A trumpeter, whose solos can be heard on films such as the popular 2021 remake of West Side Story, Minions 2: The Rise of Gru, Jersey Boys and Despicable Me 1, 2 and 3, will be the star artist of the South Haven Jazz Festival.
Wayne Bergeron from Los Angeles, Calif., is one of seven bands performing at this year’s festival, Friday and Saturday, September 16-17 at the Huron Street Pavilion and Dyckman Park in downtown South Haven.
The South Haven Jazz Festival is somewhat rare in West Michigan, according to organizer Larry Brown.
“We’re one of the few jazz festivals in West Michigan,” he said. “There are more jazz festivals in Detroit and upstate.”
This year marks the jazz festival’s fifth anniversary, after it was canceled in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sponsored by the cultural arts organization Foundry Hall, the festival is presented free of charge. Donations are however encouraged.
“The festival has been free so far thanks to our incredible corporate sponsors, donations from festival attendees, the South Haven Area Community Foundation and the South Haven/Van Buren Visitor’s Bureau,” Brown said. “Together they help cover the cost of local/regional bands. The lead actor, Wayne Bergeron, is being paid this year by a special grant from the John Stites Jazz Awards Committee of Kalamazoo. Later we may have to charge an admission fee, but so far the community has been very supportive.
Bergeron’s career began in 1986 when he landed the first trumpet chair with Maynard Ferguson’s band. According to his website, a lot can be heard on Maynard recordings such as Body and Soul, Big Bop Nouveau and Brass Attitude.
He went on to be a session musician for musical artists such as Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Michael Buble, The Jonas Brothers, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Lee Ann Womack, Lou Rawls and Kenny G.
Over the years, he has also worked on over 500 TV and movie soundtracks including The Lion King, Bob’s Burgers, Ford v Ferrari, Toy Story 4, High School Musical 3, Superman Returns and Mission Impossible 3.
However, he says, his greatest love is starring in big bands. He has recorded and played with several Los Angeles bands, including those led by Sammy Nestico, Bob Curnow and Quincy Jones.
He then earned a Grammy nomination in 2004 for his first solo CD, “You Call This a Living?” His most recent CD is “Full Circle”, released in 2016. Bergeron is currently a national artist for Yamaha Corp. of America and co-designer of Yamaha’s trump YTR-8335LA and YFH-8315G bugle. He has also designed a series of trumpet mouthpieces with Gary Radtke of GR Technologies.
The jazz festival opens at 5:30 p.m. Friday with a return appearance from Kalamazoo-based quartet Ivan Akasiima. Ken Cooper & Friends will follow at 6:30 p.m., while the Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra will close the evening with a performance at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s lineup begins at 4:30 p.m. with the southwest Michigan-based Jim Cooper Quartet. Minor Element will then take the stage at 5:30 p.m., followed by Grand Rapids artist Edye Evans Hyde and the Terry Lower Quartet at 6:30 p.m. The evening will end at 7:30 p.m. with Wayne Bergeron and the Lake Effect Jazz Big Band.