NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The first of eight free “Hub City Sounds” outdoor concerts will feature performances by Winard Harper, the Arturo O’Farrill Afro Latin sextet, and the New Brunswick High School Jazz Ensemble.

The “Jazz in the Park” event will be held at New Brusnwick’s Boyd Park, located between Route 18 and the Raritan River on Saturday August 11, beginning at 4pm.

The first event of the series is a collaboration between the New Brunswick Jazz Project and the Civic League of Greater New Brunswick.

Harper is hailed as “one of the true great bandleaders who sits behind the drum kit” by the Chicago Defender newspaper.

“Harper plays the kind of soulful music that puts the lie to the notion that uncompromising jazz can’t feed both the head and the heart… [He] augments his high-energy hard-bop with an exploration of global rhythms and textures,” raves DownBeat Magazine.

O’Farrill is a pianist, educator, composer extraordinaire, and winner of the Latin Jazz USA Outstanding Achievement Award in 2003.  His debut album with the Orchestra “Una Noche Inolvidable” earned a Grammy award nomination in 2006, and he won a Grammy two years later for “Song of Chico”.

Over the next seven weeks, similar events will be held in the city’s riverfront park offering live music at no cost to the public.  And it will mark the first time this season, aside from the Independance Day fireworks, that an organized public event will take place in the redesigned Boyd Park.

The concerts will continue for the next seven Saturdays, featuring acts of all different genres, including blues on August 18, kids’ music on August 25, and bomba music on September 22.

Crossroads Theatre will offer a theatrical presentation featuring R&B and Gospel music on September 15.  Two weeks later, the George Street Playhouse and American Reperatory Ballet will team up to close out the series of public performances with a pair of “family freindly” performances, according to the 

Boyd Park was closed for years as the state Department of Transportation re-built Route 18.  The new park was hit hard by Hurricane Irene in August, but hosted the Raritan River Festival last September.