BY THE VILLAGE SUN | The season finale of the Washington Square Music Festival on Tues., June 28, will feature Tivon Pennicott and Strings.
The al fresco concert will start at 8 p.m. by the Garibaldi Plaza on the park’s east side. The rain space is Judson Memorial Church, at 55 Washington Square South.
The festival’s artistic director Lutz Rath will conduct. All the pieces will be by Pennicott, except for a couple by vocalist Vanisha Gould, arranged by Pennicott.
An accomplished saxophone player, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Pennicott was a key contributor to three Grammy Award-winning albums, appearing on Esperanza Spalding’s “Radio Music Society” (Heads Up International, 2012), Gregory Porter’s “Liquid Spirit” (Blue Note, 2013) and “Take Me to the Alley” (Blue Note, 2017).
On screen, Pennicott has become a fixture on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as a regular member of the Stay Human Band with Jon Batiste, an artist with whom he has played a weeklong engagement at The Village Vanguard.
A Georgia native living in New York City, Pennicott earned his bachelor of arts in music from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. As a player, Pennicott expresses an evolving sound — the result of a soulful and sophisticated foundation for groove he honed in the church and through his Jamaican heritage, and a penchant for harmonic exploration that reflects the depth of his ear.
Pennicott most recently self-released his sophomore recording in fall 2020, “Spirit Garden,” featuring a 26-piece string orchestra alongside several combinations of a chordless quartet.
Vocalist Gould came to New York in 2015 from Simi Valley, California. Inspired by artists like Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Joni Mitchell, Carmen McRae and Ella Fitzgerald, she has successfully created her own sound as a composer and band leader.
Tuesday’s concert will complete another successful summer season of the park festival. Peggy Friedman, its director, shared a quote from an audience member, Stephen Kaldon, a graphic designer, who recently chanced upon one of the concerts and was blown away.
“I was walking through Washington Square Park one night, and came across a full orchestra and opera singer performing in the dark, in the middle of the park,” he said. “It was one of the most beautiful and surreal moments I’ve experienced in my life.”
Although the park nowadays often looks more like an outdoor vendors market, including weed vendors, Friedman said the pot purveyors have cooperatively moved their tables out of the way for the festival concerts — though not too far away, hoping the festivalgoers might want to indulge.
The Washington Square Music Festival is under the auspices of the Washington Square Association, Inc.
The Washington Square Music Festival is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with the City Council. Funding was also provided through funding from The Earle K. & Katherine F. Moore Trust, The Washington Square Association, The Margaret Neubart Foundation Trust, New York University Community Affairs and N.Y.U. Community Fund, Salamon-Abrams Family Fund, Washington Square Park Conservancy, The Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation and Con Edison.