Jun 13, 2017
If it’s June, then it must be time for the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, at the lovely SPAC in Saratoga Springs, New York. 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the weekend-long event, and it promises to live up to past triumphs once again.
The festival has two stages, the Amphitheatre for headliners, and the newly-renovated Gazebo Stage for up-and-coming and under the radar talent. Saturday June 24th features Chaka Khan (who had to bail from last year’s festival); Grammy darling Jacob Collier, venerable violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, the exciting singer Cecile McLoren Savant and the all-star tribute act Jazz 100: The Music of Dizzy, Mongo, and Monk featuring Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Jason Palmer, Josh Roseman, Roman Diaz, Ben Street and Adam Cruz. Gazebo highlights will include the Dave Stryker Organ Quartet featuring Eric Alexander, Jared Gold and McClenty Hunter; singer Barbara Fasano and the Aruan Ortiz Trio.
Sunday has an even stronger lineup, if that seems possible. The Amphitheatre will feature the first festival appearance of the Gipsy Kings; the Maceo Parker’s To Ray, With Love featuring the Ray Charles Orchestra & The Raelettes; the latest “supergroup” Hudson, composed of Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski and John Scofield; new NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater; a return visit from teen blues guitar whiz Quinn Sullivan; and Cuban jazz from Jane Bunnett & Maqueque.
The Gazebo highlights include two top young groups - Adam O'Farrill's Stranger Days and the Noah Preminger/Jason Palmer Quartet, along with Snarky Puppy member Cory Henry’s side project The Funk Apostles.
Danny Melnick and I talked about the festival for Podcast 580, which all the inside scoop on the weekend and the music you will hear. Featured musical selections include:
Maceo Parker – “Hit the Road Jack” from Roots and Grooves
Dave Stryker – “Blues Strut” from Blues to the Bone IV
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque – “Song for Haiti” from Jane Bunnett & Maqueque
Hudson (Jack DeJohnette. Larry Grenadier, John Medeski, John Scofield) – “Tony Then Jack” from Hudson
Adam O’Farrill - “Alligator Get the Blues” from Stranger Days