Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New site for Festival Preview

Hello festival-goers,

Festival Preview has recently gone through a major site upgrade and will now be posting festival news for all genres on the new beta version of FestivalPreview.com. The jazz section of the new site can be found here. Come sign up at the new site and join in on the fun!

Jessica Bailiff
Publishing Associate
Festival Preview

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tix on sale for the Inland Empire Jazz Festival

Tickets went on sale yesterday for the Inland Empire Jazz Festival, which will be held on August 22, 23 and 24 in Cucamonga-Guasti regional park. The fesitivies will include family activities and feature the likes of Bobby Lyle, Tierra, Mark Wood, Elements, Tim Bowman and more.

All in all, the music will span New Orleans, jazz fusion, free funk and jazz pel.

The first day will offer most of the family activities and will be a special "Celebrate Community Day," catering especially to people with developmental disabilities. Advance tickets for the Saturday and Sunday, the 23rd and 24th, are $35 each, while tickets for Friday only costs $5.

For more information about the festival go to www.iejazz.com or call (877) 9-IEJAZZ.

Chevy Chase hosts Newport

Chevy Chase will host the Newport Jazz Festival, which will run from the 8th of August to the 10th, for the second year in a row. Listen for Chase randomly saying something rude about Jane Curtain at the festival's main stage in Fort Adams State Park.

Chase's relationship to jazz is actually a bit deepr than you might think. Both a drummer and pianist, he played the skins in a college jazz band with Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, and actually made such inroads as a performer and fan at New York jazz clubs that Miles Davis once asked him to sit in for a night in place of Davis's drummer Tony Williams.

Headliners for the Festival are Aretha Franklin, Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hancock. For more info on the festival, click here.

Litchfield Jazzfest on Aug. 1-3

The 13th Litchfield Jazz Festival starts on August 1st at the Goshen Fairgrounds in Litchfield, CT. Major performers this year include Paquito D'Rivera with the Zaccai Curtis Trio, Bebe Neuwirth, and the Winard Harper Sextet.

Besides the sets of the main performers, the festival kicks off with a Friends of the Festival Gala at the Winvian Resort & Spa and an afterparty and open jam session at the Heritage Hotel in nearby Southbury immediately following Conrad Herwig's headlining set.

There are several classes of tickets for the festival, starting with single-day lawn seat passes ($35 each), then moving up to single-day tent passes (each of which comes with a chair, and costs $55 ), a Friends of the Festival pass ($155) and Best Friends pass ($350). The main difference between the "Friends" passes is that the regular Friends pass includes the Gala, up-front concert seating and complimentary VIP parking for Friday night, while the Best Friends option also includes free parking all weekend and a special gift.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

In the arena at Monterey Jazz

You can have a great time at Monterey Jazz with just a grounds pass, seeing artists on at least five side stages. But you need an arena pass to see the festival's headline concerts. Ticket holders from previous years have first dibs on their last year's seats, or have a chance to move up.

New buyers always have an opportunity to get into the arena, but the seats always sell out well in advance. So this is a good time to be making plans to get your arena passes for the September 19-21 event.

Keep in mind that arena passes are sold for the full festival only. No single session tickets are available.

The arena lineup has plenty of highlights. Sunday night sets by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter will follow a celebration of the collaboration between John Coltrane and vocalist Johnny Hartman. Another big tribute comes Saturday night, with Nancy Wilson, Terrance Blanchard and Tom Scott remembering the great Cannonball Adderly.

Other arena highlights include modernist Joshua Redman, vocalist Cassandra Wilson in her MJF debut, a funk jazz program with Ledisi and Maceo Parker, and various performances by artist in residence Christian McBride with various festival orchestras and a commissioned composer.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pianomania at JVC New York

By kindofblue

I didn’t plan it this way — and I have a feeling the festival people didn’t either — but my experience of the JVC Jazz Festival in New York this year has been remarkably piano-centric.

Over the course of three nights this week, I got to see Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson, two of the outstanding jazz pianists of the under-40 generation, as well as Herbie Hancock, who needs no introduction (but who could have used a little guidance on how to organize a concert; more on that below). Earlier I had seen Cecil Taylor, George Cables, and (as part of a tribute to yet another pianist, Alice Coltrane) Geri Allen. And that’s not to mention the great pianists I didn’t get a chance to see: Kenny Barron, Hank Jones, Dick Hyman, and probably a few others whose names escape me at the moment.

It was probably just a coincidence — after all, none of the advertising or publicity put any particular emphasis on the wealth of pianistic talent. And this is not to suggest that there haven’t been some great performances by musicians who play other instruments. But coincidence or not, this year’s JVC bash has been an unusually sumptuous feast for lovers of great piano playing.

Brad Mehldau is always worth seeing, and to say that there was nothing out of the ordinary about his June 22 concert at Zankel Hall is not a criticism but simply an observation. He had his usual accompanists (Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums), as keenly attuned to the nuances of his playing as ever, and he was his usual thoughtful but not cerebral self, never flaunting his considerable technique but
always using it in the service of his fertile imagination. There was, on the other hand, something decidedly unusual about the June 24 concert at the New York Society for Ethical Culture by Ethan Iverson’s band, the Bad Plus.

I know, I know — the Bad Plus is a collective trio and technically not “Ethan Iverson’s band.” But the pianist is inevitably the center of attention in any piano-bass-drums trio, and however important the contributions of bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King (as composers and musicians), Iverson tends to be the focal point of the Bad Plus, and he tends to make the most of that position.

This concert was quite different, though, because the Bad Plus was joined by a fourth musician, the amazing guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. (For the occasion the group was unimaginatively billed as the Bad Plus 1.) Given how smoothly the Bad Plus functions as a unit, the potential for a train wreck was always there, but it never materialized: Rosenwinkel was seamlessly integrated into the group, and the other musicians for long stretches of time lay back and happily functioned as nothing more or less than a very sympathetic rhythm section. The chemistry was impressive.

Chemistry, sad to say, was sorely missing at Herbie Hancock’s eagerly awaited Carnegie Hall concert on June 23. As one of the very few musicians to achieve success in the pop market without jeopardizing his status as a jazz great, Hancock has certainly earned the right to present whatever kind of concert he wants to. The main problem on this occasion was that he tried to do too much and didn’t stay in one bag for too long; as a result the concert had a diffuse, unfocused feel.

He had two singers with him to do material from his albums of Joni Mitchell songs and pop collaborations. The Mitchell songs would have sounded better with a more thoughtful singer than Sony Kitchell, but the U2 song “When Love Comes to Town,” though competently sung by Amy Keys, seemed more than a little out of place at a Herbie Hancock concert. At least he performed “Maiden Voyage” (in an impressionistic unaccompanied performance), “Cantaloupe Island” and a rousing “Chameleon,” which still sounds fresh more than three decades after its blend of jazz and electrified funk shocked the world. But the patchwork nature of the evening left a lot of listeners — including this one — scratching their heads.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A tale of two venues at JVC New York

By kindofblue

So far the JVC New York Jazz Festival is off to a good start at one of its new venues, the Concert Hall of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. The situation at another new venue, Le Poisson Rouge, has been a little different — for reasons having nothing to do with music.

The Ethical Culture hall, on the Upper West Side, has some acoustical problems, and the seats — pews, actually (the Ethical Culture Society is a kind of quasi-religion for people who don’t like religion) — aren’t all that comfortable. But all things considered it’s not a bad place to hear music, and so far it has hosted two outstanding, invigorating concerts.

The first was the tribute to Alice Coltrane on June 19, featuring her son Ravi Coltrane on saxophone, with Geri Allen on piano, Charlie Haden on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. The concert was inspired and inspiring; despite the spiritual nature of much of the music, the players never forgot to swing. It was a powerful enough evening to send me back to my Alice Coltrane albums, which is what a tribute should do.

The next night, the inimitable Cecil Taylor was in fine if surprisingly mellow form. Performing unaccompanied, he was recognizably himself — his attack was typically two-fisted, his atonality typically assertive — but his hour-long improvisation had moments of exquisite beauty as well.

I haven’t yet been to Le Poisson Rouge, on the site of the old Village Gate in Greenwich Village, but there is already a creepy vibe about the place. A concert by the acclaimed Swedish trio E.S.T. was canceled when the group’s leader, pianist Esbjorn Svensson, was killed in a diving accident. And Bill Frisell’s show was canceled because of an illness in the family. If I were a superstitious man, I would be worried that the place is haunted. Happily, I don’t think that way, and I hope to be checking the place out very soon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sonoma Jazz + has a Kool opening night

Last night Kool & The Gang kicked off the first night of the Sonoma Jazz + Festival in Sonoma CA. Known for songs like "Celebration," "Cherish," "Jungle Boogie," "Ladies' Night," and "Get Down on It," they have won two Grammy Awards and have over 30 Gold and Platinum Albums. According to the SJ+ program, they've been performing together for over 30 years. I've never had the opportunity to see them perform before last night and I was completely impressed with the show they put on. Their performance was seamless and their energy was contagious--people of all ages were up in front of the stage dancing. They had no problem getting the audience involved, whether it was singing the words to the songs or dancing or jumping to the funky beats. At the end of the night, they fired up the audience with a drum solo that led into their final song of the night, "Celebration."

The festival atmosphere inside the performance tent was fun and friendly. The tent itself was larger than I expected (even though I went in knowing it could hold 3000 people). It was large enough to necessitate two screens on either side of the stage broadcasting the performance for the people in the back and on the sides. The sound was great. The speakers were huge and I could feel the bass notes vibrating in my ribcage. Overall, the night was a success by my standards. I enjoyed the night and it was obvious that the people around me did too.

If you're going to attend the Sonoma Jazz + Festival, here are a couple things I learned from my experience last night:

  1. Bring a jacket. The performance tent was a pleasantly cool temperature, but by the time Kool & The Gang were finished and everyone was going back to their cars, it was windy and cold.
  2. Watch out for unmarked streets. I spent a lot of time being lost before I actually got to the festival. If you're unfamiliar with Sonoma, it would be a good idea to bring a map and/or a cell phone with you. Luckily I had a map with me and access to Google SMS, which provided me with directions that ended up getting me to the festival.
Make sure to stay tuned for more SJ+ coverage. Tonight's big performers are Al Green and Herbie Hancock. I can't wait!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sonoma Jazz + opens Memorial Day weekend

Every year Sonoma Jazz + (SJ+), sister to Jazz Aspen Snowmass, serves the quiet, mountain-nestled wine country town of Sonoma CA with world-class music. SJ+ is known for its excellent taste in music, having a history of scheduling top-notch artists like Tony Bennett, BB King, Natalie Cole, Isaac Hayes, Steve Winwood, and Dianne Reeves. Following in this tradition, SJ+ will open its 2008 festival season from May 22-25, featuring headlining acts Kool & The Gang (May 22), recent Grammy Award winner, Herbie Hancock (May 23), Al Green (May 23), Diana Krall (May 24), and closing the festival on the 25th will be Al Jarreau and Bonnie Raitt.

With room for over 3000 people, the main performances of the night will be held in a tent in the Field of Dreams, just two blocks away from the historic Sonoma Central Plaza. The earlier evening performances will be held on the Village Stage. Seating for events on the Village Stage opens half an hour before the start time and the main tent opens one hour prior to commencement.

Being held smack dab in the middle of wine country, Sonoma Jazz + will celebrate the viticulture that has visually enriched the landscape of the county by hosting the Wine & Song Around the Plaza. This daytime event will spotlight local music and local wineries. Tickets for Wine & Song Around the Plaza are available for $60, which includes a souvenir wine glass & tote, 7 performances by local musicians, 12 wine tastings and 4 food tastings daily. Wine & Song will be held May 24th and 25th from 2-5 PM.

Sonoma Jazz + prides itself on its marriage of fine musical entertainment and the highest quality cuisine. To fully experience all Sonoma Jazz + has to offer, private hospitality tents, or casitas, are offered for festival attendees and their guests. The casita package includes a private decorated tent, specialized menu with wine pairings, full bar, private wait staff and security, private lavatories, and premium patron seating in the main tent in the Field of Dreams. (This package requires a minimum of 20 guests and is sold per day4.)

As a not-for-profit organization, the festival aims to bring not only the best live music entertainment to the community, but music education into local schools. SJ+ has played a role in several youth-oriented programs, including Guitars in the Classroom and Opera a la Carte, allowing students to gain an in depth understanding of what goes into musical events from the production side as well as the aspects of learning to play and practice instruments.

Tickets for all Sonoma Jazz + events can be purchased online or over the phone by calling 866-527-TIXX. Visit their Web site for more information.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Newport balances legends and newcomers

With all-time greats Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hancock as headliners, the 2008 Newport Jazz Festival (August 8-10, Newport RI) lays its usual claim to the history and tradition of jazz, but the program announced today places significant emphasis on modern directions in the music.

"There are some acts that are favorites from the festival's past, but then half the fun of Newport Jazz has always been the discovery of the next generation of musicians through stand alone shows and great collaborations," said Tom Shepard, CEO of The Festival Network, in a press release.

The Festival Network is the successor company to Festival Productions Inc., the long-time producer of the festival. The legendary George Wein who created the festival makes an appearance on the main stage playing piano with the Newport All-Stars, but his control of the event has been passed on to the new management.

The appearance by Sonny Rollins is notable since he has not appeared at Newport for many years. Other renowned players set for 2008 include Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland and the Charlie Haden/Ethan Iverson/Paul Motian trio.

The popular smooth-jazz trumpet player Chris Botti is the third headliner, closing the main stage on Saturday and anchoring the Friday night opening concert at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The Saturday and Sunday schedule takes place as usual at Fort Adams State Park in Newport.

Among less traditional fare, there will be a strong R&B flavor with Ledisi, Soulive with Fred Wesley and the Anthony Hamilton Blues Project. Lionel Loueke Trio brings in an African influence, while the Marco Benevento Trio with Chris Potter crosses over in a rock direction. Lesser known entries playing more traditional jazz styles include Empirical, Guillermo Klein y Los Gauchos, and Warren Vache Quintet.

One yet-to-be-named act will be chosen by the general public from ensembles submitting audition tracks to www.ourstage.com/go/newportjazz. Tickets go on sale May 8 at the Festival Network website.

The full lineup follows:

Friday, August 8, 2008 - 8:00pm
International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino
Chris Botti
Ledisi

Saturday, August 9, 2008 - 11:30am - 7:00pm
Fort Adams State Park

JVC Jazz Stage
Chris Botti
Wayne Shorter Quartet
Dave Holland-Gonzalo Rubalcaba-Chris Potter-Eric Harland
Ledisi

Pavilion Stage
Holland-Rubalcaba-Potter-Harland
Haden - Iverson - Motian
Warren Vache Quintet
Brian Blade Fellowship

Waterside Stage
Lettuce with special guest Fred Wesley
Aaron Goldberg Trio
Christian Scott

Sunday, August 10, 2008 - 11:30am - 7:00pm
Fort Adams State Park

JVC Jazz Stage
Sonny Rollins
Herbie Hancock
Anthony Hamilton Blues Project
George Wein & The Newport All-Stars with Anat Cohen, Howard Alden, Esperanza Spalding, Jeff Ballard

Pavilion Stage
Marco Benevento Trio with special guest Chris Potter
Guillermo Klein y Los Gauchos
Christ Potter's Underground
Mark Rapp Band

Waterside Stage
Soulive with special guest Fred Wesley
Lionel Loueke Trio
Experanza Spalding
Empirical (UK)
OurStage.com winner

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jazz Fest video moments

For a flavor of Jazzfest over the weekend, here are some clips from video blogger Kelly Butler.

video
Michael Franti Friday night at the Congo Square stage. Actually, he's in front of the stage, in the photographer's pit, revving up the crowd to ignore the occasional rainbursts.


video
Jimmy Buffett Saturday night on the Acura Stage does another costume change as a polygamist for his rowdy song "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw."

Randy Newman performing "Short People" Thursday afternoon on the Gentilly Stage.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Blue Room has Jazz Fest live this weekend

Having wrapped up its Coachella coverage last weekend, the AT&T Blue Room is set to webcast live from New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival May 3-4. The stream will offer live sets from second-weekend headliners such as The Neville Brothers, Jimmy Buffett, Widespread Panic and Tim McGraw, as well as recorded highlights from the first weekend of the festival.

AT&T has be webcasting from major festivals for the last few seasons. Last year, it created a stir when portions of a Lollapalooza set were edited out for political reasons. Later this summer, The Blue Room will be airing performances from Bonnaroo. Visit The Blue Room for all the details.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Continuity is theme at JVC Jazz NY

By kindofblue

What to make of the recently announced JVC Jazz Festival New York schedule, the first under the aegis of Festival Network?

It’s worth studying carefully, if only because, while George Wein clearly had a hand in planning this year’s festival, he also clearly won’t be around that much longer, and this lineup presumably offers some clues at to how Festival Network is going to be running things.

At first glance (and second, and third), the lineup looks pretty much like more of the same, with maybe a little more of a pop crossover slant (Chris Botti, Al Green, Mos Def) and a little less nostalgia (only one tribute concert to a dead person, Alice Coltrane, and no 70th or 80th birthday celebrations).

The former is a shoulder-shrugger — festivals have to make money, you need pop acts to sell tickets, and blah blah blah. The latter is either encouraging (more focus on the present, less on the past) or saddening (they’re running out of old and/or dead people to honor), depending on your point of view.

On the positive side, there are some new venues (most intriguingly a new nightclub on the site of the old Village Gate) and some unfamiliar acts: I’m psyched to see Charles Lloyd’s new quartet with Jason Moran on piano, and the Bad Plus augmented by Kurt Rosenwinkel’s guitar sounds like a good idea.

And it’s always good to see any festival take a chance on Cecil Taylor, probably the most polarizing artist in jazz. (I’ll never forget, many years ago, seeing a JVC double bill at Carnegie Hall of Oscar Peterson and Taylor. Peterson played first. About half the audience left at intermission, and about half of the remaining audience walked out in a steady stream during Taylor’s set. Me, I can’t wait to see him again.)

My overall take? It looks like business as usual, more or less — which isn’t really so bad. I’m just glad, in the face of all the
economic gloom and all the radical changes in the music business, that there are still enough artists promoters feel comfortable booking for a two-week jazz festival. And that most of them are actual jazz artists.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jazzfest Threadheads raffle benefits New Orleans music

For Jazzfest attendees, check out this report from Lisa G at Festive Living on a worthy fund raiser.

New Orleans Jazzfest is only weeks away and I CAN'T WAIT! A highlight of my trip to Jazzfest for the past several years has been festing and partying with other Jazzfest fanatics from all over the US, Canada and overseas that I've met through the Jazzfest message board. This forum is a great way to keep up with all the news and tips on stuff to do in New Orleans before, during and after Jazzfest. Due to the somewhat addictive nature of the board, and the fact that topics are called "threads", those of us who read and post there have come to be called Threadheads.

In 2008, for the third year in a row, some of the Threadheads have organized an online raffle to benefit New Orleans Musicians Clinic, which provides access to health and social welfare services for the local music community. A new beneficiary this year is a charity called Fest4Kids, which partners with Silence is Violence in a program to give New Orleans youth an opportunity to learn and play music, mentored by some of the talented local musicians, and to send kids to fest that might not otherwise be able to afford it.

There are over 100 items being raffled off this year, in so many categories - collectibles, music, art, travel and more. The way the raffle works, is you buy tickets for specific items on the website, threadheadraffle.org using Paypal. Some of the prizes are for use in New Orleans, like tickets to night shows and restaurant certificates, but there are lots of other fun items that can be enjoyed anywhere, like t-shirts, posters, one-of-a-kind hand made artwork, jewelry, wine, and so much more. In the Travel category, there is a trip to Disney World being offered, as well as a weekend in New Orleans. And in the category of "Other", there's even an animatronic parrot - Squawkers McCaw - who loves to go to festivals!

The raffle will be held on 4/28, the Monday between Jazzfest weekends in New Orleans, but you need not be present to win. Prizes not picked up in New Orleans will be shipped to the winner, who will be notified by email. I can assure you this is 100% legit, as I have been present at the raffle the last 2 years, and the organizers of this raffle are friends of mine. A list of the winners will also be posted on the messageboard. You can read more about the Threadheads, the raffle, and other related projects here.

If you love New Orleans, or the music of New Orleans and the Louisiana as much as we do, and want to help us keep it going, please consider helping out these causes by buying some tickets on the raffle site, shown below. You can contribute a few bucks and maybe win a cool prize too. And please forward this message to anyone else like us who loves New Orleans and may want to help support some of the musicians - present and future - who are nurtured there.

http://www.ThreadheadRaffle.org

Merci, and laissez les bon temps roulez!

Vibrant program for JVC NY 2008

Festival Network rolled out a dynamic program for JVC Jazz Festival New York, playing at Carnegie Hall and all around town for 14 days June 15-28. It's the first full festival produced under the new management, which bought out producer George Wein last year, and a quick review of the program shows the same combination of big jazz names, interesting pairings and all-star tributes that we've seen in recent years.

Some of the highlights: Herbie Hancock's River of Possibilities Tour; a Bossa Nova celebration starring João Gilberto; a JVC exclusive with Bad Plus 1 featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel; festival debuts by Jill Scott, Mos Def Big Band with special guest Gil Scott-Heron, Charlie Haden Quartet West and Bill Frisell Trio; tributes to pianist Hank Jones and to producers Art D’Lugoff and Jack Kleinsinger; and standout performers Chris Botti, Al Green, Cecil Taylor, George Cables, Sergio Mendes, Soulive with special guest Joshua Redman, and Charles Lloyd.

Major venues for the festival include seven headline shows at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium; 10 concerts at the New York Society for Ethical Culture; and six shows at the old Village Gate, now called Le Poisson Rouge. Other venues are the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea, uptown at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn.

The festival also presents free events in city parks. June 19 at the Prospect Park Bandshell looks like a great night with Medeski, Martin & Wood, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog and Taylor McFerrin. Besides the scheduled events, many of the clubs in town will be running late night shows with two-for-one discounts for festival ticketholders. Check out The Blue Note, Birdland, Cachaca, Iridium, Smoke and Zinc.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

51st Monterey Lineup Released

It's not as if you've never seen these names in Monterey lineups, but that's not really the point. What is the point is the second-half century of an annual festival that has adapted to the times but never lost its focus-- bringing the best from all styles en masse for a (relatively) affordable price. The Derek Trucks, on the Arena stage on Saturday, is probably the biggest outlier this year. 


As far as tickets go, it's $220 for a three-day pass with Arena access, $110 for three days without the Arena and $35 for a one-day Grounds-only ticket. All classes of tickets give festivalgoers access to the myriad panels, exhibitions and conversations that will be going on from Friday to Sunday. Read more about it here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Brian Bromberg


Photo Credit: No photo credit available

Brian Bromberg

Bromberg started a full-time career as a session musician immediately upon dropping out of high school. Since then, he's performed with a who's-who of jazz (Bill Evans, Lee Ritenour, Dizzy Gillespie, ad infinitum) and then some (Josh Groban, Lalo Schiffren, Robben Ford). So he must have the chops. But even on his own recordings, he hasn't flaunted them to the point of exhaustian like other session guys who finally lead the band. Instead he's opted for pushing the foundational boundaries of fusion. From funk to rock, he puts down the type of grooves that both rocket scientists and the rest of humanity can enjoy.

Personnel: Brian Bromberg (bass, programming)

Upcoming: Berks Jazz Festival March 28-April 6

Bromberg Performing Some Nice Lead Lines on "Bassface"



Video by Brian Bromberg.

Berks Jazz Festival


Photo Credit: Berks Arts Council

Berks Jazz Festival

While Berks's lineup doesn't quite match up with those of the last two featureds-- SFJAZZ and Mellon Jazz in Philly's spring seasons, respectively-- it only has 10 days to show its stuff. Within this span of time however, the festival manages to do pretty well for itself. There's enough variety (funk, blues and hip-hop) to keep casual fans entertained, as well as the right new-and-old mix (Regina Carter and Pat Martino, for example) when it comes to the event's advertised genre. Prices for the festival's various shows range from $0 to $49, depending on performance and seating location.

Headliners: Nancy Wilson, Buddy Guy, Chris Botti, Regina Carter, Rick Braun and Richard Elliot, Pat Martino, Jason Miles and DJ Logic, Euge Grooe and Alex Bugnon

Pat Martino Performing at Berks 2007



Video by DWillygtr.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Los Angeles Latin Jazz Festival 2008 Announced

                                  Photo Credit: Arts Link (Word Press)
This year's Los Angeles Latin Jazz Festival, located at the L.A. Greek Theater, goes down on Saturday May 10th and features Eddie Palmieri plus the Latin Giants of Jazz, which is just a tad confusing-- isn't Eddie Palmieri a "Latin Giant of Jazz"? Anyway, that name, in short, refers to legendary former members of the Tito Puente Orchestra, as elaborated directly below: 


The Los Angeles Latin Jazz Festival will play the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles for an incredible night of music on Saturday, May 10th.

The date has been set and all the artists have been booked for the “Salsa meets Jazz” night, which will open the world famous Greek Theater’s season on May 10, featuring the Los Angeles Latin Jazz Festival 2008. The headliner for this year’s event is Pianist, Composer, arranger, nine (9) time Grammy Winner Eddie Palmieri. Mr. Palmieri will be performing his big band arrangements of his famous original compositions that have made him one of the most beloved Latin Jazz and Classic Salsa artists throughout the world for over fifty (50) years. Palmieri will perform his classic West Coast favorites (for listening and dancing) compositions like Vamonos pal Monte, Azucar pa Ti, Puerto Rico and Pa la Ocha Tambor among others.

The reunion of former members of the Tito Puente Orchestra “The Latin Giants of Jazz” for the first time in Los Angeles since the untimely passing of ‘El Rey” eight years ago is another highlight of this year’s show. Under the leadership of percussionist Johnny ‘Dandy” Rodriguez and musical direction of arranger, percussionist Jose Madera the other 15 plus year veterans of the Tito Puente Orchestra ( Mitch Froman, Lewis Kahn, Reynaldo Jorge, Pete Miranda and John Walsh among others) will perform music of ‘The King”. During the set The Latin Giants of Jazz will be joined by flautist Dave Valentin, timbale player Oreste Vilato and violinist Alfredo De La Fe who will appear as special invited guests.

Los Angeles local favorites The Jazz on the Latin Side All-Stars (who are keeping our big band Latin Music tradition alive) will perform the music that has made them a contender in global Jazz and Latin scene. Jose Rizo’s concept of uniting the best musicians in town to perform “Nuestra Musica” has turned out to be a hit in cities outside of Los Angeles. TJL All-Stars will pay a special salute to Master Congero Francisco Aguabella. Other artists will be confirmed for this special salute to el maestro.

The night will end with a jam session of all mother jam sessions.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Monterey Jazz artist in residence to open season April 3 at Next Generation Festival

The Monterey Jazz Festival's 51st year gets underway next month with a special concert by the festival's 2008 artist in residence as part of its fourth Next Generation Festival featuring top youth jazz bands from around the world. Renowned bassist and composer Christian McBride will give his first performance as part of his official role with the festival, performing with the Christian McBride Situation, a combo with keyboard, saxophone, bass and DJ.

The concert takes place April 3 at the historic Golden State Theater in downtown Monterey CA. Details and ticket information is available at the MJF website. The Next Generation Festival runs April 3-6 at the Monterey Conference Center. The festival includes the annual National High School Jazz Competition, which was described by one-time winner Joshua Redmond as "the Super Bowl of California high school jazz competitions."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

5th Annual Portland Jazz Festival Lineup

                                             Photo Credit: Portland Jazz Festival
                                 
This is an excerpt from the press release introducing the program for the Portland (OR) Jazz Festival, running from Feb. 15-24:

A great deal of contemporary mainstream jazz, generally speaking, is risk free. Most jazz festivals in America play it safe, sticking with a successful and predictable stable of artists who rarely take the music beyond its resting place in history.

The fifth annual Portland Jazz Festival, presented by Qwest & The Oregonian A&E, set for February 15-24, dares to go where few jazz festivals in North America have ever been -- moving ever forward. Indeed, any jazz event which opens with free jazz innovator Ornette Coleman and later closes with avant-garde pianist Cecil Taylor, is admittedly ‘out there.' But, along with the likes of Parker, Coltrane, Rollins, Monk, Mingus and Miles, these were the players who kept pushing jazz foward; more afraid of standing still perhaps than spinning off the road out of control.

Yet even with the emphasis on the cutting edge art, the 2008 Portland Jazz Festival remains an diverse experience -- a kaleidoscope of sounds and colors going every which way.

When one adds during this 10-day event the names of Joshua Redman, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Maceo Parker, Tord Gustavsen, Nik Bartsch’s Ronin, Jillian Lebeck, Avishai Cohen, Rob Scheps, Glen Moore, Myra Melford, Tim Berne, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Stefon Harris, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Bill Charlap, Nancy King, Fred Hersch, The Bad Plus, Portland Jazz Orchestra, Miguel Zenon, Renee Rosnes, Eric Harland, and the Oregon Symphony,
you’ve got the ingredients for a spicy, yet delicious jazz stew that should please the tastes of just about everybody who claims to be a jazz aficianado.

The rest of the release, which elaborates on the festival's lineup as well as jazz education and outreach programs, can be found here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tune Up for New Orleans Jazz Fest

Tune up for the festival with our playlist of two songs likely to be played by each major artist at the upcoming New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which takes place April 21-May 4 at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. The playlist is organizaed by festival day and covers headline artists playing the first weekend of the festival. Another playlist covering the second weekend will be posted soon.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jazz Fest lineup covers every genre

New Orleans Jazz Fest rolled out its massive seven-day lineup, covering every major popular music genre with marquee names, standout first timers and long-time festival favorites.

The festival claims it's "deepest overall mix of rhythm & blues, rock, jazz, country, blues, gospel, world beat, and more in the 39-year history of the event." Looking over the names it is hard to argue.

First time performers include Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, and Keyshia Cole.

Among returning festival favorites, look for The Neville Brothers, Jimmy Buffett, Santana, Widespread Panic, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, and Diana Krall.

Notable collaborations include Robert Plant and Alison Krauss; Elvis Costello and Alain Toussaint; Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea.

Besides the Nevilles, who are returning to the festival for the first time since Katrina, other New Orleans acts include Dr. John, The Radiators, Beausoleil, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and many more.

Despite the festival's name, it has always been strongest in the R&B category. In addition to names already mentioned, R&B performers include Al Green, Keb' Mo', Dianne Reeves. Delbert McClinton, James Cotton, Henry Butler, Irma Thomas and many more.

More names in rock include The Raconteurs, Cupid, Richard Thompson, Derek Trucks and Michael Franti; in roots, John Prine, Del McCoury, The Sparrow Quartet and Carolina Chocolate Drops; and in jazz, Cassandra Wilson, Terence Blanchard, the Count Basie Orchestra featuring Patti Austin, and Randy Newman (since I don't know where else to include him).

The festival runs seven days, April 25-27 and May 1-4, at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Performances take place on 11 stages running from 11 am to 7 pm each day.

A full list of performers by festival day is here at the festival web site. The precise stage schedule will be released later.