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Free 2018 Portsmouth Jazz & Blues Festival at Portwalk Place Set for Veterans Day

PORTSMOUTH, NH – In its second year, the Portsmouth Jazz & Blues Festival at Portwalk Place features more than a dozen blues and jazz artists performing at eight stages inside Portwalk Place hotels and restaurants on Veterans Day, Sunday November 11 from noon to 6 pm. The revived music festival is sponsored by Cathartes, the private, Boston-based real estate developer that built Portwalk Place, (tucked between Deer and Hanover Streets),in cooperation with Richard Smith, head of Cuzin Richard Entertainment Associates (CREA), since 1976, in Portsmouth.

The original Portsmouth Jazz Festival (1982-1992) began on Ceres Street and was founded by hospitality entrepreneurs Dick and Jill Gallant, Mike Smith and Peter Rice and produced by CREA. The Blues Festival, presented from 1986 to 2006 at various outdoor settings, was the brainchild of historian Valerie Cunningham and blues music maker, activist and educator, TJ Wheeler. When it was staged at Strawbery Banke museum, the Blues Festival was produced by CREA.

The 2018 festival is free and open to the public. Brochures listing performers, performance times and stages are available on site and in advance at participating Portwalk Place businesses. Once again, all performances feature local and regional headliners – most are recording and touring artists, and were Standing Room Only last year. Parking is available at the Portwalk Garage, with an entrance on Hanover Street, and at the Vaughan Street Parking Lot near the Deer Street entrance.

The line-up this year includes three return performers: the Russ Grazier Quartet & the PMAC Jazz Institute Band; southern style blues singer and guitarist, Pete Peterson, and Charlie Jennison, who performs with jazz vocalist Shelli LaTorre and in two following sets with jazz pianist Mark Shilansky and singer Sarah Kervin. New on the bill this year is the jazz and blues Andrew Emanuel Quartet; country blues duo BAZA; the Matt Langley Jazz Quartet with Jody Bregler and the delta-infused Michael Vincent Band. Rounding out the schedule is a long-awaited return performance by the celebrated chanteuse, teacher, producer, recording artist and songwriter, Carri Coltrane, in her eponymous trio featuring Woody Allen on guitar and Gary Gemmiti on drums.

Smith is particularly pleased that the revived festival attracted so many music lovers last year and that it continues with the support of Cathartes. “This festival, made possible by Cathartes, pays tribute to performing artists who put Portsmouth on the map. It’s so important to continue what the original festival organizers created all those years ago because we’re still harvesting a wealth of local and regional talent. It’s a big part of why people really love being here. It benefits everyone.”

Managers at participating Portwalk Place fest venues welcomed the capacity turnout. “The PMAC crew was a big hit last year,” says Trevor Cross, general manager at Marriott Residence Inn. “The festival allowed local residents and hotel guests the chance to listen to variety of music in one central location.” Andrew Levinson, manager at Profile Coffee and Wine Bar adds: "Last year's festival brought Portwalk Place to life with great music and energy.  Profile was thrilled to be a host venue."

In addition to presenting another stellar line-up of local and regional talents, festival organizers are commemorating the national holiday with a ticketed evening concert after the free festival to benefit Veterans Count (, a charity supporting veterans. “To Honor Their Service: An Evening of Jazz & Blues” features a double bill with longtime Seacoast favorite, Combo Sabroso, led by pianist Matt Jenson and featuring Cuban trumpeter Yaure Muniz (of Buena Vista Social Club and Afro-Cuban Allstars fame) performing Latin jazz and the legendary, eight-piece, Roomful of Blues at the Portsmouth Harbor Events and Conference Center on Portwalk Place. The concert starts at 6:30 and ends at 10 pm; tickets are $30 in advance and available at The ticket price on the night of the concert is $40, cash only; sales to start at 6 pm.

For more information, contact Richard Smith at CREA, (603) 436-8596/