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News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, June 7, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, June 7, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, June 7, 2018
Jazz festival lineup announced
Tickets on sale now

Pianist David Virelles

The Deer Isle Jazz Festival kicks off Friday, August 3, with a vibrant evening soaked in the rhythms of Afro-Cuban jazz with David Virelles and Román Díaz.

Photo courtesy of Opera House Arts

The 18th annual Deer Isle Jazz Festival ranges from Afro-Cuban rhythms to modern jazz improvisation and links world-class artists with up-and-coming local players, according to a news release from Opera House Arts.

This summer, the festival features two nights of performances, curated by award-winning music critic and journalist Larry Blumenfeld.

On Friday, August 3, pianist David Virelles performs in duo with acclaimed master percussionist Román Díaz for a concert soaked in Afro-Cuban folkloric tradition as re-imagined for the 21st century.

Virelles absorbed Afro-Cuban cultural traditions in his native Santiago, Cuba, attended the island’s storied classical conservatories, and then fell in love with jazz masters such as Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. His frequent collaborator is Román Díaz, a master percussionist from Havana.

In keeping with tradition, the Friday night concert features an opening set by George Stevens Academy jazz combo Quinn and the Tuplettes, directed by Steve Orlofsky, with musicians Erika Hipsky, Sophia Steinbarger, Elana Williamson, Nellie Haldane, Isla Brownlow, and Quinn Stabler.

On Saturday, August 4, Myra Melford’s Snowy Egret quintet takes the Opera House stage. For more than two decades, Melford has been among jazz’s most accomplished and daring pianists and composers.

Her quintet includes guitarist Liberty Ellman, bassist Stomu Takeishi, trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and drummer Gerald Cleaver.

The Saturday night concert will have an opening set with a backstory. Drummer Joseph Boulet is a graduate of George Stevens Academy who last appeared on the Opera House stage in the 2015 Jazz Festival as part of the GSA opening act. At that concert, Boulet connected with acclaimed multi-insrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum, who was performing with Dafnis Prieto’s headlining act. The two have become close friends and collaborators. Now, three years later, they bring a special set to the stage.

Tickets can be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the Opera House Box Office, at the corner of Main and School streets in downtown Stonington (Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). To purchase tickets online, or for further information and a full schedule of events, including ticket prices, visit