2022 edition of the Newport Jazz Festival is now in the history
books. And what a chapter it wrote. It had the usual smorgasbord of
jazz and other things, with R&B and hip-hop-laced acts sprinkled
among the jazz offerings to help attract younger listeners.
the jazz was plentiful – and the three-day festival at Fort Adams
State Park an exhausting whirlwind for someone dashing from photo pit
to photo pit. Between Friday’s opening and Sunday’s grand, grand,
grand finale, there were 54 acts on the three stages from July 29-31.
And that total doesn’t include the 10 less formal mini-acts
presented under a pop-up tent called the Foundation Stage during main
stage (Fort Stage) changeovers.
this writer-photographer, it was a chance to hear a lot of fresh
faces at Newport. They included young trumpeter Giveton Gelin,
hailing from Nassau, Bahamas, and edgy Japanese trumpeter Takuya
Kuroda, British saxophonist Nubya Garcia, British drummer Yussef
Dayes, and singer Laufey, originally from Iceland, now living in
substantial New Orleans presence throughout the weekend included
trumpeter/keyboardist Nicholas Payton’s trio; trumpeter Terence
Blanchard, whose E-Collective band was augmented by the Turtle Island String
Quartet; plus pianist Sullivan Fortner, the Nth Power, Tuba Skinny,
P.J. Morton, the Soul Rebels Brass Band and Trombone Shorty. Drummer Joe Dyson was a member of Gelin's quintet.
coverage for OffBeat magazine is posted here.
|Doug Carn and Gary Bartz |
the more powerful individual sets: guitarist Dan Wilson, bassist
Carlos Henriquez’ Latin nonet, pianist Emmet Cohen’s trio, the
R&B band Lettuce, and the jam-style performance of the Jazz is
Dead project with Katalyst that featured spotlight performances by bassist Henry
Franklin, B-3 player Doug Carn and saxophonist Gary Bartz.
director Christian McBride’s power-packed Newport Jawn set on the
main stage teamed the bassist with pianist Vijay Iyer, tenor
saxophonist Chris Potter, guitarist Mike Stern, harpist Brandee
Younger and drummer Makaya McCraven.
was too much music to fully describe, from big bands to headlining
singers. I will say that my favorite weekend set was young singer
Samara Joy’s performance with her quartet, featuring Italian
guitarist Pasquale Grasso. Close your eyes, listen close and you
might swear that Sarah Vaughan had been reincarnated.
At age 85, Ron Carter was the eldest performer, appearing on Sunday with his quartet in a truncated main stage set that began 30 minutes late. The band apparently got stuck in traffic.
what Newport be without a surprise walk on or two. Dan Wilson brought
up singer Nigel Hall. When Wilson realized they were both in the same
place on the same day, he said he couldn’t resist the opportunity
to share the stage together. They explored Leon Russell’s classic
ballad “A Song for You.” A couple hours later, Nicholas Payton
sat in with the Lettuce band for a tune.
long weekend of music was capped by a loving tribute to the late
George Wein. The festival’s founding producer passed away last
September, three weeks shy of his 96th
|The Wein Machine|
of Wein's impact seemingly were everywhere at the festival. Inside
the main gate there was a perfect tribute: his “Wein Machine”
golf cart was on display. It had moved Wein between stages and his
backstage trailer for more than a decade.
Wein celebration was both poignant and powerful. It began with
several numbers featuring members of Wein’s recent Newport Jazz
Festival All-Star groups: trumpeters Randy Brecker and Jon Faddis,
tenor saxophonist Lew Tabackin and clarinetist Anat Cohen, backed by
pianist Christian Sands, bassist McBride (who succeeded Wein as the
festival’s artistic director a few years ago), and drummer Lewis
|Cecile McLorin Salvant|
came the 75-minute set’s special guests and band permutations.
Sands, Nash and bassist Jay Leonhart backed singer Cecile McLorin
Salvant’s take on “Thou Swell.” Cohen's version of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz," clarinet soaring and swooping, was exquisite. Energetic pianist Hiromi took
the stage for one solo number, then accompanied Faddis on a stunning
version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with subtle backing from
Leonhart and Nash.
Shorty joined the celebration, playing trumpet and singing on “The
Sunny Side of the Street” with support from Hiromi, McBride and
Nash. Then Scott, Leonhart and Nash backed him on the New Orleans
jazz staple “St. James Infirmary,” with Shorty shifting to
closing number, Duke Ellington's "Cotton Tail," had all of them back on stage, with powerful solos
from the horn players, Hiromi and Sands tossing the melody back and
forth with some four-handed piano wizardry, and Leonhart and McBride
mixing it up on bowed bass interludes. Giveton Gelin sneaked in for a
solo after fellow horn men Brecker and Faddis.
was quite something.
I'll be posting more festival photographs in the days ahead.