Jun 25, 2014
The 37th annual Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, one of the most celebrated and longest running jazz events in the world will be held on Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This year's festival headliners include Earth, Wind & Fire, Trombone Shorty, Terence Blanchard, Dave Holland Prism, Patti Austin, Jon Batiste & Stay Human, Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Newport Jazz Festival®: Now 60, among others. Tickets for the festival will be available online beginning February 25 for Saratoga Performing Arts Center's highest level members and March 18 for the general public. Tickets and information are available at www.spac.org.
Located in Saratoga Springs, New York at the bucolic Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the festival was founded in 1978 by jazz impresario George Wein and has hosted a who's who of jazz greats over the years including Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, B.B. King, Wayne Shorter and Ray Charles. With an inside seating capacity of 5,200, lawn seating of 20,000, world class jazz talent performing on two stages, and an idyllic state park setting located just three hours driving time from either Boston or New York City, the festival draws thousands of fans from across the Northeast and throughout North America.
One of the great joys – and ultimately dilemmas – of the Festival is the high quality of acts on two stages; the inside shed Main Stage and outdoor Gazebo Stage. While the household names play on the Main Stage, the up-and-coming or lesser known acts are on the latter, and they include some of my favorites, including the Marc Cary Focus Trio, Jaimeo Brown, Mary Halvorson Trio, Sean Jones Quartet, Warren Wolf & Wolfpack, and Tim Berne's Snakeoil, all of whom are making their festival debuts. The stage will also feature returning saxophonist Lew Tabackin with his trio.
While two-days and two-stages of live, world class jazz is the centerpiece of the weekend, fans can also enjoy a host of amenities including a fine arts and crafts fair, CD signings by artists, a full-service bar in the Hall of Springs, southern style barbeque and other food vendors, all presented by Stella Artois. Guests are welcome to bring in their own food and beverages, as well as blankets, tents and lawn umbrellas. Parking for the event is free.
As he has for the past few years, Danny Melnick, President of Absolutely Live Entertainment, which co-produces the festival with SPAC, joins us for a podcast preview of the weekend. Podcast 433 features our conversation about the festival, including musical selections from some of the performers, including:
Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters - "My Buddy Buddy Friends" from Now My Soul.
Terence Blanchard - "Comet" from Magnetic.
Earth, Wind & Fire - "Got to Get You Into My Life" from The Essential Earth, Wind & Fire.
Marc Carey Focus Trio - "Indigenous" from Four Directions.
Trombone Shorty - "Vieux Carre" from Say That to Say This.