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Syracuse Jazz Fest on the bubble

The 28th annual jazz bash considers expanding back to three days at OCC

For 17 years, from 1992 to 2007, Syracuse Jazz Festival ran for three days each. When the recession swept Central NY in 2008, however, the festival trimmed back to two days, eliminating its Sunday finale. It ran for two days again last year.

While the economy remains stagnant, founder Frank Malfitano refuses to allow the festival to stagnate. He hopes to expand the 28th annual jazz bash to three days, June 25, 26 and 27, at Onondaga Community College.

"This year our headliners were available Saturday and Sunday, so we want to make Friday happen as well," said Malfitano, who will announce the 2010 headline acts at a downtown press conference Friday morning, March 26.

"Going back to three days means more main-stage acts, more scholastic acts, more clinics and more attendees, all of which adds up to more economic development for the region," Malfitano said. "Frankly, I see the third day as crucial to the festival's ongoing growth and expansion program. If we stay with just two days, I'll consider that a failure."

Malfitano and festival educational coordinator Steve Frank have contacted 14 local student ensembles to perform at the 2010 fest. Since making its debut at OCC in 2001 with an appearance by Wynton Marsalis, the festival's award-winning scholastic program has nurtured hundreds of aspiring jazz artists.

"If we book all three days" Steve Frank said, "there will be more than 250 student musicians performing for festival audiences, attending clinics and jam sessions and 'rubbing elbows' with, and learning from, some of the biggest names in the world of jazz."

Along with the OCC Jazz Band, other scholastic acts hoping to appear at this year's festival are the Henninger High School Jazz Ensemble, the Syracuse Parks & Recreation Department's Stan Colella All-Star Band, the Westhill High School Jazz Ensemble, the Solvay High School Jazz Combo, the Corcoran High School Jazz Ensemble;

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