Traditional jazz and swing bands routinely showcase horn and saxophone sections. But when the 12th annual Seneca Savings January Jazzfest gets underway Sunday, Jan. 21, at Mohegan Manor, a stringed instrument will take center stage.
As the festival hosted by CNY Jazz Central begins at 1 p.m. that day, the manor’s lower level will feature the jazz guitar as a solo instrument and an ensemble concept as demonstrated by Drew Serafini, Theo Curtin, and Jeff Martin, along with bassist August Bish, who will finish their segment as Tres Guitars, their new ensemble.
The festivities last until 8 p.m. with continuous music on every level of the historic old Odd Fellows Hall. Each floor sports a distinct style and theme.
Serafini took up the six-string about 22 years ago, when he was 13 years old. He graduated from Ithaca College’s School of Music in 2010 before pursuing his professional jazz career.
An unusually versatile musician, Serafini teaches guitar, bass, mandolin and ukulele at Music & Arts, 4106 Route 31 Suite 901, in Clay. He has taught students of various levels there since 2017.
Meanwhile, the first-floor barroom will spotlight Central New York’s finest jazz singers. Scott Dennis, Kirsten Tegtmeyer, Julie Howard and Aaron Ruiz will share the mike backed by Joe Cortini’s aptly named Jazz Mafia.
The second-level banquet room will be home base for Cheri Giraud, the powerhouse cabaret belter now finishing her first full-length live album at Hobin Studios. She’ll be playing selections from that release with the Dan Pugh Trio.
For the first time at this annual event, the top floor Morris Ballroom will be set up with room for dancing to the horn-driven sounds of Brass Inc, led by Walter Tanner with Dee Engelbrecht on lead vocals.
The evening will conclude as former students of the organization’s educational programs mix it up in an alumni jam session. CNY Jazz Youth Orchestra lead tenorman Luke Riley, now studying at SUNY Purchase, will organize the session.
“This day of music always represents a wide cross-section of styles and a mix of intergenerational talent,” said Larry Luttinger, CNY Jazz founder and director. “Patrons get a wristband to come and go as they please, parking is ample and free, and as I always say, if the the flavor in one room isn’t for you, you can wander this huge facility for something completely different just yards away.”
Advance-sale tickets for the all-day event cost $25 at cnyjazz.org. Admission at the door costs $30; cnyjazz.org; 315-479-JAZZ.