The heart of New Rochelle was thumping thanks to the annual New Rochelle Jazz Fest.
Store fronts, coffee bars and restaurants were turned into stages where artists from as far away as France and local legends like Brian Carter performed. Local venues like, McKiernan's, and Gallery Café also participated in the event.
The Friday night festivities began at the ,where Free Jazz group Monticello filled the art lined walls with deep soulful rifts and rich brassy notes that echoed off the gallery walls.
"The music is different but it's good. I'm enjoying it. They really needed the park. They are just a little too loud for the space," said Ivar Hyden of New Rochelle.
The group played an improvised set that ebbed and flowed to allow the musicians to fully display their abilities.
“Music is like a conversation. You have moments were you stumble and fill the voids and times were it just flows,” said Merrill G. Penalver, drummer and Monticello front man.
Just a few hundred feet away at the – the mood was quite different.
Bass and saxophone solos were countered by tight vocal harmonies, infectious melodies and catchy rhythms of the group Avalanche.
People purchasing their evening coffee stopped and listen for a moment and some sat down to enjoy the weekend. Passersby looked on from the sidewalk as Paul Gross strummed his guitar and played his harmonica.
The program is part of New Rochelle Council on the Arts and the City Parks and Recreation Department’s "Jazz in July” program. The festival is a precursor to the “Jazz in August” program held in New Rochelle’s sister city La Rochelle, France.
Malo Mazurié, a La Rochelle resident, performed at Alvin’s and Friends.
The jazz will continue on Saturday and Sunday. Groups will perform from 1 p.m.–9:30 p.m. in Park. Admission is free and all are welcomed.