2016-09-09 / Community

Jazz Festival Returns To Rockaway

By Daniel Offner


Kevin Batchelor and Simon Chardiet of the Ancient Jazz Quartet perform at the 2016 Rockaway Beach Jazz Festival. 
Photos By Daniel Offner Kevin Batchelor and Simon Chardiet of the Ancient Jazz Quartet perform at the 2016 Rockaway Beach Jazz Festival. Photos By Daniel Offner Despite looming threats of high winds and rain, brought on by a potential hurricane, more than a hundred beachgoers came out to Low Tide Bar at the Beach 97th Street concessions, on Saturday, Sept. 3, for the third annual Rockaway Beach Jazz Festival. Since its inception, the Jazz Festival has continued to attract world-class musicians from New York and beyond, to the shores of Rockaway Beach. And this year was no different—featuring four hours of jazz music from three different bands, including the Ancient Jazz Quartet, Brooklyn-based trio 718, and the reggae inspired sound of the Richard Bennett Quintet. Festival organizer and saxophone player Tim Otto, said that he searches throughout the year, to try and recruit emerging jazz musicians in the area to perform the festival. “We wanted to bring jazz to Rockaway,” Otto said. “People [in Rockaway] love listening to music. There is a very appreciative audience out here.” Since moving to Rockaway Beach, from his native Australia, Otto has continued “gigging” throughout the city for more than 25 years. Otto said that it was through his experience—performing a variety of different venues, with a number of different bands—that he came up with the idea to host a Jazz music festival on the beach. “We did the first one here [at Low Tide Bar] in 2013…and we plan to be here again next year,” Otto said. “We want this to become a Labor Day tradition, every year.”This year’s festivities had concertgoers dancing, skating and moving to the music with electric performances by the Ancient Jazz Quartet featuring Kevin Batchelor on trumpet, Earl Appleton on keys, Simon Chardiet on bass and Rockaway’s own Mike Severino on the drums; followed by the funky sounds of 718, featuring pianist Matthew Fries, winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Phil Palombi on bass and Eric Halvorson on drums; all leading up to the Richard Bennett Quintet, featuring drummer Alex Wyatt, bassist Adam Armstrong, Matt Parker on tenor/soprano sax, Lisa Parrott on alto/baritone sax and bandleader Richard Bennett on the piano/melodica.



Great American Jazz Piano Competition Winner Matthew Fries. Great American Jazz Piano Competition Winner Matthew Fries.

The Richard Bennett Quartet The Richard Bennett Quartet

718 bassist Phil Palombi delivers a funky groove. 718 bassist Phil Palombi delivers a funky groove.

Bassist Simon Chardiet getting down. Bassist Simon Chardiet getting down.

Bandleader Richard Bennett Bandleader Richard Bennett

Earl Appleton and drummer Mike Severino perform at the 2016 Rockaway Beach Jazz Festival. Earl Appleton and drummer Mike Severino perform at the 2016 Rockaway Beach Jazz Festival.

718 drummer Eric Halvorson. 718 drummer Eric Halvorson.

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