CNY Arts, Inc.


CNY Jazz Labor Day music weekend goes virtual

In order to adjust to changing guidelines for music events, The “Berkshire Bank CNY Jazz, Funk, & Blues Weekend”, scheduled for Saturday through Monday September 5th through 7th, will become a “virtual music festival” with the option of attending exclusive VIP fundraising dinners at Sharkey’s Restaurant.

The schedule will retain the national names already secured for the event, with a number of regional acts completing the bill. All virtual admissions and advance VIP dinner reservations are on sale now at and walk-up dinner reservations may also be made at the door, based on availability.

“Luckily, we had already planned on streaming the entire event before the recent changes took place,” said Larry Luttinger, prime organizer and CNY Jazz Executive Director. “We’ve pushed our schedule a bit later into the evenings and compressed it. The VIP dinners are now essentially fundraisers for our organization. These reservations may be made indoors or outdoors at the venue. Virtual tickets will still be sold globally, but Sharkey’s exclusive dinners are still a pretty cool proposition, if you want to enjoy a social event with other music lovers.”

Public health and safety measures will still be rigorous at Sharkey’s, which has operated successfully with periodic inspections since reopening. Sharkey’s outdoor sports remain discontinued due to safety concerns. 

Diners will be able to choose from a special menu with multiple options, and Three Chord Bourbon drinks will be on hand. “This new model allows our audience so much more flexibility,” said Luttinger. “Coming to any of the dinners gets you virtual access for the other days of the event. Anyone can plan home streaming parties and still drop in on the VIP dining events at Sharkey’s any or all of the days. You can custom-make your experience.” Sharkey’s will still be operating on only 25% capacity, so making reservations early is strongly suggested.

The eclectic lineup features a wide variety of musical styles including bebop, contemporary jazz, Americana, funk, and blues, employing a mix of regional and national artists. National acts of note include Eric Alexander, world renowned tenor saxophonist; veteran alto saxophone virtuoso Vincent Herring, KJ Denhert, powerhouse singer/songwriter and bandleader from New York; a top-shelf collection of A-list Windy City bluesmen, the Chicago Blues All-Stars; Chuck Lamb, best known for his long tenure with the Brubeck Brothers; and Buffalo’s Miller & The Other Sinners, presented by Three Chord Bourbon. Regional artists include Mark Nanni & The Intention and a CNY Jazz alumni group, NOTEified with Dunham Hall. “Thanks to our major sponsors, returning sponsors, and new sponsors who were on board and committed long ago, we’re able to present our usual world-class lineup this year,” according to Luttinger. “We wish we could offer our usual free event, but we now have an even bigger budget gap that must be filled. I’m very thankful for the programming partnerships that we’ve forged with Mack Studios and Artist Event Management, our locally owned co-presenters. We’re also very glad that we are able to create meaningful work for as many underemployed artists as we can. This model reflects the new reality for the arts, so we’re taking a big leap and making every effort to make it work. If it does, we can look forward to being able to do this again in 2021.”

Tickets to the originally advertised event will be converted to virtual admission, and refunds for the difference in cost will be made. Complete information on all aspects of the event, including pricing, artists and music schedule, sponsors, overnight lodging, special menu, beverages, and complete safety guidelines, is available online at

If you attend:

Berkshire Bank CNY Jazz, Funk, & Blues Weekend

September 5th - September 7th

Full festival virtual-only admission $19.95. VIP Fundraising Dinners at Sharkey’s at Thruway Exit 38, 7240 Oswego Road, Liverpool  $30.00. All options at

Schedule 7:00 -10:30 pm Saturday and Sunday, 6:00-9:00 pm Monday

Dinner Parking: free

Festival Lodging VIP Package: The historic Marriott Syracuse Downtown is offering a flexible overnight package that includes discounted accommodations, breakfast for two, and free parking. Book directly by emailing and mention the “CNY Jazz 20 Promo”.



7:00 pm – 7:45 pm Mark Nanni & The Intention

8:00 – 8:45 pm Vincent Herring

9:00 - 10:30 Chuck Lamb


7:00 – 7:45 pm NOTEified w/Dunham Hall

8:00 – 9:15 pm Eric Alexander

9:30-10:30 pm KJ Denhert


6:00 – 7:30 pm Chicago Blues All-Stars

7:45 – 9:00 pm Miller & The Other Sinners