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Jazz Fest 2012: Songbird flies with Sunshine Superman

Downtown After Dark

Kenny G, pictured, and Donovan will headline the 30th annual Syracuse Jazz Festival, June 22 and 23, respectively, at Jamesville Beach.

Kenny G, pictured, and Donovan will headline the 30th annual Syracuse Jazz Festival, June 22 and 23, respectively, at Jamesville Beach. Provided

The best-selling jazz musician of all time and an icon of the psychedelic Sixties will headline the 30th anniversary M&T Bank Syracuse Jazz Festival when Kenny G and Donovan perform at Jamesville Beach on June 22 and 23, respectively. As usual, admission will be free.

Syracuse Jazz Fest Director Frank Malfitano announced the 2012 schedule at a press conference today, April 3, at the M&T Bank branch, downtown.

“Our headliners are household names,” Malfitano told The Eagle last week. “But we also have some rising stars, some fan faves and a couple blasts from the past. I hope people enjoy the lineup and come over to our gorgeous new site in Jamesville.”

The fact that the festival has lasted three decades puts it in rarefied company among the longest-running American music festivals. That select group includes the Monterey Jazz Festival in California, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Detroit International Jazz Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival, which celebrates its 58th year this summer.

Kenny G returns

Soprano saxophonist Kenny G returns to the festival after making a messianic appearance at the 2009 edition at Onondaga Community College where he performed for more than 30,000 listeners.

Born Kenneth Gorelick 56 years ago in Seattle, Kenny G is the biggest-selling instrumental musician of the modern era, with global sales totaling more than 75 million albums. “Songbird” was the breakout hit from his 1986 LP, “Duotones,” a disc that went on to sell a stunning 28 million copies. “Songbird” still flies high. The tune was revived by Audi for an automobile commercial televised during Super Bowl XLV in February 2011.

Donovan inducted

“Sunshine Superman” was the first major American hit for Donovan Leitch, the 66-year-old singer songwriter from Scotland who will be inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame on April 14 in Cleveland. The catchy composition reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and subsequently became the title track of the tunesmith’s third LP.

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