Multi-Talented Jazz Artist Returns to Green

All photos by Bill O'BrienThe committee that organizes the yearly Branford Jazz on the Green on Thursday evenings has made every effort to offer different groups a chance to perform over the series’ 10 years. Paula Atherton, the multi-talented jazz artist, was invited to return July 19, having last appeared in 2010.

“It’s good to be back in Branford,” said Atherton. “Last time I was here I remember it rained but we played after it stopped. We still had a nice crowd. Funny it looked like it was going to rain again tonight.”

The hot weather and threat of rain held the crowd back to an estimated 500.

Reviews say, “Combine a seductive, crystal clear voice with the slow jam grove resonating from her saxophone, and an exciting and irresistible charm of stage presence, and you get the multi-talented saxtress Paula Atherton.”

A native of New York, Atherton began studying voice and flute at age 9, and became proficient on the saxophone during her teenage years. She studied with a number of notable jazz artists including Bob Mintzer and Lee Konitz. She performed at the New York Ball celebrating Bill Clinton’s first inauguration.

Mary and Bob Grande who were sitting on a town bench with their son Jonathan and his wife Melissa Rose. “I enjoy Paula’s cool jazz style,” said Mary. “It’s the kind of jazz I like. She’s very talented with her singing combined with playing the sax and flute.”

Jay and Alex Palluzzi get down to the green to hear the music as often as they can.

The group played mostly tunes from one of Paula’s five albums. Her first was “Let Me Inside Your Love” in 2004. She also had “Groove With Me” in 2009, “Enjoy the Ride” in 2013, “Ear Candy,” and “Shake It,” both in 2015. She and the group played nine songs in their two sets from the 2015 albums.

Atherton was accompanied by…

Lou Gimener, who played with Atherton the last time they were here in 2010.

Thierry Arpino on drums.

Jorgen Kjaer on keys.

Kip Sophos on bass.

The Sullivan family from Branford came to the Green to enjoy the music.

Atherton got the audience going at the end when she came off stage and went into the crowd with her sax. It got them up and dancing.

“That was special when she went into the crowd,” said Linda Tondalo (second from left) from Branford, who was there with friends, Pudge MacFayden and Paula and Peter Cuticello

The group takes a bow as the show ends.

Heading home for the evening with his family, Tevis Brunson along his wife Kate and their children Halina Jade, 5, and Beau, 2, said, “What a great night. Kate and I loved the music and the kids had fun running around with friends from school and some new friends. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

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