Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Al Jarreau, Rachelle Ferrell, Daniela Mercury, Albita, Headline First Verizon Music Festival

NEW YORK -- Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Al Jarreau, Rachelle Ferrell, Daniela Mercury and Albita will be featured

along with other major names in contemporary music at the first Verizon Music Festival, Aug. 7--11 in New York City.

The festival will be a comprehensive event consisting of premiere concerts with headlining acts, a series of free outdoor

shows, a three-day tribute to jazz improvisation throughout the years, and a feature that will highlight new and rising


Verizon Music Festival performances are scheduled for New York City music venues such as the Beacon Theatre, Bryant Park,

City Center, the Quad at Columbia University and the PACE Downtown Theater at PACE University. Chuck Mangione, Wayne

Shorter, Abbey Lincoln, James Carter, and George Duke also will be festival headliners.

"The line-up of star talent and newcomers in this first Verizon Music Festival is just what we wanted to reflect the

history and importance of music in New York City," said Bruce Gordon, president of Verizon Retail Markets Group.

"The Verizon Music Festival is truly a reflection of the cultures and tastes of our customers and the communities

that make New York City the 'capital of the world.' We are honored to be able to bring such rich and diverse music to

so many people."

The New York Verizon Music Festival promises to deliver five consecutive nights of diverse and unique performances such

as the first-ever performance of Ray Charles and Natalie Cole together at City Center. Both performers will do full

sets that will include some of their biggest hits.

Another festival highlight will be a spirited performance by some of Latin music's most critically acclaimed

international sensations -- Albita from Cuba, Brazil's Daniela Mercury and Maria Rivas from Venezuela. The "Latina

Grooves" night will be presented at the Beacon Theatre and will be the first time these superstars appear on the

same stage.

The Beacon Theatre also will be home to "Hot Summer Nights," a special performance by Al Jarreau, George Duke

and Rachelle Ferrell. These three artists, who share a close professional working relationship and friendship off stage,

will appear together on stage during the evening.

To complement its lively mix of established talent, the Verizon Music Festival also will present an "Emerging

Talent" component that will introduce new faces to the New York music scene. The festival's opening night will

showcase some of the best "Emerging Talent" chosen by a selection committee comprised of members from the New

York music community, who will announce their picks in early June. Between five and seven performers will be selected in

total, with some appearing at the opening concert in Bryant Park with headliner Chuck Mangione, while others will serve

as opening acts for well-known performers at later concerts.

The Verizon Music Festival also will feature a historical retrospective of jazz improvisation in the grand traditions of

Sun Ra and his Arkestra. Titled "Forward Motion: 50 Years of 'New' Music," this exciting program is a virtual

festival within a festival and will take place at the PACE Downtown Theater at PACE University, Aug. 7--9. Influential

musicians such as Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd and Reggie Workman and new keepers of the flame Tim Berne, Nels Cline and DJ

Spooky will perform.

"The Verizon Music Festival will have a personality all its own," said George Wein, CEO of Festival

Productions, Inc. "With a blend of jazz, blues, soul, world and Latin music, the Verizon Music Festival embodies

the melting pot of styles that make up the current New York music community."

Tickets for paid shows go on sale on Sunday, June 24, at venue box offices. After the New York City performances,

Festival Productions, Inc. will produce the Verizon Music Festival in Los Angeles on Sept. 28, and Tampa on Oct. 24. For

updated festival information go to www.festivalproductions.net.

For more than 45 years, George Wein and Festival Productions Inc., have been the preeminent producers of music festivals

and entertainment properties in the world, including the famed Newport Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage

Festival and the JVC Jazz Festivals Worldwide, among others. Throughout the years, FPI has built a storied reputation as

the foremost experts in festival productions and Wein has personally worked with venerable jazz greats such as Duke

Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies

are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 112 million access line

equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune

10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence

extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit




The full schedule for the Verizon Music Festival
in New York City is:

Tuesday, Aug. 7

The Verizon Spotlight on Emerging Talent

Plus Chuck Mangione

Bryant Park, 5-9 p.m.

Free, open to the public

Wednesday, Aug. 8

"Hot Summer Nights"

Al Jarreau, George Duke, Rachelle Ferrell

Produced in association with SFX

Beacon Theatre, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 9

Ray Charles, Natalie Cole

City Center, 8 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 10

"Latina Grooves"

Daniela Mercury (Brazil), Maria Rivas (Venezuela), Albita (Cuba)

Beacon Theatre, 8p.m.

"Delta Blues Cartel"

featuring Homesick James Williamson, Henry Mule Townsend, Robert Lockwood, Jr.
and David Honeyboy Edwards

B.B. King Club & Grill

8 & 10 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 11

Abbey Lincoln

Wayne Shorter Quartet featuring Brian Blade, John Patitucci & Danilo Perez

James Carter Chasin' The Gypsy Band

The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra Featuring Giovanni Hidalgo & Tito Puente Jr. (U.S. Debut)

Columbia University Quadrangle, 4-9 p.m.

Free, open to the public

"Forward Motion: 50 Years of New Music" schedule is:

Tuesday, Aug. 7

Artist to be announced

Mark Dresser Trio with Denman Maroney & Mattias Ziegler

Tim Berne's Hard Cell with Craig Taborn & Tom Rainey

Wednesday, Aug. 8

Archie Shepp/Roswell Rudd "Live in New York" with Andrew Cyrille, Grachan Moncur and Reggie Workman

Thursday, Aug. 9

Sun Ra Arkestra

Nels Cline & Gregg Bendian "Interstellar Space Revisited"

DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid