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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

You're Invited To Free Roosevelt Island Jazz & World Music Festival September 22 -24 At Gallery RIVAA And Outdoors At Mediation Steps - Come Enjoy Music From A Diverse Mosaic Of Cultures

The first annual Roosevelt Island Jazz & World Music Festival hosted by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and Gallery RIVAA is taking place Thursday September 22 - Saturday September 24. The schedule of performers for the free festival are:

Bruce Edwards and The Uptown Groove - Thursday, Sept. 22nd @ 7:00 PM RIVAA Gallery (527 Main St.)

Julio Botti and the South American Jazz Ensemble - Friday, Sept. 23rd @ 7:00 PM RIVAA Gallery (527 Main St.)

Gallery RIVAA Jazz Salonists - Saturday, Sept. 24th @ 11:00 AM Meditation Steps (near 505 Main St.)

Kiran Ahluwalia Band - Saturday, Sept. 24th @ 12:30 PM Meditation Steps (near 505 Main St.)

Roni Ben-Hur Quintet performing Sounds of Brazil - Saturday, Sept. 24th @ 2:30 PM Meditation Steps (near 505 Main St.)

Roosevelt Island resident and musician Susheel Kurien is curating and co-producing the Festival which he plans to make an annual event. I spoke with Mr. Kurien about the Festival last evening at the Mediation Steps. Here's what he had to say.

RIOC press release adds:
First Annual R.I. Jazz & World Music Festival

In conjunction with the 11th Annual Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), in collaboration with Gallery RIVAA, will host the First Annual R.I. Jazz & World Music Festival on September 22-24, 2016. This unique New York City music event, with its variety of programming and venues, will kick-off with two evening performances at the RIVAA Gallery and conclude with a trio of acts on Saturday afternoon, September 24th, as part of the 11th Annual Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival.

Following this year’s Fall for Arts Festival theme, the R.I. Jazz and World Music Festival is programmed to reflect the cultural diversity of our city, particularly on Roosevelt Island.  On Thursday, September 22nd at 7:00 pm at Gallery RIVAA (527 Main St.) guitarist and award winning composer Bruce Edwards and his Uptown Groove band (Dan Walsh on Saxophone, Essiet Okon Essiet on Bass, and Reggie Nicholson on Drums) will lay down classic jazz/funk grooves, in addition to selections from the Great American Songbook.

On Friday, September 23rd at 7:00 pm, the same venue hosts innovative Argentinian saxophonist Julio Botti, joined by the South American Jazz Ensemble. Latin Grammy nominated saxophonist and composer Julio Botti has taken his love of South American rhythms and modern jazz and created an electrifying new quartet that fuses the ethnic rhythms of the Southern Cone with Tango. The quartet features three other young forces in the New York City Jazz scene; Andrew Baird (Guitar), Eduardo Withrington (Keys), and Tiago Michelin (Drums).

R.I. Jazz & World Music Fest will come to an eclectic conclusion on Saturday, September 24th, during the Fall for Arts Festival. The program resumes at 11:00 am with the Gallery RIVAA Jazz Salonists, who have entertained Roosevelt Island residents for over three years at Gallery RIVAA’s First Sunday Jazz Salon events. The band, which features electric violin, tenor sax, guitar, upright bass, and drums, shares their love of the classics with its repertoire of great jazz standards and straight ahead jazz.

We are also proud to present award winning vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia, performing her unique hybrid of Indian grooves and Saharan desert blues, mixed with elements of Jazz, starting at 12:30 pm. On stage she is accompanied by the beautiful harmonies and addictive guitar riffs of partner Rez Abbasi, the trancelike rhythms of the Sahara masterfully played by Nitin Mitta on tabla, and the melodic accordion player Will Holshouser.

The Festival will conclude with internationally acclaimed guitarist Roni Ben-Hur performing his Sounds of Brazil, with the Roni Ben-Hur Quintet, taking the stage at 2:30 pm. Renowned for his golden tone, improvisational brilliance, and compositional lyricism, Ben-Hur is a master of Brazilian Bossa Nova and Samba jazz. The quintet features internationally established Mexican vocalist Magos Herrera, drummer Helio Schiavo, and Itaiguara Brandão on bass.

All September 24th performances will take place on the Meditation Steps, just south of 501 Main St. R.I. Jazz and World Music Fest events are free to the public, however, there will be limited seating at Gallery RIVAA, with entrance on a first come, first serve basis. Music curated and co-produced  by Susheel Kurien/Half Diminished Productions.

The Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival is a much-loved tradition, featuring live mural painting, hands-on arts and crafts workshops for children and adults of all ages, and live entertainment. This year our mural theme is “Mosaic Vignettes: Scenes of New York City”, which will celebrate our collaborative and diverse community. All events take place at the Lawn South of Rivercross (near 505 Main St.) and Blackwell Park & Plaza (500 Main St.) on Saturday, September 24, 2016 from 11 AM – 4 PM. For more information visit

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) was created in 1984 by the State of New York as a public benefit corporation with a mission to plan, design, develop, operate, and maintain Roosevelt Island. With a focus on innovative and environmentally friendly solutions, RIOC is committed to providing services that enhance the island's residential community. RIOC manages the two-mile long island's roads, parks, buildings, a sports facility, and public transportation, including the iconic aerial tramway. Additionally, RIOC operates a Public Safety Department that helps maintain a safe and secure environment for residents, employees, business owners, and visitors.

The Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (RIVAA) is a non-profit organization comprised of an internationally diverse group of artists. RIVAA opened the first gallery on Roosevelt Island in March 2002 and is dedicated to elevating the quality of life in the community through art, music, poetry, dance, events and workshops.
Come and enjoy the First Annual Roosevelt Island Jazz & World Music Festival at Gallery RIVAA and the Mediation Steps from Thursday September 22 - Saturday September 24. Bring your family, friends and neighbors too.

You'll have a great time!!!