Art and Jazz Fest strikes up the bands
The Bad Apples Brass Band playing at Art & Jazz on the Avenue.
Photo by The Bad Apples Brass Band
Downtown Delray Beach’s popular Art & Jazz on the Avenue largely became a victim of COVID-19 the past 2½ years.
Next date for the event, which occurs on the fourth Wednesday of October, December, May and July, is July 27 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Art & Jazz on the Avenue is a free outdoor event at various downtown areas. The July 27 location is along West Atlantic Avenue in a closed-street format between West Third Avenue and West Sixth Avenue.
“Art & Jazz on the Avenue has always been a highlight for locals and visitors,” says Laura Simon, the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, "along with a piece of the fabric which revitalized downtown.”
The art will include a large mural painted live by West Palm Beach-born street artist RIPES and the work of more than 30 other local artists. Vendors, merchants, retailers and restaurants will display their cultural and culinary artistry, including classic cars by Delray Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Jazz performances stretch from solo to big band, although not necessarily in a traditional swing format. The Resolvers, a 15-year-old South Florida act making their first appearance at Art & Jazz on the Avenue, describe themselves as “big band reggae.”
The Resolvers scream.
Photo by The Revolvers
“That’s mainly because of the size of the band,” guitarist/vocalist and founding member Ron Eisner says with a laugh about the 10-piece band. “But we like to say that we’re a musical mix of New Orleans and Jamaica, and South Florida is right in between those destinations. And we don’t shy away from jazzy improvisational sections in our live shows. We love Delray Beach and know that Art & Jazz on the Avenue is a very popular event. We’re looking forward to it.”
Formed as a quintet in 2007, The Resolvers have grown in popularity as they have opened for major reggae stars and appeared at festivals from the United States to Jamaica. Joining Eisner in the band are singing siblings Ojay and Sahara Smith, trombonist Daniel Larghi, trumpeter David Burgos, saxophonist Devon Heinrichs, keyboardist/vocalist Dean Fishback, keyboardist Jayme Glusman, bassist Steve Nieratka, and drummer/vocalist Nate Largent.
The Resolvers were named best reggae band in 2013 by New Times magazine.
“We started out of Deerfield Beach,” Eisner says. “Eventually, Sahara, Ojay’s little sister, started coming onstage to sing a song or two, and she rocked it every time. So she joined the band, and then we brought in a horn section and a second keyboard player, and everything’s felt so fun and so right that we’ve never looked back.”
The Resolvers will close the main stage at the Libby Wesley Amphitheater at West Atlantic and Southwest Fifth avenues at 7 p.m., preceded by a 5:30 set by the Mervyn Johnston Trio. The second main stage, at the Delray Beach Police Station at 300 W. Atlantic Ave., starts with the Cape Band at 5:30 p.m. The festival’s second headliner, the Miami-based Bad Apples Brass Band, takes that stage at 7 p.m.
The Bad Apples Brass Band, a 12-year-old New Orleans-style marching band, can’t be confined to one location. Its core, all-acoustic trio will stroll the street, like a second line Mardi Gras parade, starting at 5:30 p.m. The full lineup (tuba player Branden Stair, saxophonist Kevin Muncy, trumpeters Austin Muthyala and Evan Taylor, trombonist John Normandin, and percussionists Shay Eischen, Jordan Chin and Waldron Dunkley) will stroll at 7 p.m. before the stage finale.
“We played Art & Jazz on the Avenue the most recent time they held it in May,” Muncy says, “and it was a lot of fun. We’ll start out with just tuba, saxophone and drums, then build it from there.”
Also performing are singer/guitarist and Berklee College of Music grad Morgan Minsk (5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Amazon Hub, 401 W. Atlantic Ave.) and steel drummer Brian Haddis (6 to 8 p.m. at Bear’s Food Shack, 540 W. Atlantic Ave.). For more information, visit downtowndelraybeach.com/artandjazz.