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Graduation: Alexander Zonjic’s Shoreline Jazz Festival Electrifies Its First 4 Years

Moments after Peabo Bryson wrapped his set as the 4th Annual Shoreline Jazz Festival’s final act on August 27, 2017, its creator Alexander Zonjic took the Heritage Landing stage to thank everyone for another great weekend in Muskegon, MI. “We’ll see you again here next year!” he exclaimed. Everyone cheered.

In just 4 years Alexander Zonjic’s Shoreline Jazz Festival has grown from 2 to 4 days, and brought hours of enjoyment into the lives of thousands of music enthusiasts. Everyone that converged on West Michigan from across the country were treated to stellar performances from incredible line-ups of world class artists.

alexander_zonjic_portrait_1In an interview with Zonjic called jazz music “America’s greatest culture export”. He said he knew people would be able to walk over with their lawn chairs and hear the greatest music in the country. “If there’s one thing I can bring to the table,” Zonjic added, “it’s the ability to program a festival with some kind of balance with the perfect amount of variety.”

On Thursday August 24, Zonjic and his band were joined by jazz legend Jeff Lorber for a preview concert at The Block. On Friday August 25, jazz stars Jackiem Joyner and Joey Sommerville were guests of Zonic and his band at the packed Hackley Park where they offered a night of free ‘Jazz in the Park’.

On Saturday August 26, the first of two days at Heritage Landing, Boney James headlined a lineup of Organissimo, Joey Sommerville, Zonjic joined by Jeff Lorber and Steve Cole, and Keiko Matsui. This was James second Shoreline performance, his first since the inaugural 2014 festival. His star drummer Omari Williams told following their set that. “Michigan always shows us love.” Asked about playing Shoreline for the second time, Williams said, “The second time’s been really good.”

Sunday the 27th saw Bryson close out a lineup of John Gist, Yancyy, the legendary Gerald Albright, and smooth jazz icon Alex Bugnon who was also a returning performer.

Yancyy spoke with about his set that day. He said, “A little rain came down for minute, but hey…it went away! It came down when we were playing one of my songs, ‘Feel the Rain’. I was like whoa! This is crazy! Did we do that?” Asked about his impression of Shoreline Jazz Festival, Yancyy said, “I enjoyed it very much! Everything was right.”

For 4 consecutive years everything was right with Alexander Zonjic’s Shoreline Jazz Festival. In our eyes and in the eyes of its thousands of attendees it’s gotten straight A’s and graduated with honors. Expect everyone to cheer following its 5th year too, and every year that follows. |


Alexander Zonjic’s Shoreline Jazz Festival (2014) lineup: Lin Rountree, Urban Jazz Coalition, Tim Bowman, Maysa, Nick Colionne, Brian Simpson, Boney James, Phil Denny & Oli Silk, Michael Manson, Jeff Lorber and Fusion with Eric Marienthal & Jimmy Haslip, Lalah Hathaway & Ruben Studdard, and Alexander Zonjic with very special guest Kenny G.


Alexander Zonjic’s 2nd Annual Shoreline Jazz Festival (2015) lineup: The Chicago Jazz Connection (composed of jazz stars Gerey Johnson on guitar, Reggie Foster on sax, Lamar Jones on bass, Collin Clausen on keys, and Jason Grant on drums), Gregg Karukas featuring saxophonist Phil DennyBettye LaVette, Norman Brown with special guest Marion Meadows, Al Jarreau, Fo/Mo/Deep, Matt Marshak, Alexander Zonjic with special guest Alex Bugnon, Will Downing featuring Carol Riddick, and headliner White Hot Summer Groove – Peter White and Euge Groove.


Alexander Zonjic’s 3rd Annual Shoreline Jazz Festival (2016) lineup: Bryan Lubeck, Dee Brown, Alexander Zonjic with special guest Bob James, The Ohio Players, Brian Culbertson, Eric Darius, 496 West, Javier Colon, Spyro Gyra, Najee, and Jeffery Osborn.

CREDITS Written by Mr. Joe Walker | Photos – Search Engine Exploration | Alexander Zonjic – as Himself | Omari Williams – as Himself | Yancyy – as Himself | Producer – Liquid Arts & Entertainment | Creative Director – The Liquidation Committee | Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Copy Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Site Editor – Doug Sims | Webmaster – Doug Sims | Twitter – @LiquidAEMag | Instagram – @liquidmagazine

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