Sunday, Aug 27
5:30PM Festival begins
6:00PM – 6:45PM Sidestage
7:00PM – 8:30PM Main Stage
Born in Tarrytown and raised in Buffalo, New York, Billy Mitchell tinkered with the piano as a child but did not get serious about music until he entered Morehouse College. While pursuing a political science degree he joined an off-campus jazz band and was soon playing gigs in and around Atlanta. In 1970 Mitchell moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career and was soon backing up such artists as Gloria Lynn, Ester Phillips, Randy Crawford and Linda Hopkins, to name a few.
Conventional music industry wisdom has long dictated that a jazz musician must take sides-either you play straight-ahead be-bop, or you go fully contemporary and cater to the smooth jazz audience. Like the legends he most admires-from Miles to Herbie and Ramsey – pianist and producer Billy Mitchell loves playing both. His refusal to limit himself creatively has earned him respect from his peers and fans.
The Billy Mitchell Group has appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, Heineken World Music Festival, International Jazz Festival, Pori Jazz Festival, Sedona Jazz on the Rocks, and countless club appearances. His solo career has included appearances in film, most notably Clint Eastwood’s “Bird.” In 1999 America West Airlines awarded Mitchell the “Jazz For The Next Generation Award” for his continued work with young musicians.
In 2002 Billy founded SAPPA (The Scholarship Audition Performance Preparatory Academy). This program is designed to increase participation of inner-city students in music and arts scholarship competitions. SAPPA’s premier program is the Watts-Willowbrook Conservatory and Youth Symphony, that was started in 2010 in partnership with the Watts-Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club. www.sappa.net
Billy is currently performing with the Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra Unlimited under the direction of legendary jazz guitarist, Kenny Burrell, Dr. Bobby Rodroguez and Charlie Harrison.
Grassy Hill Sidestage presented by Grassy Hill Entertainment
The Grassy Hill Sidestage presents the best of local and emerging talent prior to the Main Stage concert. Come early, have a picnic under the stars or dine with our local vendors onsite, and enjoy the sounds of these up and coming acts to set the mood for your evening.
KidZone features child and family focused interactive fun and games! Activities vary by day. Children can have their face painted, grab a balloon, make chalk drawings, make instruments, and color to their hearts content.