A visit to Falmouth this autumn might put you in the area during Jazztober Fest Weekend, which takes place on Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21. This event, which is free unless you participate in a special Sunday brunch, brings regional and national jazz musicians and groups to the Cape, making it well worth a visit.
Formerly called JazzFest Falmouth, the event was canceled in 2017 and brought back under a different format this year. Since 2018 will host the first Jazztober Fest Weekend, you can be part of history by attending.
If you can score a vacation home anywhere near Falmouth's town center, you'll be just minutes from the many venues that host jazz concerts throughout the weekend. Rentals in Woods Hole, Teaticket, East Falmouth, and even neighboring towns like Mashpee and Bourne, also keep you close to the action, as you are only a few minutes’ drive from world-class jazz.
Everything gets started at noon on Saturday, October 20 with a sidewalk sale between Main Street and Queens Buyway in downtown Falmouth. During the sale, you can wander down the street and have a look at the scarecrows that various businesses have put up. You can even vote for your favorite through the official Jazztober Fest Facebook page.
The Jazz Stroll
Of course, the main event associated with Jazztober Fest Weekend is the Jazz Stroll, which is a free event that mostly takes place at various locations on Main Street and Palmer Avenue. It all begins at 4:00 at Liam Maguire’s, where Roger Gamache and some of his friends will take the stage. The show runs until about 7:00, so stop in and have a bite to eat while enjoying some world-class jazz.
From 5:00 ‘til 6:15 PM, you can listen to the Falmouth Academy Jazz Combo play at the Falmouth Bus Depot or the Pat Ryan Trio at BuyWay Barber, which sits at 49 North Main Street. The Jazz Combo is made up of students of Falmouth Academy who have taken a particular interest in jazz and spend their spare time practicing and learning about this style of music. There is also a jazz photography exhibit at this venue. The Pat Ryan Trio also features Dave Scandurra and Rich Hill and is known for its unique takes on some of the world’s most well-known jazz songs.
At 5:30 PM, the Andrew Sexton Trio will perform at VagabondView Photography & Rural Roots. Sexton is the vocalist in this group, which also features Craig Hamilton on the acoustic bass and Alec Zeuli playing flute and saxophone.
The Palmer House Inn will host a show at 5:45 PM by a jazz duo made up of Alan Clinger and Rod McCaulley. These two individuals specialize in mainstream jazz, so you’re sure to recognize nearly every song performed at this show.
Head over to Falmouth Museums on the Green at 6:00 PM for a show by Vintage Slang, a quartet that combines jazz with the unique sounds of soul and funk. You’ll marvel as you hear this group bring classics by Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye together with newer music by Anderson .Paak and Outkast.
The Bill Taylor Trio, which focuses on the saxophone stylings of Taylor himself, will perform at Eight Cousins at 189 Main Street. This show gets underway at 6:15 and will run until about 7:30.
Two Cool, featuring Steve Gregory, owner of Score Music Studios, and Eileen Fendler, a teacher of the Total Body Dance program, will have a performance at Puritan Cape Cod at 6:30. This guitar and voice duo is known all over New England and focuses on both newer favorites and classic songs.
Dawna Hammers Band will be at The Black Dog at 214 Main Street from 6:45 until 8:00. This band plays a little bit of everything, and even has some original material that you’re sure to love if you can make it down for the show.
The Gallery on Main will bring The Glenway Fripp Trio to the stage at 7:00. This show is entirely instrumental, featuring Fripp on the piano, Don Cross on the drums, and Jim Peterson playing bass. You're sure to hear favorites by Coltrane and Monk at the show but can expect Fripp to include some of his original songs, as well.
As you can see, the Jazz Stroll is packed with musicians and, best of all, it’s all free. Your only problem will be figuring out which bands you want to hear this time around.
Sunday Concerts and Events
It might seem like the Saturday event provided more than enough music, but the weekend isn’t quite over yet because Sunday features three more jazz performances. The Sunday shows will be held at indoor venues during brunch, making them a great way to start your day.
The Coonamessett Inn will have a show by the Tish Adams Trio, a Rhode Island-based group with deep ties to Cape Cod, starting at noon. Adams is a classic jazz vocalist who will perform originals, in addition to some well-known gems, in a style that you are sure to enjoy.
Alternatively, you can head for brunch at Pickle Jar Kitchen, where Triple-Slide is performing. This duo, which is made up of Rusty Strange and Tom Goux, play classics by musicians like Johnny Mercer and Fats Waller on the slide guitar, with Goux also providing vocals. John Dirac will join the duo for this show.
John MacNamara will also have a show on Sunday, which gets started at 1:00 PM at Liam Maguire’s. If you’re a little late waking up on Sunday, you can still experience some jazz while enjoying your brunch.
Enjoy Some Jazz This Fall
While Falmouth might not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of jazz festivals, Jazztober Fest Weekend is a good time and is worth a visit if you’re on Cape Cod this October.
There’s something incredibly peaceful about walking through this historic district in Falmouth and enjoying the sounds from some of the area’s most talented artists, and that is what you’ll find here on October 20, 2018.