Aug 1, 2017
The Summer Jazz Festival season is in full swing, and the first weekend in August will bring us the Newport Jazz Festival (presented by Natixis) August 4-6 at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island. One of the oldest and most important Jazz Festivals in the US, this year’s festival seems to be building on the injections of young talent and new ways of presenting music that marked the past few year’s triumphs.
Newport has three stages (four if you count the intimate Storyville for solo performers) that keep the music and fun going from 11 am to around dusk each day. Fort Adams State Park has waterfront vistas, and the entire area makes for a wonderful summer’s day.
Friday is still a relatively new day of presentation, and features a wide variety of top talent, including Béla Fleck & The Flecktones; Maceo Parker; Cécile McLorin Salvant; Naturally 7; Leslie Odom, Jr. (of Hamilton fame); Joey DeFrancesco + The People; Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith; Amir ElSaffar's Rivers of Sound Orchestra; Christian Sands Quartet w. Gilad Hekselman,Yasushi Nakamura & Jerome Jennings; One for All (Jim Rotondi, Steve Davis, Eric Alexander, David Hazeltine, John Webber & Joe Farnsworth); Evan Christopher Clarinet Road & New Orleans Brass; the Rodriguez Brothers; the Jimmy Greene Quartet (w. Kevin Hays, Ben Williams & Otis Brown III) and the George Burton Quintet (w. Tim Warfield, Jason Palmer, Pablo Menares & Wayne Smith Jr.).
Saturday features Snarky Puppy; Branford Marsalis Quartet; Rhiannon Giddens; Christian McBride Big Band; Jazz 100: The Music of Dizzy, Mongo & Monk featuring Danilo Perez, Chris Potter, Avishai Cohen, Josh Roseman, Roman Diaz, Ben Street & Adam Cruz; Henry Threadgill Zooid; Vijay Iyer Sextet; Antonio Sanchez & Migration; DJ Logic's Project Logic; Benny Golson Quartet (w. Mike LeDonne, Buster Williams & Carl Allen); Uri Caine Trio (w. Mark Helias & Clarence Penn); and Dominick Farinacci. The loss of Geri Allen this summer caused a shift in personnel for the planned trio that would have included Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding. Taking over for Ms. Allen will be a group of different pianists paying tribute to her talent and grace, including Vijay Iyer and Christian Sands.
And if all that is not enough, Sunday brings it home with The Roots; Andra Day; Maria Schneider Orchestra; Hudson: Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield, John Medeski & Larry Grenadier; The Philadelphia Experiment: Questlove, Christian McBride, Uri Caine; Jason Moran: Fats Waller Dance Party; Tim Berne's Snakeoil; Bokanté f. Michael League & Malika Tirolien; Theo Croker; the Cyrus Chestnut Trio and the Sean Jones Quintet (w. Brian Hogans, Orrin Evans, Luques Curtis & Obed Calvaire).
I had the chance to preview the festival with promoter Danny Melnick and Podcast 584 is my conversation with him, including musical selections from Festival Artists like:
One for Al – “D’s Blues”
Rhiannon Giddens with Bhi Bhiman – “Freedom Highway”
Benny Golson – “Killer Joe”
Antonio Sanchez & Migration- “Channels of Energy”
The Philadelphia Experiment – “Ain’t It the Truth”