CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Tickets are on sale now for hot jazz in the cool Smoky Mountains this June as Western Carolina University hosts the CulloWHEE! ArtsFest, a summer celebration of live music and fine art featuring national recording artists The Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn, Joe Sample and Bio Ritmo.
The new outdoor festival, set for Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15, will be held on the campus of Western Carolina on intramural sports fields near the Ramsey Regional Activity Center.
Renowned keyboard player and composer Joe Sample and legendary saxophonist David Sanborn will be the headlining performers on the evening of Friday, June 14. Hot salsa jazz combo Bio Ritmo will perform on the afternoon of Saturday, June 15, with acclaimed vocal ensemble the Manhattan Transfer providing the nightcap.
The festival also will feature several regional and local jazz musicians performing both on the main stage and on a second stage within the Jazz Village, a large tented area where festival-goers can relax in the shade, enjoy a variety of food and beverage items, and view and purchase arts and crafts. Among the local acts will be Western Carolina's own Catamount Chamber Singers and Music Technology Ensemble.
A juried exhibit and sale, with nearly 25 arts and crafts vendors selected to participate, will feature a variety of fine art and craft media, including ceramics, glass, wood, fiber, metal, jewelry, baskets, handmade paper, iron, book arts, sculpture, photography and painting. Also on site will be a special children's area, with games, "yard toys" and a "make and take" crafts area.
"From The Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn and Joe Sample, who are true legends in the music industry, to such up-and-coming acts as Bio Ritmo, Hipshack and West End Mambo, we'll have something for everybody," said festival chairman Bill Clarke, who has worked with Asheville's Bele Chere and Charlotte's Cityfest Live.
The Manhattan Transfer, hailed as contemporary music's premier vocal ensemble, has produced more than 20 albums and collected 10 Grammy Awards over a career spanning 25-plus years. The Transfer made history in 1981, becoming the first group to win Grammys in both pop and jazz categories in the same year, with top 10 pop hit "Boy From New York City" and jazz number "Until I Met You (Corner Pocket)."
Also a multiple Grammy-winner, saxophonist David Sanborn is a veteran jazz performer with a career spanning more than a quarter century. Sanborn has sold nearly 7 million albums worldwide, with one platinum record and six gold albums to his credit, and is among the most respected instrumentalists in the music business.
Renowned keyboard player/composer Joe Sample is one of the most enduring artists of the jazz genre. Sample has entertained for more than four decades, first as a founding member of the groundbreaking fusion ensemble the Crusaders and, since the late 1960s, as a popular solo contemporary jazz musician.
With a sassy, salsa-flavored style featuring aggressive horns, relentless percussion, and fullthroated choruses, Bio Ritmo melds a traditional Cuban sound with the complex musical phrasing of modern jazz. Critics say Bio Ritmo "burns as hot as any band from Havana or New York."
Also performing at the CulloWHEE! ArtsFest will be the Cyndra Fyore Jazz Quartet (torch and cabaret style jazz), Hipshack (jazz-funk trio), Leonardo Suarez-Paz Quintet (Argentine tango with violin), Noel Freidline Quintet (classical jazz) and West End Mambo (Latin jazz).
Advance two-day tickets for the festival are $59, with children under age 13 admitted free of charge with paying adult. Group and student discounts are available, and single-day passes may be purchased for either Friday or Saturday. For information, contact Western Carolina's Ramsey Center at (828) 227-7722, or check out their website.
Tickets may be purchased at the Ramsey Center ticket office, online via Tickets.com (www.tickets.com), or toll-free at (888) 332-5200.