Saturday, July 12, 2014

Newport beckons

The 60th anniversary edition* of the Newport Jazz Festival is fast approaching. My bags and gear aren’t packed yet, but I’m preparing for my 33rd Newport festival in 34 years. (Since the festival returned to the City By The Sea in 1981, I only missed 1983 due to a fellowship commitment in Michigan.)

The 2014 edition includes three consecutive afternoons of music on three simultaneous stages at Fort Adams State on August 1, 2 and 3, as well as the festival’s Friday evening concert at the Internal Tennis Hall of Fame on Bellevue Avenue. The latter features the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and singer Dee Dee Bridgewater’s Billie Holiday tribute.
Gregory Porter, 2013

Among the many, many fine acts that give jazz fans young and not-so-young many listening options each day, I’m particularly looking forward to hearing:

  • singers Bridgewater, Bobby McFerrin, Gregory Porter and Cécile McLorin Salvant.
  • a quartet co-led by saxophonist David Sanborn and B3 organ master Joey DeFrancesco.
  • pianists Dr. John and Danilo Pérez.
  • the Mingus Big Band.
  • saxophonist Miguel Zenón.
  • pianist Dick Hyman with guitarist Howard Alden and bassist Jay Leonhart.
  • the hard bop collective The Cookers, featuring saxophonists Donald Harrison and Billy Harper, trumpeters Eddie Henderson and David Weiss, pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart.
  • the Newport Now 60 band.
  • the adventurous, young, original music ensemble Snarky Puppy.
The festival, produced by founding producer George Wein and his superb team, is presented by Natixis Global Asset Management.

*As I’ve noted in the past, while this is the 60th anniversary of the festival’s 1954 founding, it actually will be the 50th Newport Jazz Festival to be held in Newport. There was a 10-year hiatus after a 1971 riot by gate-crashing, beer-swilling rowdies at Festival Field. No doubt, more than a few media reports will call this the 60th festival.

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