Free Al Fresco Jazz: A Vibrant Tradition In Bushnell Park (via CT Now)

When the great alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley led his celebrated quintet in a soul-drenched concert on the streets of north Hartford in 1967, no one could possibly have imagined that this was the first step in the dramatic evolution of what would become two remarkable, free outdoor jazz festivals in Bushnell Park: the venerable Monday Night Jazz Series and its younger, no less vibrant sibling, the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz.

Now almost a half-century since Adderley’s street concert, these two major summer jazz fests draw thousands of fans every year to the downtown park for festivities that include more than free, high quality music. Many fans are, for example, also attracted by the warm camaraderie that prevails, a palpable sense of community among concert-goers, including not only friends and family, but also total strangers.

Historically, jazz has somehow always inspired ethnic and color-blind bonding, something that the two festivals have been doing quite well for decades in Bushnell Park.

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