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JAZZ REVIEW : An Impeccable Opening for Concord Festival

The big star of Thursday’s opening night of the four-day Concord Jazz festival, celebrating its 25th anniversary, was singer Carol Sloane.

Though her jazz variations have more than a hint of Ella Fitzgerald, her understated personality on ballads suggested another early idol, Maxine Sullivan. Except for an occasional tendency to pitch her songs a turn or so too low for comfort, both her sets were impeccable. She was splendidly backed by the trio of pianist Stefan Scaggiari, the guest appearances in the first set by Gary Foster on alto sax and later by Scott Hamilton on tenor.

Sloane had a special interest in another celebration that’s part of the local festivities--the 20th birthday of Concord Jazz Records. Her career had languished for many years until she signed with the label several years ago.

Thursday’s show, held at Centre Concord, was part concert and part surprise-party/tribute to Carl Jefferson, the onetime car salesman who not only founded both the festival and the record company, but was a key figure in launching the Concord Pavilion, where the main festival events have been staged since 1975.

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