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Accelerating the transition to a clean energy future

The Soular Jazz Foundation promotes sustainable, clean energy with music events.

These events include parades, concerts and the annual Soular Jazz Festival.

The 2019 Soular Jazz Festival will be held on Saturday, June 15

Upcoming events

Jazz at the Music Room

First Parish Unitarian Church

40 Church St.

Northborough, MA 01532

Saturday, October 13, 2018, 7:00 - 9:30

Fabiola Mendez Trio

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Fabiola Mari Méndez Quiñones was born on February 20, 1996.  She started taking Puerto Rican cuatro classes at age 6. 

She was a student at the Humacao Musical Institute, the Antonio Paoli School of Music in Caguas, and the Conservatorio de Artes del Caribe. In 2018, she got her Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music, becoming the first student to graduate with the Puerto Rican cuatro as principal instrument.
 
Fabiola has participated in several cuatro competitions winning prizes in all of them, including being selected as the winner of the “National Cuatro Player Competition” in 2011 by the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture. In addition, she has participated in multiple recordings. Foremost among them are: Banco Popular Christmas CD “Eco” (2008), Fabiola Mendez & Herencia Criolla (2009), Ready for Departure (2014), and Guille & the B.Band (2015).
 
In addition, Fabiola has had the chance of playing large venues in both Puerto Rico and the United States. The most noteworthy of these include: Cuatro Festival in California (2008), Three Kings Day Concert with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra (2011), Puerto Rican State Inauguration Ceremony (2013), Heineken Ventana al Jazzfest (2015), Totó la Momposina meets Berklee (2015), Jolgorio Navideño (2016), and Pedro Capó live at La Fábrica (2018).
 
Fabiola has had the privilege of receiving acknowledgements such as the dedication of the Mapeye Festival 2011, the Quincy Jones Award 2016, ambassador at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC 2018, and a commendation from the PR House of Representatives for being the first Puerto Rican cuatro player to graduate from Berklee.

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Jazz at the Music Room

First Parish Unitarian Church

40 Church St.

Northborough, MA 01532

Saturday, December 8, 2018, 7:00 - 9:30

Patrice Williamson: Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald

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Patrice Williamson’s childhood home in Memphis, Tennessee was filled with song. Her late father, Webster Williamson, an avid amateur singer, choir director, and pillar of the St. Stephen’s Baptist Church music ministry, introduced his children to both sacred music and the secular styles of greats like Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and Lena Horne. With the encouragement of her mother, Lillie Rivers Williamson, Patrice followed in the footsteps of her elder sister, Denise, taking up the violin and making her debut at age four, playing a duet with her sister in front of the St. Stephen's congregation.

From then on, she was hooked on music and performing. To her violin studies, she added piano (at age seven) and flute (at 11). She imagined herself growing into a world-famous concert artist: "I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would say to Johnny Carson the first time I played the flute on ‘The Tonight Show.’"

Patrice carried the dream into her teens, but chose a "practical" major, communications, when she enrolled at the University of Tennessee. In her second year, however, she realized her heart was elsewhere and decided to major in music. "I remember having to make that phone call home," she says. "I wasn't sure what my parents reaction would be." As it happened, they were supportive. "Well, it's about time," said Lillie. "I didn't know what you were doing in broadcasting when you've been in music all your life."

Her focus remained on classical performance; she served as principal flutist for the opera and symphony orchestras. It wasn’t until the conductor of the UT Studio Jazz Orchestra overheard her scatting during a rehearsal break, and immediately offered her a vocal solo, that she considered singing as a possible career path. Encouraged by UT faculty jazz pianist Donald Brown, she headed to New England Conservatory to focus full-time on her voice, under the guidance of award-winning RCA recording artist Dominique Eade.

In Boston, Patrice hit the ground running. Before her Master’s degree studies were complete, she was weighing rival offers for a four-month performance engagement at Somerset’s Bar in Singapore (the country’s premier jazz venue) and further studies at NEC in the school’s prestigious Artist Diploma program. In the end, she managed to do both.

A regular at Boston’s celebrated Regattabar since1996, she has also appeared in the company of Tony Bennett, James Moody, and Cassandra Wilson at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival; and Danilo Perez and Kevin Mahogony at the Marblehead Jazz Festival. Around the U.S., she’s been heard at Boston’s Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, Hatch Shell, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; as well as the IDB Cultural Center Concert Series in Washington, DC.

Singapore, having had a taste of her, wanted more; and Patrice has since returned to the scene of her first triumph as a special guest performer in the nation’s New Year’s Eve Millennium Celebration; and as part of the Eden Project, an international group of female jazz improvisers who rocked the International Women’s Forum in March 2000.

The critics and the jazz community have not been slow to recognize that this talent is for real.

The response to her debut recording, My Shining Hour (released in September 1998) has been overwhelmingly positive, drawing favorable comparisons to legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. She was honored with a coveted "Best of Boston" award in 1997, and in 1999 and 2000 was a nominee for "Best Jazz Vocalist" by the Kahlua Boston Music Awards.

Her former teachers, now senior colleagues, are quick with their own praise. Says Dominique Eade, "Patrice is a hard-swinging interpreter and a refreshingly accomplished jazz vocal improviser." Ran Blake, head of NEC’s Contemporary Improvisation department, sums it up: "It’s a breathtaking voice."


Jazz at the Music Room

First Parish Unitarian Church

40 Church St.

Northborough, MA 01532

Saturday, February 9, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30

George Russell, Jr.: 90 Minutes of Joy

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Jazz at the Music Room

First Parish Unitarian Church

40 Church St.

Northborough, MA 01532

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 7:00 - 9:30

Ed Harlow: Tribute to Getz/Gilberto

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Ed Harlow-portrait.jpg

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 Originally from Marshfield, MA, saxophonist, composer and educator Ed Harlow has been based in the greater Boston area since 1987. After finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of North Texas, Harlow toured the US, Canada and Japan with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. 

Upon his return to Boston, Harlow worked as instrumentalist, composer and educator. At that time, he also toured Taiwan, Brazil, France, Hawaii and the Caribbean with groups such as The Artie Shaw Orchestra, The Benny Goodman Tribute Orchestra and Volo Volo de Boston. Mr. Harlow has performed with notable artists such as Tony Bennett, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Danilo Pérez and Paquito D’Rivera. He has also performed at, and given clinics at the Panama Jazz Festival from 2014 to 2018.

Mr. Harlow has ten publications with Advance Music and has released three CDs as a leader. The latest is The Gringo Kings (2018), which features an eight piece Latin Jazz collective focusing on Mr. Harlow’s original writing.

Mr. Harlow is also the founder of the Soular Jazz Foundation, which uses music events help to accelerate the transition to renewable energy. Each year, the foundation stages the Soular Jazz Festival in Northborough, MA, which features multiple jazz bands performing on a sound system powered by the sun. The Soular Jazz Foundation also awards scholarships to high school seniors interested in majoring sustainability.


Past events

2018 Soular Jazz Festival

Saturday, June 16, 11 - 6

First Parish Unitarian Church
40 Church Street
Northborough, MA

The Gringo Kings

Fabiola Mendez Trio

Dan Gabel and his Abletones Combo

Worcester Youth Jazz Ensemble

Algonquin High School Jazz I

South Combo









Friday, April 6, 2018

Lisa Thorson

Vocalist Lisa Thorson has performed on radio, stage and in film and television for over thirty five years. Jazz Legend Sheila Jordan calls Lisa "one of the most exciting jazz singers on the scene today". 

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Lisa has toured throughout the U.S., Canada and Italy as a concert artist and jazz vocal clinician. Lisa has released six jazz recordings as a leader.  Her most recent, 2014’s Lisa Thorson Quartet Live received unanimous critical acclaim and international airplay.     

 George Schuller - drums; Daniela Schachter - piano; David Clark - bass

George Schuller - drums; Daniela Schachter - piano; David Clark - bass


Friday, February 2, 2018

The Gringo Kings CD release concert

The Gringo Kings walk the knife's edge between Salsa music and high-minded jazz. The eight musicians comprising the band are assembled from Boston's vibrant jazz scene and dispense humor and grace via Harlow's originals and classic pop covers, ranging from Chicago to The Beatles.

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Friday, December 1, 2017, 2017

Marco Pignataro Almas Antiguas Quartet

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Friday, October 6, 2017 @ 7 PM

Paul Broadnax trio

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Accelerating The Transition To Renewable Energy
fueled by
Jazz & Green Technology

 

 
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ARTISTS Saturday, June 16

11 AM | Worcester Youth Jazz Orchestra

 Founded in 1947 by Harry Levenson, the Worcester Youth Orchestras (WYO) have maintained a presence in Central Massachusetts for more than 70 years offering musical training, orchestral experiences and fostering life long friendships for aspiring young musicians. What began as one orchestra with a loan of $150 from Teen-Age Canteen of 45 students has grown to  more than 200 students in four orchestras, a wind ensemble, a jazz program.  The orchestra made its debut on May 19th, 1948 at Atwood Hall at Clark University and celebrated its 70th Anniversary Concert on May 20th, 2018 at Mechanics Hall, Worcester with members from that original 1947 class in the audience.    The Worcester Youth Jazz Ensemble focuses on traditional and current big band repertoire. The group members are guided through a history of big band arranging and composition, and perform selections from key eras and writers. Focus is placed on ensemble technique, blend, historical practice, interpretation, innovation, and thematic and stylistically appropriate improvisation.

Founded in 1947 by Harry Levenson, the Worcester Youth Orchestras (WYO) have maintained a presence in Central Massachusetts for more than 70 years offering musical training, orchestral experiences and fostering life long friendships for aspiring young musicians. What began as one orchestra with a loan of $150 from Teen-Age Canteen of 45 students has grown to  more than 200 students in four orchestras, a wind ensemble, a jazz program.  The orchestra made its debut on May 19th, 1948 at Atwood Hall at Clark University and celebrated its 70th Anniversary Concert on May 20th, 2018 at Mechanics Hall, Worcester with members from that original 1947 class in the audience.  

The Worcester Youth Jazz Ensemble focuses on traditional and current big band repertoire. The group members are guided through a history of big band arranging and composition, and perform selections from key eras and writers. Focus is placed on ensemble technique, blend, historical practice, interpretation, innovation, and thematic and stylistically appropriate improvisation.

Noon | Fabiola Mendez Trio

 Fabiola Mari Méndez Quiñones was born on February 20, 1996.  She started taking Puerto Rican cuatro classes at age 6.    When she was 8, Fabiola started studying music at the Humacao Musical Institute, where she studied for three years and was part of the “Rondalla de Puerto Rico”. In January 2007, she was invited to play with the Rondalla at the Three Kings Day Concert with the Puerto Rico Symphonic Orchestra at the Fine Arts Center.    In August 2007, she joined the Antonio Paoli School of Music in Caguas.  There she studied under the tutelage of several renowned Puerto Rican teachers such as: Eric Milland, Raul Rodriguez, Luis Aponte and Saviel Cartagena. In this school, she was part of several ensembles including:  Cuerdas de Ensueño, Rondalla Cuerdas de Mi Tierra, Flute Cocktail, Supari Mai Steel Ensemble and the Advanced Concert Band.  In 2013, she joined the Conservatorio de Artes del Caribe, a school member of the Berklee International Network.   Fabiola has participated in several Cuatro competitions winning prizes in all of them, including being selected as the winner of the “National Cuatro Player Competition” in 2011 by the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture. In addition, she has participated in nine recordings as a cuatro and tiple player. Foremost among them are: Banco Popular Christmas CD “Eco” (2008), Fabiola Mendez & Herencia Criolla (2009), Ready for Departure (2014), and Guille & the B.Band (2015).   Fabiola has had the chance of playing large venues in both Puerto Rico and the United States.  The most noteworthy of these include: Cuatro Festival in California (2008), Three Kings Day Concert with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra (2011), Puerto Rican State Inauguration Ceremony (2013), Radio Isla 1320 Concert with the PR Symphony Orchestra (2014), Heineken Ventana al Jazzfest (2015), Totó la Momposina meets Berklee (2015), and Jolgorio Navideño (2016), where she had the honor of opening for Latin jazz master Eddie Palmieri.   During the last few years, Fabiola has had the privilege of receiving acknowledgements such as the dedication of the Mapeye Festival 2011, the Quincy Jones Award 2016, and recognition as the first Puerto Rican cuatro player to graduate from Berklee College of Music from the PR House of Representatives. 

Fabiola Mari Méndez Quiñones was born on February 20, 1996.  She started taking Puerto Rican cuatro classes at age 6. 
 
When she was 8, Fabiola started studying music at the Humacao Musical Institute, where she studied for three years and was part of the “Rondalla de Puerto Rico”. In January 2007, she was invited to play with the Rondalla at the Three Kings Day Concert with the Puerto Rico Symphonic Orchestra at the Fine Arts Center. 
 
In August 2007, she joined the Antonio Paoli School of Music in Caguas.  There she studied under the tutelage of several renowned Puerto Rican teachers such as: Eric Milland, Raul Rodriguez, Luis Aponte and Saviel Cartagena. In this school, she was part of several ensembles including:  Cuerdas de Ensueño, Rondalla Cuerdas de Mi Tierra, Flute Cocktail, Supari Mai Steel Ensemble and the Advanced Concert Band.  In 2013, she joined the Conservatorio de Artes del Caribe, a school member of the Berklee International Network.
 
Fabiola has participated in several Cuatro competitions winning prizes in all of them, including being selected as the winner of the “National Cuatro Player Competition” in 2011 by the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture. In addition, she has participated in nine recordings as a cuatro and tiple player. Foremost among them are: Banco Popular Christmas CD “Eco” (2008), Fabiola Mendez & Herencia Criolla (2009), Ready for Departure (2014), and Guille & the B.Band (2015).
 
Fabiola has had the chance of playing large venues in both Puerto Rico and the United States.  The most noteworthy of these include: Cuatro Festival in California (2008), Three Kings Day Concert with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra (2011), Puerto Rican State Inauguration Ceremony (2013), Radio Isla 1320 Concert with the PR Symphony Orchestra (2014), Heineken Ventana al Jazzfest (2015), Totó la Momposina meets Berklee (2015), and Jolgorio Navideño (2016), where she had the honor of opening for Latin jazz master Eddie Palmieri.
 
During the last few years, Fabiola has had the privilege of receiving acknowledgements such as the dedication of the Mapeye Festival 2011, the Quincy Jones Award 2016, and recognition as the first Puerto Rican cuatro player to graduate from Berklee College of Music from the PR House of Representatives. 

1:15 | Algonquin Regional High School Jazz I

 Directed by Eric Vincent, local favorites Algonquin Regional High School Jazz I has a roster featuring students from both Northborough and Southborough. These amazing young musicians are making their second appearance at the Soular Jazz Festival representing local talent and our very future.

Directed by Eric Vincent, local favorites Algonquin Regional High School Jazz I has a roster featuring students from both Northborough and Southborough. These amazing young musicians are making their second appearance at the Soular Jazz Festival representing local talent and our very future.

2:15 | Dan Gabel and the Abletones Combo

 Dan Gabel is the most amazing individual: Despite his relatively young age, Dan has amassed an enormous amount of knowledge and experience one would only expect of a person nearing retirement age. His skill as a trombonist and arranger, as well as the leader of his own successful swing band, can be credited to his touring with the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien, as well as his own independent years of collecting, researching and documenting vintage big band recordings. From this, Dan's "ear" is without fault, which is crucial to writing accurate and exciting transcriptions and arrangements. His talent as a trombonist is in demand, and would be a welcomed spot in any band or orchestra. Not withstanding, his ability to copy various styles is beyond reproach.  -Alan Glasscock

Dan Gabel is the most amazing individual: Despite his relatively young age, Dan has amassed an enormous amount of knowledge and experience one would only expect of a person nearing retirement age. His skill as a trombonist and arranger, as well as the leader of his own successful swing band, can be credited to his touring with the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien, as well as his own independent years of collecting, researching and documenting vintage big band recordings. From this, Dan's "ear" is without fault, which is crucial to writing accurate and exciting transcriptions and arrangements. His talent as a trombonist is in demand, and would be a welcomed spot in any band or orchestra. Not withstanding, his ability to copy various styles is beyond reproach.

-Alan Glasscock

3:30 | South Combo

 The South Combo has won numerous awards for their creative performances. The South Combo members write many of their own arrangements and strive to use music as an integral part to actively improve their lives.

The South Combo has won numerous awards for their creative performances. The South Combo members write many of their own arrangements and strive to use music as an integral part to actively improve their lives.

4:30 | The Gringo Kings

  The Gringo Kings is led by composer and saxophonist, Ed Harlow. Based in the greater Boston area since 1987, Harlow has toured the US, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, France and the Caribbean with groups such as The Glenn Miller Orchestra and The Artie Shaw Orchestra.     Harlow has also performed with notable artists such as Tony Bennett, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Paquito D'Rivera and Lionel Loueke. Harlow has eight publications with Advance Music and has released two CDs as a leader. Harlow has worked with the Danilo Perez Foundation in Panama as a clinician and performer since 2014.     The Gringo Kings in has been Harlow's main vehicle for creative composition, arrangement and performance since 2006. Consisting of five horns, piano, bass and drums, the Gringo Kings leaps from transformed covers to quirky originals with a nonchalance of hardened musical criminals. Soloists straddle the middle ground between predictability and the absurd. The band's musicians exist in a musical netherworld; neither small-group nor big-band.   Ed Harlow- tenor sax Rick Stone - alto sax Keira Harman - trombone Mike Peipman - trumpet Joe Casanno - trumpet Keala Kaumeheiwa - bass Mark Shilansky - piano Bertram Lehmann - drums   Get the Gringo Kings CD on iTunes    Get the Gringo Kings CD on CD Baby

The Gringo Kings is led by composer and saxophonist, Ed Harlow. Based in the greater Boston area since 1987, Harlow has toured the US, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, France and the Caribbean with groups such as The Glenn Miller Orchestra and The Artie Shaw Orchestra. 

Harlow has also performed with notable artists such as Tony Bennett, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Paquito D'Rivera and Lionel Loueke. Harlow has eight publications with Advance Music and has released two CDs as a leader. Harlow has worked with the Danilo Perez Foundation in Panama as a clinician and performer since 2014. 

The Gringo Kings in has been Harlow's main vehicle for creative composition, arrangement and performance since 2006. Consisting of five horns, piano, bass and drums, the Gringo Kings leaps from transformed covers to quirky originals with a nonchalance of hardened musical criminals. Soloists straddle the middle ground between predictability and the absurd. The band's musicians exist in a musical netherworld; neither small-group nor big-band.

Ed Harlow- tenor sax
Rick Stone - alto sax
Keira Harman - trombone
Mike Peipman - trumpet
Joe Casanno - trumpet
Keala Kaumeheiwa - bass
Mark Shilansky - piano
Bertram Lehmann - drums

Get the Gringo Kings CD on iTunes

Get the Gringo Kings CD on CD Baby