Sunday, August 24, 2014

Another jazz postcard from Newport

As George Wein said in 1954: "A little rain can't stop us"
Even in fine weather, the logistics are mind-boggling. Three stages running simultaneously, with jazz to savor set by set or as a smorgasbord. Forty-three different acts over three afternoons at Fort Adams State Park, and two evening sets at historic Newport Casino, better known today as the International Tennis Hall of Fame. 
The fans turned out despite heavy rain on Saturday, August 2 and intermittent drizzle on Sunday. This was the 60th anniversary edition of producer George Wein's first festival - and the sea of colorful umbrellas, ponchos and rain suits added to the ambience. The mud, not so much.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stepping up mightily

Joe Lovano
The jazz community has a proud tradition of jumping in to help out a great cause, particularly when it involves one of their own. They’re doing it again this weekend in northern New Jersey.  

Blue Note Records Chairman Emeritus Bruce Lundvall, the man who revived Blue Note as a powerful jazz label in 1984, has organized an all-star concert called the Sunrise Senior Living Jazz Festival. It is being held the afternoon and evening of Sunday, August 24, at Brighton Gardens of Saddle River.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jazz postcard from Newport

Here is some more color, memories if you will, from the 60th anniversary edition of the Newport Jazz Festival, August 1-3. This was my 33rd festival in 34 years, covering for various employers and freelance assignments.

Jonathan Batiste and Stay Human

Sunday, August 10, 2014

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at CDs by Dee Alexander, Joe Beck, and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble…

Friday, August 8, 2014

Love and reverence for a jazz tradition

The 60th anniversary edition of the Newport Jazz Festival turned into a weekend of love and reverence toward its founding producer, George Wein. He started the event in 1954 with backers Elaine and Louis Lorillard, a high society couple who wanted to liven up the summer social season.

More than a dozen jazz festival producers from venues across the U.S. and around the globe were on hand last weekend. Many of them introducing bands of the three festival stages at Fort Adams State Park, all of them thanking Wein either publicly or privately for starting the jazz festival tradition in which they are all now involved so deeply.

Wein’s current operation, The Newport Festivals Foundation (nonprofit successor to his long-running Festival Productions Inc.), is one of 16 or so members of the International Jazz Festivals Organization. Its members work together to develop synergies and to keep an eye on emerging talent the world over. They meet four times a year, with the U.S. meeting usually taking place in New York in September. This year, they adjusted their schedules to meet in Newport in August.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Newport Jazz Festival @ 60: lots of rain, great musical moments, loyal fans [updated]

The Newport Jazz Festival, grandaddy of outdoor music festivals all over the world, marked its 60th anniversary over the weekend in grand, loving and soggy fashion. 

The August 1-3 event was quite the extravaganza, keeping we writers and photographers racing from stage to stage to stage in pursuit of its strong lineups and great music. There were top-flight bands no matter your style preference, and none disappointed.