The Newport Jazz Festival 2017 in its 63rd year, packed crowds from all over the country who had come to see the best of the best in Jazz. On Saturday, August 5, founder George Wein introduced Christian Mcbride and his Big Band. When McBride’s Band finished their performance of “The Shade Of The Cedar Tree”, the Artistic Director (as of 2016) felt obliged to speak about how impartial he is to Jazz. “Sometimes we get a little too into this gluten-free lifestyle”, which meant he was talking about the Blues. He also gave a touching tribute to the late great Geri Allen. The Jazz pianist and composer passed away on June 27, 2017.
He talked about how she will always live on through her music. He continued to pay tribute to Ms. Allen with Christian Sands, Vijay Iyer, and Jason Moran. He also introduced a George Duke tune called “The Black Messiah”; that musical piece really set the tone on Saturday for the Festival’s audience.
CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE & THE BIG BAND
The Quad Stage
As I walk over to the Quad Stage, I could hear musician, composer and pianist Vijay Iyer, performing with whom I call his “trendy Jazz group”. The group consisted of Saxophonist Steve Lehman and drummer, Tyshawn Sorey. They were lighting up the Quad Stage with a little mix of Funk, Jazz and flowing with the groove chords of their instruments, this made the audience get up and start shaking their tail feathers. I’ve been attending this dynamic festival for five years and never seen anything like it. What a great festival!
As we walked around the Quad, the music of Dizzy, Mongo, and Monk caught my attention! More interestingly enough was knowing there was some history behind musician and pianist Danilo Perez who had been a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s band until 1992. He led the all-star band in a tribute to all three legendary musicians. The climax of this performance was when saxophonist Chris Potter and Danilo Perez performed a duo rendition of ” Off Minor” by Monk. It was timeless.
JAZZ VIBRAPHONIST WARREN WOLF
RHIANNON GIDDENS VIOLINIST AND BANJO
Back to the Fort Stage, where the beautiful talented Rhiannon Giddens, as the New York Times, once called her “The Concert’s Real Head Turner” was performing. Her music is mesmerizing, dynamic, spellbinding, and hypnotic. Strong words for a young woman who studied Opera at the Oberlin Conservatory. Ms. Giddens is a multi-talented musician. She plays the violin, banjo, and fiddle, but her vocals are simply amazing. It draws you like a magnet and as I heard one lady say, “I’m an instant Fan”
She rocked a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s song “Do Right Woman Do Right” to lighting up the audience with her awesome version of “WaterBoy”. Rhiannon busted out tunes such as “Sugar”, “Love” and “North Star”. ( I must mention, those three are my favorite Rhiannon Giddens songs) Once the Festival ended, I think most people would agree, her music is here to stay and she will be around for a long time entertaining her fans.
THE MANY FACES OF RHIANNON GIDDENS
RHIANNON GIDDENS & DIRK POWELL DOING WHAT THEY DO BEST!
“The Roots” gave an undeniable earth-shaking performance at the Newport Jazz Festival as presented by Natixis Global Asset Management. They closed out the Festival on Sunday, August 6th, with Herbie Hancock’s rendition of “Actual Proof” to Kool and The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie”.
Even though “The Roots” are not what most people would consider a “Jazz Band,” they certainly brought down the house on Sunday. People were singing, dancing and very energetic. The audience was so captivated by their music which consists of a small mixture of Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop, Rap, and R&B. As an avid Jazz fan, I ‘ve never seen this type of response which brought so many good people together.
“THE ROOTS” JAMMING IT UP! “QUESTLOVE” ON DRUMS AND “BLACK THOUGHT” PERFORMING AND DOING WHAT HE DOES BEST.
THE FORT ADAMS STATE PARK IN NEWPORT RI
FT ADAMS STATE PARK, HOME OF THE NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL!
A GREAT DAY TO CHILL OUT AND LISTEN TO FABULOUS MUSIC.
The line-up of outstanding performers at this year’s Jazz Festival will be totally unforgettable. Other great artist included “Snarky Puppy”, Branford Marsalis, Jason Palmer,and with first class musical entertainment on four live stages, dozens of vendors and exhibitors, it’s well worth it to make a terrific weekend out of The Newport Jazz Festival .