. For more information, including additional Summer Concert Series event programming, or to purchase tickets, call (508) 528-3370 or visit

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