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Critical Link V-P leads septet Saturday at Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival

— Dave Rice is co-owner of Critical Link, a prominent town of DeWitt electronics product development company on Brooklawn Parkway, but he’s also a talented saxophone player and bandleader. His group, Tradewind, which also features his daughter, Lauren, will be showcased at the 2014 Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 26, in downtown Syracuse’s Clinton Square. Admission is free.

Tradewind started out in 2000 as a studio CD collaborative project between Rice and Steve Dethloff. In 2009, they formed a live-performance band joined by Dave’s daughter, Lauren, on sax, Mark Eich on bass and drummer John Tubbs. In 2012, guitarist Andy Tompkins completed the group.

For their fourth appearance at the Northeast Jazz and Wine Fest this weekend, Tradewind will also feature guitarist John Halpin, pianist Nick Godzak and drummer Damian Allis. Eich, Godzak, Halpin and Tompkins handle the vocals on tunes such as Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”

Tradewind also covers compositions such as “Sweet N Sour” by The Crusaders, “Pick Up The Pieces” by the Average White Band and “Home at Last” by Steely Dan. The septet dabbles in Latin rhythms on tunes like “Mas Que Nada” made famous by Sergio Mendes, and also play the occasional original piece such as “Tears of Russia.”

While music is their passion, most of Tradewind’s musicians make science and technology their profession.

Not only is Rice technical director and vice-president of Critical Link, Eich and Tompkins are software engineers, and Allis works as a professor of chemistry at Syracuse University.

Lauren Rice is pursuing her doctorate in microbiology at the University of Rochester.

“She commutes to Syracuse for rehearsals about once a week,” her dad said. “It’s a bit of a drive, but she loves to play!”

Tradewind’s set on Saturday is part of a three-part “Battle of the Community Bands” also featuring the Jazz Kats at 2 p.m. and the Easy Money Bog Band at 4 p.m. on the festival’s main stage. The community bands are sponsored in part by Eagle Newspapers.

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