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30th Annual Balcones Heights Jazz Festival Opens This Friday

San Antonio Transit (photo courtesy of the band)

The Balcones Heights Jazz Festival will open its highly-anticipated 30th season this coming Friday, July 28. Performances will take place at the Amphitheater at Wonderland of the Americas. Headlining will be Marion Meadows, with San Antonio Transit opening.

“We are excited to feature live jazz concerts again this summer with July performances presenting a stellar line up of dynamic national and local artists at the beautiful, sparkling Wonderland Amphitheater,” said Lorenzo Nastasi, Director Economic Development & Public Affairs at City of Balcones Heights.

“One of the many things that makes this event unique and so successful is the fact that it is free, family-friendly jazz performed by top artists,” says City of Balcones Heights Mayor Suzanne de Leon. “We are thrilled to welcome the sights and sounds of our signature jazz festival, attracting locals and visitors from all over South Texas to experience the best of smooth jazz”.

From the opening notes of Chicago’s first hit single, “Make Me Smile”, San Antonio Transit with its powerhouse 10-piece band delivers one classic Chicago hit song after song. Mega hits like “Saturday in the Park”, “25 or 6 to 4”, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”, “Beginnings”, and many more come to life as San Antonio Transit reproduces the sound and feel of a true high-energy Chicago touring concert experience. Some of the most talented, in-demand professional musicians and vocalists from San Antonio have come together for the love of this music with horn sounds to perform the smash hits of one of the most iconic rock bands of all time! San Antonio Transit will transport the audience back to memorable times of their lives.

After the group’s performance, headliner Marion Meadows will take the stage. Meadows hails from the east coast, growing up in Stamford, Connecticut. He attended the SUNY Purchase School for the Arts. Says Meadows, “Not long after I finished high school, (drummer) Norman Connors recorded one of my songs, Invitation and then asked me to join his band. I later produced his Passion album with my colleague Jacques Burvick (Aquarium Dream).” Meadows first hit the airwaves in 1991 with For Lovers Only, but his career really began one day in the late 80’s at New York’s Grand Central Station.

One day, while waiting for a train, he pulled out his horn and began playing under the dome. His sweet sound caught the attention of producer and TV Composer Jay Chattaway. Impressed with Meadow’s sound, Chattaway help put Meadows on the road to his eventual success. Meadows

Marion Meadows (photo courtesy the artist)

has hooked up with numerous artists and musicians and became a well-known sideman in his own right, recording or performing with Brook Benton, Eartha Kitt, The Temptations, Michael Bolton, Will Downing, John Lee, among many others.

In 1990, Meadows submitted a solo project to Novus/RCA and was signed to a recording contract, thus marking the beginning of his solo career. Meadow’s first RCA release, For Lovers Only was a huge success and was followed by his groundbreaking Keep It Right There album. He became a staple of the contemporary jazz format with his subsequent recordings, which include Body Rhythm (1994), Forbidden Fruit (1996), Passion (1997), Another Side of Midnight (1999), Next to You (2000), In Deep (2002), Players Club (2004), Dressed to Chill (2006), Secrets (2009), Whisper (2013), and most recently Soul Traveler, the first installment of his Soul Trilogy which showcases his current release, Soul City. Meadows is a semi-pro cyclist, graphic artist and designer. His artwork and photography can be viewed here.

The Balcones Heights Jazz Festival has captivated jazz aficionados from in and around Texas with a free stellar line-up in the festival’s laid back and family-friendly atmosphere. Festival regulars — or, as they call themselves, “jazz babies”, grab their favorite spots along the edge of the sparkling reflecting pool and fountain of the city’s main hub, Wonderland of the Americas.

It is produced through a partnership of the City of Balcones Heights, Wonderland of the Americas, and iHeartMedia. David Muñoz is back again to host the Jazz Festival, as he has every year since the event’s inception. Muñoz, known as San Antonio’s very own “Jazzman,” serves as emcee and co-producer of the festival. David also hosts “Smooth Jazz San Antonio” on KQXT/Q101.9 HD-2 and iHeart Radio App/Texas Central Region.

General admission to the festival is free and parking is free at Wonderland of the Americas, 4522 Fredericksburg Road, Balcones Heights, Texas. Wonderland of the Americas is located at the intersection of IH-10and Loop 410, just a few minutes from downtown San Antonio, and minutes from the South Texas Medical Center.

Hillside seating around the Amphitheater is on a first-come, first-served basis. Fans sometimes stake out their spots as early as the Monday preceding the Friday concert! Food and beverage vendors will be on-site. Attendees can also visit the Food Court inside Wonderland of the Americas. No coolers or outside food and beverages are allowed at the Amphitheater.

For more information about the festival, visit San Antonio Central and the event’s Facebook page.