The Balcones Heights Jazz Festival has come of age. For 21 years, David Munoz, host of Sunday Morning Jazz with Q101.9, has emceed the event. The free concerts will take place every Friday at 7:30 p.m. The series started on July 10 and will continue though August 7.
Every summer the festival’s laid back and family friendly atmosphere welcomes 3,000-4,000 jazz fans – surpassing Balcones Heights’ entire population of 3,000.
Lorenzo Nastasi, director of community initiatives for the City of Balcones Heights, said Acoustic Jungle is a South Texas group who bring jazz traditions from Latin America and Spain. They open the show at 7:30 p.m.
“Acoustic Jungle plays light jazz, world beat, and flamenco,” Nastasi said. “Their warm tones and earthy textures will take you to a sandy beach in the Caribbean.”
Nastasi said vocalist and bassist Slim Man performed last week.
“He has been a fixture at the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival for many years. He’s always been very popular,” he said.
The fans of the Jazz Festival are as die-hard as the performers.
“A couple of years ago, we scheduled jazz guitarist Steve Oliver, but we had to cancel due to rain,” Nastasi said. “Oliver set up under the awning and played the show anyway. There was only about 100 people but everyone had a great time.”
Greg Adams will take the stage at 9 p.m. Friday with music ranging from funk to smooth jazz. He has performed with Wilson Pickett, Rod Stewart, Bonnie Raitt, and countless other stars as diverse as his career.
“He started out as a founding member of Tower of Power,” Nastasi said. “He’s had 14 albums with Tower of Power and six albums on his own.”
The soul band’s fans will know Adams as a trumpet and flugelhorn player and a music arranger. “What Is Hip?” earned him a Grammy nomination in 1973. His album, “Hidden Agenda,” reached number one on the U.S. smooth jazz charts.
Adams latest album with East Bay Soul, “That’s Life,” is a collection of 11 songs that fuses his love for vintage soul and pop with powerful horns and gorgeous orchestration.
Come early, stay late. Outdoor seating on the amphitheater lawn is on a first-come, first-served basis. Nastasi said there’s plenty of free parking for this free event.
“And we have lots of vendors nearby who sell food and drink,” he said. “Bring your blankets or lawn chairs.”
Visit the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival website for upcoming shows and more information.
*Featured/top image: The Balcones Heights Jazz Festival kicks off outdoor Amphitheater at Wonderland of the Americas. Photo courtesy of the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival Facebook page.