Northeast Jazz and Wine Fest returns to Clinton Square in July

National artists and local talent, and wine and jazz -- two pairs that will make for a sweet blend of savory, summer fun at the end of July in Central New York.

Northeast Jazz and Wine Fest promises two days of fun, food, wine and of course, jazz music when it returns to Clinton Square for its 12th season Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27th.

It's a chance to see world class jazz artists, and local up-and-coming-talent from graduates of the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation.

The combination is one of the greatest strengths of the festival, according to Larry Luttinger, Executive Director of the CNY Jazz Arts.

Sharing the stage with some of the most recognizable names in the jazz world is an excellent opportunity for exposure for young artists.

Noah Kellman, a scholastic graduate of the program, and part of the trio Squid, looks forward to playing for Central New York jazz lovers.

"Especially nowadays we have all of this exposure to music online like never before, but you never realize how exciting it is to go see that music live," he says. "I think part of the reason is jazz is such an improvisational music. The connection with the audience literally influences what music we'll play."

The two-day line up features the talents of "artist educator" and the "Best Electric Bassist" according to Jazziz magazine's annual readers' poll, Gerald Veasley; guitarist Gil Parris; and keyboardist and former music director of the Arsenio Hall Show, Michael Wolff.

The festival coincides with Syracuse Artsweek, featuring the Arts & Crafts festival in Columbus Circle, and is free to attend.

Wine tasting passes are available for $10.

Luttinger says we can look forward to sweet, peachy wines from Opici Wines.

While no local wines will be featured, world class brands like Auspicion, Dinastia Vivanco and Carpineto will be available for your tasting pleasure.

Festival selections will be featured in downtown restaurants and local wine retailers leading up to the Jazz and Wine Festival.