I’m particularly looking forward to the following among the 32 scheduled Newport Jazz Festival performances:
- The Friday night New Orleans visits Newport opener at the Newport Casino and International Tennis Hall of Fame (original site of the first Newport festival in 1954). The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Dr. John’s Lower 911 Band are featured, with Jonathan Batiste and Catherine Russell as special guests of the Crescent City R&B guru, who will be the gris gris gumbo musical chef.
- Guitarist Bill Frisell’s take on the John Lennon songbook. Imagine what fun that will be.
- The U.S. debut of Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Centennial Project, one of three contemporary big bands on the weekend schedule.
- Singers Kurt Elling, Gretchen Parlato and Dianne Reeves.
- Saxophonist James Carter’s Organ Trio and percussionist Pedrito Martinez’s Group. Keep your fire extinguishers handy in both cases.
- Pat Metheny’s Unity Band featuring saxophonist Chris Potter, performing Saturday’s 90-minute finale.
- Sunday’s festival finale – a two-hour blues romp by the Susan Tedeschi-Derek Trucks Band.