The 28th Pine Grill Jazz Reunion kicks off today at Martin Luther King Park at 3pm and runs a second sunday August 13th 3-9pm. The free festival pays tribute to the Historic Pine Grill Club on Jefferson Avenue. The Hammond B3 was often feature at the club so this year Buffalo's own Hammond B3 legend Ronnie Foster. Foster has had great career, performing with such famous names as George Benson, Stanley Turrentine and Grant Green. He has recorded albums under his own name for Blue Note, Columbia and Projazz. He currently lives in Las Vegas.
The festival has anther international name on the Hammond B3 organ, Akiko Tsuruga. She was born in Osaka, Japan, and has been a mainstay in the New York jazz scene since 2001. Tsuruga was mentored by the legendary Lonnie Smith, a Lackawanna native who's another familiar face to the Pine Grill crowd.
This year brings a return appearance by Niki Haris, the daughter of pianist Gene Harris (though she spells her name differently). Performing for the festival in 2014, Haris proved herself a showstopper. Another tried-and-true entertainer is Ray Schinnery, a bluesman who plays in the style of B.B. King. Schinnery always brings down the house.
On the second Sunday of the festival, it's traditional to feature beloved performers based in the Buffalo area. The Aug. 13 lineup includes the Carol McLaughlin Quintet, Buffalo Soul Revue, Brian Freeman and Friends, Will Holton and Intuition.