Question: What do Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus and Lena Horne have in common? Obvious answer: They lived in Queens. Actually, they are just a few of the dozens of jazz greats who made their home in the music-rich borough. On May 25, the 17-piece Queens Jazz Orchestra will celebrate the genius of some other local legends — Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Illinois Jacquet and Nat “Cannonball” Adderly — by performing Fiesta Mojo, a rare composition written by Dizzy Gillespie, who is buried in Flushing Cemetery, and arranged by QJO Director Jimmy Heath (conducting above). Fiesta Mojo features Brazilian-inflected melodies and grooves that fascinated Gillespie when he toured South America as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. government. Details: Fiesta Mojo, 8 pm, Flushing Town Hall, $20-$40.


The weekend comes with plenty of music and seasonal festivities. There’s a brand new musical and outdoor festival in Flushing, an orchestra show in Jamaica, and an autumn fair in Bayside.

Image source: Queens Theatre

Ella: A Swingin New Musical about the First Lady of Song – This musical about the life of the legendary Ella Fitzgerald debuts today at the Queens Theatre in Flushing. Starring Tina Fabrique, a Tony-nominated veteran of Broadway, the play is set in 1966 and focuses on an older Ella looking back at her life and singing all her famous hits. The Queens Theatre will also hold a reception on Friday 9/28 from 6-10pm with dinner, cocktails, and a meet-and-greet with the cast. Tickets cost between $25 and $49; the reception is $85.

Image source:

Old Hock and Bach – Take part in this very “classical” event at the King Manor as the Queens College Baroque Ensemble performs the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Accompanying the music will be a variety of German white wines, the modern version of “Old Hock” listed in Rufus King’s 1822 wine cellar inventory. Cocktails are at 6pm, followed by the concert at 6:30pm. Tickets are $25; RSVP here.

Image source: gailf548 on Flickr

National Estuaries Day Festival – This free annual festival at the Alley Pond Environmental Center celebrates the environmental importance of Little Neck Bay, the local estuary. There will be scenic hikes, live music and activities for children, as well as educational booths and exhibits from neighborhood organizations. Head over for games, hands-on demonstrations, as well as boat and canoe rides.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Autumn Moon Festival – The Queens Botanical Garden is holding this celebration of the traditional Chinese and Vietnamese holiday reflecting on the summer harvest. Bring a picnic blanket and settle in for moon cakes, arts and crafts, and cultural performances.

If by any chance we missed your favorite regular or upcoming event, please let us know!