Thursday, August 1, 2013

Newport Jazz Weekend is Upon Us

The Newport Jazz Festival is this weekend (Aug. 3 and 4) taking place on 3 different stages at the historic Fort Adams Park (as is has since 1954 - with 10 years away in New York City from 1972-1981).  There are numerous highlights but, arguably, the most exciting part of the weekend is Wayne Shorter's 80th Birthday Celebration.  That part of the day-long concert takes place on Saturday from 2 - 3:20 p.m. and features the saxophonist/composer's long-standing Quartet of Danilo Perez (piano), John Patitucci (bass) and Brian Blade (drums) with special guest Herbie Hancock (who has been Shorter's friend and musical compatriot for over 5 decades.)

The rest of the lineup is mighty impressive. Highlights on Saturday include the Mary Halvorson Quintet (11:15 a.m. and pictured on the left), Ray Anderson's Pocket Brass Band (11:50 a.m. - the trombonist/leader's debut at the Fest), Amir ElSaffar Two Rivers (12:40 p.m.), Robert Glasper Experiment (sadly, opposite Mr. Shorter's show at 2 p.m.), Rez Abbasi Trio (2:30 p.m.), Terence Blanchard (3:20 p.m.), Esperanza Spalding Radio Music Society (3:40 p.m.), Gregory Porter (4:40 p.m.) and more (Lew Tabackin Quartet and Marcus Miller - not together.)

But wait! There's more!

As for Sunday, start the day with the Donny McCaslin Group at 11:15 a.m.  Other highlights include pianist Jonathan Batiste & Stay Human (12:05 p.m.), Jim Hall Quartet with Julian Lage (12:35 p.m.), Joshua Redman Quartet (12:40 p.m.), Dirty Dozen Brass Band (1:25 p.m), Chick Corea & The Vigil (2:05 p.m), the Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra (3:45 p.m.), the Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band (the 88-year old drummer s pictured on the left and plays at 4:45 p.m.), David Gilmore Numerology (5:05 p.m.) and more.

The most intriguing concert of the day belongs to alto saxophonist Steve Coleman (pictured left) - he has a 2 hour block (2:45 - 4:45 p.m.) that's titled "Projects" which features him with his Five Elements Band, presenting new music with the 17-member Talea Ensemble, and in a duo setting with pianist David Byrant.

For those of us who can't be there, NPR will be there again this year and broadcasting from 2 pm. - 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. -  7 p.m. on Sunday.  For more information and an archive of previous broadcasts, go to  If you think you might be able to attend, find out more at

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