Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Newport Jazz to revisit storied 1957 festival

Fifty years ago this August, the Newport Jazz Festival had one of its most memorable years with performances by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Count Basie when each was at the heights of their greatness.

This year, the opening evening of the 2007 festival will be given to a unique program, "Newport '57 Revisited: The Legacy of Ella, Billie & Basie," featuring performances by the present day Count Basie Orchestra and two of today's leading jazz vocalists, Dianne Reeves and Nnenna Freelon.

The special concert will kick off a strong program of contemporary jazz, including performances by jazz notables Branford Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Joshua Redmond, Abdullah Ibrahim, Ron Carter and many more.

The festival will also feature big-time talent from blues and R&B with performances by BB King, Al Green, and Etta James.

Continuing the '57 tribute, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band with Slide Hampton, Roberta Gambarini, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Roy Hargrove and others will explore the legacy of the trumpet great.

Other special events include a celebration of Thelonious Monk's 90th birthday and tributes to Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, and the bossa nova collaboration of Stan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

The festival runs on four stages August 10-12 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Fort Adams State Park in Newport RI.

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