May 21, 2012
The 29th Discover Burlington Jazz Festival begins on June 1, kicking off the summer jazz festival season in the Northeast with a bang. For ten days, the college town on the banks of Lake Champlain will be the host for dozens of international and local jazz musicians, along with educational programs that make this a true destination festival for jazz lovers of all ages.
The Flynn MainStage will feature artists like Béla Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio; Ninety Miles Featuring Stefon Harris, Nicholas Payton and David Sánchez; Bonnie Raitt; Christian McBride & Inside Straight and Dianne Reeves. The more intimate FlynnSpace will bring Tim Berne & Snake Oil, Jonathan Baptiste; Mary Halvorson ; Vijay Iyer; Craig Taborn and the Donny McCaslin Group. NEA Jazz Master Lee Konitz will lead a quartet at the FlynnSpace to end the Festival on June 10.
The Waterfront stages will feature a reggae evening with Jimmy Cliff and a New Orleans themed event with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Free events like “Jazz on the Marketplace” and shows in local clubs like the Signal Kitchen will keep the music going all day and well into the evening.
Burlington has a strong educational component, including Meet the Artist sessions, panel discussions, Improvisational Workshops, and lectures at the Burlington City Arts Center. The innovative JazzLab will allow musicians and fans to participate in recording sessions and learn techniques usually reserved for professionals at the highest levels.
No wonder Managing Director Brian Mital was so excited when we spoke last week. Click here to listen to our conversation, as he discusses the philosophy of the Festival Board, and discusses his favorite acts. Musical selections from artists performing at the festival are included, such as:
Ninety Miles – “Black Action Figure” from Ninety Miles. This was the title track from Stefon Harris’ second album as a leader in 1999. It gets a revision on this recording from the members of this “super group”, which included Harris on vibes, David Sánchez on sax, Christian Scott on trumpet and a rhythm section of Rember Duharte and Harold Lopez-Nussa. Payton will replace Scott on the festival stage.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue – “Big 12” from For True. Covering the bases from R&B to Funk to Jazz to good ol’ Nawlins Soul, Shorty continues to light up the stage from coast to coast. This track from last year’s release features guest Ben Ellman on harmonica.
Tim Berne – “Not Sure” from Snake Oil. Avant-garde hero Berne has made a more accessible but no less impressive album on the ECM release. Band members include Oscar Noriega (clarinet), Mat Mitchell (piano) and Ches Smith(drums, tympani, gongs and congas). Check out my recent interview with Tim here.
Vijay Iyer – “Human Nature” from Solo. Vijay’s trio is currently earning high praise, so it’s his solo gig at the 180 seat FlynnSpace will be one of the highlights of the Festival. Check out his reworked version of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”, by way of Miles Davis’ cover.
Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian – “Lover Man” from Live at Birdland. Lee will lead his quartet, which included top drummer Matt Wilson, onto the stage at FlynnSpace to end the Festival. He will be followed by the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival Nonet featuring Ray Vega and Alex Stewart doing a salute to “The Birth of the Cool”, which featured Konitz more than fifty years ago. Will he sit in and recreate a solo?
Christian McBride & Inside Straight – “The Shade of the Cedar Tree” from Kind of Brown. One of the top bass players in the world leads a top combo, which has often featured saxophonist Steve Wilson. This is one of McBride’s best compositions, a tribute to mentor Cedar Walton.
Burlington Discover Jazz Festival June 1-10, 2012 www.discoverjazz.com . Tickets and general information are available at: www.discoverjazz.com 802-86-FLYNN (802-863-5966) FlynnTix Regional Box Office, 153 Main Street, Burlington, VT 05401