Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Newport weekend - lots of jazz

I'll be doing contributing follow-up coverage of this year's Newport Jazz Festival (Presented by Natixis Global Asset Management), at JazzTimes.com, Offbeat magazine's website, and here at blog central, particularly with imagery.

Some Newport Jazz Festival fans
arrived by water
Festival attendance totaled17,200 between Friday night, Saturday and Sunday events. There was fine music to be had all weekend, but Sunday in particular stood out with set after set of top performances on every stage. Personal weekend favorites: guitarists Jim Hall and Julian Lage, singer Gregory Porter, pianists Jonathan Batiste, Michel Camilo and Chick Corea (with his new electro-acoustic band The Vigil), saxophonists Donny McCaslin and Joshua Redman, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and drummer Roy Haynes. Among the big bands: Eddie Palmieri's Salsa Orchestra.

Suffice it to say that Wayne Shorter's footprints were all over Newport this time around.
The saxophonist was the festival's guest of honor, three weeks before his  80th birthday. There were a few melodic references to his classic "Footprints" composition weaving in and out of his duet set opener with Herbie Hancock on Saturday afternoon. Hancock also reprised the original a bit later in the day when he sat in with trumpeter Terence Blanchard's band for its encore on the Quad Stage.

They were beaten to the punch chronologically the prior evening at Newport's One Eighty club by area talents. Bassist Dave Zinno, pianist Tim Ray and Bob Gullotti spent the night digging deep into a wide range of tunes - with a spirited intensity comparable to the Fringe, a Boston-area musical institution. And they wound down their final set with their own reconstruction of "Footprints."

Tim Ray, Dave Zinno, Bob Gullotti
It is no wonder this was a Fringe-like evening. Gullotti, one of the most interesting drummers on the planet, is a founding member of the trio. Pianist Ray occasionally sits in with that edgy group.

Tenor saxophonist George Garzone, bassist Richard Appleman  and Gullotti formed the Fringe 41 years ago while they were seniors at the Berklee College of Music. Lockwood succeeded Appleman in 1985 and the personnel has stayed intact ever since. The trio performs weekly in the Boston area and tours occasionally. It has had four homes - Michael's, The Willow (for 18 years), the Lizard Lounge and its current Monday night domain: The Lily Pad in Cambridge.

"It's therapy for me. It gets me through the rest of the week," Gullotti said between sets at the One Eighty. He said the Fringe has been very busy over the past year with several tours that followed the release of its 40th anniversary CD, 40 Years On The Fringe.

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