Friday, August 17, 5 – 10 p.m.
Saturday, August 18, noon – 10 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 601 Ninth Street, Rock Island IL
Sunday, August 19, 3 – 8 p.m.
The Redstone Room, 129 Main Street, Davenport IA
Held in honor of the late Quad Cities native commonly known as “The Jazz Professor,” Polyrhythms hosts a collection of inspired jazz talents in this year's Bill Bell Jazz & Heritage Festival, an August 17 through 19 weekend celebration at Rock Island's Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Davenport's Redstone Room boasting cultural presentations, family activities, and concert sets with musical luminaries including Chicago great Frank Russell.
His Bill Bell Jazz & Heritage Festival performance taking place at the Restone Room on August 19, jazz bassist Russell began playing professionally while still in high school, and has subsequently performed or recorded with the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Ramsey Lewis, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Peter Erskine, Wallace Roney, Alphonse Mouzon, Billy Foster, and Quintin Primo III. Russell's debut CD Covering All Basses was released in 2005, while his sophomore follow-up Circle Without End arrived in 2011, and the artist is a past recipient of the Hennessy Best of Chicago Jazz Search. According to the Gary Observer, “Russell does literally cover all basses – acoustics, fretless, and four- and five-string electric instruments – while moving with ease through traditional, urban, and Latin-jazz arrangements. His sensational work … reveals a fluid creativity not commonly found among most bass players.”
In addition to Sunday's concert with the Frank Russell Quintet, the Redstone Room will host sets with James Culver & Friends and the Songbird Quartet, with a variety of events scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. On Friday, the Bill Bell Jazz & Heritage Festival presents outdoor concerts with the Curtis Hawkins Band, George Rankin & the Cats, and performers from the Metropolitan Youth Program. And on Saturday, the park will house youth activities, a Terange House Drum Circle, a “Champions of Autism” forum, and concert sets with Alysha Monique, Funktastic Five, BEEs, the Manny Lopez Septet, and the reigning Miss Iowa Mikhayla Houghes-Shaw.
“Our grandparents and parents contributed greatly, both physically and creatively, to the building of the Quad Cities,” says festival organizer Shellie Moore-Guy, “and we wish to sow the seeds of our unique culture for generations to come. We are dedicated to creating and growing an exciting and sustainable event that audiences, locally and regionally, can relate to. We are building and growing a festival reflective of, and befitting, the cultural diversity that builds and sustains the Quad-City area.”
Admission to all of the concerts and activities in the Bill Bell Jazz & Heritage Festival is free, and more information is available by visiting Facebook.com/polyjazzheritagefest.