Ypsilanti Jazz Concert Series Returns this Summer

Subhead: The concert series will feature a new name and location at Ford Lake Park.

The John E. Lawrence Summer Jazz Concert Series will take place at Ford Lake Park in Ypsilanti. Map of the park is shown here. Photo courtesy of ytown.org.


John E. Lawrence is a native of Ypsilanti and helped to create this free summer concert series. Photo courtesy of johnelawrence.com.

The John E. Lawrence Summer Jazz Concert Series (formerly the Frog Island Jazz Concert Series) is moving to a new and significantly larger location in Ypsilanti Township at Ford Lake Park.  

This move is due to an expected increase in attendance. Last year’s concert series nearly doubled in size each show, beginning with 800 attendees at the opening event. Midway through the series the concerts were drawing more than 5,000 attendees per show. The last show of the series attracted 10,000 concertgoers who came to see saxophonist Randy Scott on Labor Day weekend.  

Scott will be the opening act this year on July 1st. “The plan is to set the bar high and then go up from there,” said Lawrence.  

This year’s concert series will feature a new array of nationally known recording artists from the local scene as well as international recording artists such as Jeff Lorber Fusion. Lorber is a Grammy Award-winning keyboardist/producer and composer who helped create the genre known as “smooth jazz”. Lorber will close out the series on Labor Day weekend. 

Saxophonist Paula Atherton, a smooth jazz sensation out of New York, and the legendary Dr. Jessie McGuire, “The Power Trumpet”, will return to his hometown of Ypsilanti from Phoenix after a 25-year hiatus for a rare command performance of jazz, funk, and gospel.  

Representing the local scene, a potent mix of last year’s favorites will be returning to the stage, including saxophonists Randy Scott and Lord Yancyy.   

Ypsilanti Jazz Concert Series founder John E. Lawrence, a native of Ypsilanti whose new single “Movin’ Up To The Top” is climbing the charts, will also be featured. Lawrence is widely respected as one of the best guitarists not only in Michigan but throughout the region. He is also admired for his skills as a music educator and producer who taught for years at Washtenaw Community College, and whose instructional books and videos are distributed nationally by Mel Bay, one of the largest music publishing companies in the country.  

“All of these phenomenal musicians are coming to my hometown of Ypsilanti, and I’m really excited to have this opportunity to share such great music with our community,” said Lawrence. “This year’s lineup, like last year’s, is guaranteed to please. If you missed it last year, don’t make that mistake in 2022. Come out and see for yourself what’s happening here. I promise you won’t be disappointed.”  

Performance Schedule for the 2022 John E. Lawrence Summer Jazz Concert Series at Ford Lake Park 

July 1: Randy Scott, smooth jazz saxophonist has had three No.1 songs in the nation.   

July 8: Lin Rountree, smooth jazz trumpeter with multiple No. 1 hits on Sirius XM Radio.  

July 15: Paula Atherton, female saxophonist from New York with her new hit singles “Keep It Coming” and “Summer Song”. She can be heard on Sirius XM Radio. 

July 22: John E. Lawrence, the master guitarist with a new dynamic show with songs from his greatest hits CD as well as his new release entitled “Moving Up To The Top”.  

July 29: Daryl Beebe, saxophonist/entertainer extraordinaire is coming with his action-packed show. His music is featured on Watercolors on Sirius XM radio. 

August 5: Yancyy, saxophonist and proven entertainer for music enthusiasts of every generation. His styles include jazz, pop, rock, funk, and hip hop. His hit single “My Joy” can be heard on Sirius XM Radio. 

August 12: Alvin Waddles, the virtuoso pianist will amaze the audience by performing an array of musical genres from jazz to classical to gospel.  

August 19: Demetrius Nabors, keyboardist extraordinaire for Randy Scott is debuting his new solo project which is gaining national attention on Watercolors Sirius XM Radio.  

August 26: Dr. Jessie McGuire, the power trumpeter from Phoenix, is returning to his hometown of Ypsilanti for a rare command performance of jazz, funk, and gospel. 

September 2: Jeff Lorber Fusion, Grammy Award-winning keyboardist/producer and composer who helped invent “smooth jazz”, will close out the Summer Jazz Series with an all-star band featuring Eric Marinthal (saxophone), Jimmy Haslip (bass), and Steve Hass (drums). 

The John E. Lawrence Summer Jazz Concert Series will be held at Ford Lake Park, located at 9075 S. Huron River Dr. in Ypsilanti Township. The FREE summer concerts will continue all summer long on Friday evenings beginning July 1, 2022 and ending September 2, 2022. johnelawrencejazz.com 

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