A three-day lineup stocked with jazz legends and emerging talents blasts through more time signatures than a clock’s checkbook to usher in the 16th incarnation of the Litchfield Jazz Festival. The Springs Center stage kicks off Friday with genre luminaries The Clayton Brothers, whose silky sounds light a fire under the crowd that fellow Grammy nominees Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue stoke with brassy flares. Saturday hosts a veritable who’s-who of mind-blowing musicians with NEA Jazz Master grant winner Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band blasting buttery sounds after a Ray Charles tribute featuring Davell Crawford belts harmonies more memorable than “Happy Birthday” sung in Klingon. A collection of performers worthy of a Gatsbyan soiree closes out the festival on Sunday, with a hip-swinging finale from Jimmy Heath.
Jump!Zone’s indoor playgrounds envelop kids aged 2–12 in an inflatable world filled with challenging obstacle courses, fun slides, and cardio-boosting bounce houses. While navigating the plush courses under the watchful eyes of air-filled dinosaurs and superheroes, kids burn off extra energy and participate in activities that may help develop motor skills. Jump!Zone’s energetic staff supervises all play as kids climb on pirate ships and trampoline inside princess castles. Specific inflatables may vary by location but often include towering bounce houses shaped like fire trucks or octopi as well as party rooms, games, pizza, soda, and other festive fare. The bouncy center also hosts birthday parties, fundraisers, and special events.
Recognized as best pizza place in town by the Hartford Advocate in 2009, Lena's Pizzaria knows how to toss the dough and sprinkle the shredded melty stuff across a variety of freshly-prepared pies. Your Groupon covers one 18-inch Large with a single, non-premium topping such as pepperoni, meatballs, roasted peppers, or other delicious enhancements (the full list of choices is presented under "items #1" ). The pizza can be upgraded with additional toppings ($1.99 to $2.99 each) or Sicilian style crust ($2.50). Likewise, the pitcher of Bud Light can be enhanced through smooth dance moves inspired by the beats and riffs pumping from Sully's stage. Almost every night, diners can enjoy a variety of featured music acts, open mic nights, poetry slams and other feats of entertainment.
The storied performers of Journey delight fans with powerful guitar, catchy hooks, and virtuosic singing. Lead singer Arnel Pineda's octave-smashing range combines with guitarist Neal Schon's monumental chords and the musical teamwork of Ross Valory's bass, Jonathan Cain's keyboard, and Deen Castronovo's drums, creating tuneful tapestries that inspire ears like a stirring soliloquy from a bald eagle. Touring in support of its new album, Eclipse, the band is able to draw upon an aural arsenal that includes hits such as "Don’t Stop Believin'," "Any Way You Want It," and "Faithfully." The power balladeers of Foreigner and Night Ranger supplement the sonic revelry with their own swelling melodies and heart-inflating emotion. The concert takes place at the open-air Comcast Theatre, with Groupon holders welcome to sit, stand, or mime anywhere on the expansive lawn. Chair and blanket policies vary from concert to concert, so guests should call ahead to determine what items can be toted along.
Having recorded for such esteemed labels as Columbia Masterworks and Koch International Classics, Orchestra New England showcases masterful musicianship through performances of works by classical, romantic, and modern composers throughout the year. A yearly celebration of the sounds and sages of the baroque era, Baroquefest 2011 will feature guest harpsichordist Linda Skernick and selections such as Bach's Concerto in A Minor and Telemann's Tafelmusik III. "Soiree" explores the music of Vienna in the 1920s, as the orchestra will perform Schoenberg's arrangements of Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun, Mahler's Symphony no. 4, and excerpts from Thomas Edison's short-lived heavy metal band, The Draconian Lightbülbs. The premiere of a new work by composer-in-residence Mark Kuss, "Sounds. Distant." explores community displacement in China and features native Chinese musicians. The "Sounds. Distant." concert will also feature performances of works by Ives, Elgar, Bartok, Schubert, and more.
Entertainment is important in Hartford Road Cafe. Weekly events include jazz open-mic nights on Sundays, trivia on Tuesdays, and performances from local bands on Thursdays and Fridays. To accompany these feasts for the ears, the caf? offers a full menu of casual American cuisine, which includes bacon-wrapped scallops baked in a sherry-maple-butter sauce and pesto-topped salmon served over seasoned risotto and asparagus.