Liberty Jazz Festival

Jersey City, NJ
Sept 9-10, 2006

crowd_ny skylineThe  New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty formed a spectacular backdrop to the Liberty Jazz Festival which was held in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey on September 9-10, 2006.

The response to this first time event was overwhelming with over 14,000 people in attendance. Sponsored by Jersey’s Star Ledger newspaper and hosted by WQCD 101.9, the tri- state area’s main smooth jazz station.

The weekend  featured enthusiastic crowds, delicious food, outstanding scenery, balmy weather and of course great jazz!

Saturday’s show featured Gil Parris, Gato Barbieri and the legendary George Benson. Playing all of his classic songs for over an hour and a half, he got the crowd to their feet swinging and swaying to “Give Me The Night."

george benson

The All – Star Jam Finale featured Norman Brown, Patti Austin, Alex Bugnon  and Paul Taylor. The  CD 101.9 crew set up a tent where some of  the artists appeared for  “on the air” interviews before their performances. This was a great opportunity to meet and talk with favorite artists like Gerald Albright.

gerald albright


Jazz’s own Baldwin “Smitty” Smith flew in from Texas to join the festivities.  Paul Cavalcante and Deborah Rath from CD 101.9 were the featured DJ’s.

gerald albright, barry eastmond, baldwin "smitty" smith

Sunday’s line up included Stanley Jordon, David Sanborn and an All -Star Jam (guitars and saxes) with Jeff Golub, Richard Elliot, Peter White and Gerald Albright. This jam sizzled with each taking their turn in the spotlight making their instruments talk! The All-Star Finale included the RENDEZVOUS All-Stars: Waymen Tisdale, Kirk Whalum, Jonathan Butler and Brian Simpson.

richard elliot_peter whitegolub and white

peter white and deborah rath

paul taylor and cd 101.9joe kurasz patricia kurasz and gerald albright


The Liberty Jazz Festival was a “jazz happening”. But it was more than the music. It was people coming together in a special place, at a special time…the weekend before the 5th anniversary of 9/11. You couldn’t be there without feeling it.  It was people remembering the past, but also embracing our way of life and the healing power of music. Jazz is an expression of freedom and what better way to celebrate this  special part of who we are as Americans then at  the Liberty Jazz Festival. Promoted as the 1st Annual…next year’s is sure to be the hottest ticket around!!!

Donna K. Vaupel

All photos courtesy of Donna K. Vaupel

donna K vaupel

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-D.J. Fazio