03/04/11

Festival Preview: Savannah Music Festival

Multi-genre festival includes performances by Marcus Roberts, Dianne Reeves, Bela Fleck, Jason Marsalis, Bill Charlap & Renee Rosnes and other jazz artists

On March 24, the annual Savannah Music Festival kicks off with a performance by soul/R&B dynamo Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. The festival takes place over the two-plus weeks and features a diverse blend of classical, world, folk, zydeco, bluegrass, blues and, of course, jazz. Over 100 events and performances are held at venues all over the city.

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Marcus Roberts
By Frank Stewart
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Dianne Reeves
By Staff

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The festival is programmed by executive and artistic director Rob Gibson, who had worked with Wynton Marsalis in the early years of the development of the Jazz at Lincoln Center program. In a piece at jazztimes.com last year, Gibson told JT: “When I was in college I was the program director of the college radio station. And it dawned on me recently that I’m doing the same thing – programming reggae, bluegrass, jazz, classical, rock... I’m now 51 years old and I haven’t changed!” That diversity in programming is indeed one of the unique aspects of this festival.

This year’s jazz programming includes a cross-genre collaboration between festival regulars Marcus Roberts and Bela Fleck, who will perform a special premiere of work they developed together. Pianist Roberts also is involved with the educational component of the festival, including the Swing Central Competition, which brings together a dozen outstanding high school jazz bands to perform classic material from jazz history. Other jazz performances include The Clayton Brothers on a double-bill with Ike Stubblefield’s Organ Trio joined by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and trumpeter Marcus Printup. Vocalist Dianne Reeves and Brazilian guitarist Chico Pinheiro will perform a show connecting the dots between jazz and Brazilian music. Singer/guitarist John Pizzarelli and his wife Jessica Molaskey, will offer five performances of “The Heart of a Saturday Night”, a rich and refined cabaret program featuring the music of Sondheim, Gershwin, Berlin, Ellington and Basie woven together with works by songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits. Pianists Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes will perform together as well.

This year’s festival also includes Sound Dialogues, a series of 1:1 sessions with artists interviewing other artists, such as Jim Ketch with Bill Charlap, Joe Craven with Bela Fleck and Rodney Whitaker with Slide Hampton. Those sessions will be held at the Kennedy Pharmacy in Savannah.

For tickets and more information about the festival, you can visit the festival website.

Here is the schedule for the non-classical events at the festival:

THURSDAY, MARCH 24

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Charles H. Morris Center, 6 & 8 PM

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Trustee Theater, 8:30 PM

FRIDAY, MARCH 25

Zydeco Dance Party: Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie
Charles H. Morris Center, 6, 8 & 10 PM

African Interplay: Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal/ Lionel Loueke Ensemble
Lucas Theatre for the Arts, 8 PM

SATURDAY, MARCH 26

Slave Shout Songs from the Coast of Georgia: McIntosh County Shouters
Charles H. Morris Center, 12:30 PM

Delta Guitar Slingers: Michael Burks, Lucky Peterson & Sherman Robertson
Charles H. Morris Center, 7 & 9:30 PM

Giants of Texas Country: The Flatlanders/ Junior Brown
Lucas Theatre for the Arts, 7:30 PM

SUNDAY, MARCH 27

Delta Guitar Slingers: Michael Burks, Lucky Peterson & Sherman Robertson
Charles H. Morris Center, 5 & 7:30 PM

MONDAY, MARCH 28

Percussion Summit: Jason Marsalis, Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørenson, Joe Craven
Charles H. Morris Center, 12:30 PM

Sound Dialogues: Jim Ketch Interviews Bill Charlap
Kennedy Pharmacy, 2 PM

The Art of the Jazz Piano Duet: Bill Charlap & Renee Rosnes
Charles H. Morris Center, 6 & 8 PM

TUESDAY, MARCH 29

Bill Charlap & Renee Rosnes Piano Duo
Charles H. Morris Center, 12:30 PM

Sound Dialogues: Joe Craven Interviews Béla Fleck
Kennedy Pharmacy, 2 PM

Béla Fleck with the Marcus Roberts Trio (Premiere)
Charles H. Morris Center, 6 & 8:30 PM

The Face of the Bass: Edgar Meyer
Telfair Academy of Arts & Sciences, 6:15 PM
Edgar Meyer, double-bass

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30

Bill Charlap & Houston Person Duo
Charles H. Morris Center, 12:30 PM

Bill Charlap Trio with Special Guest Houston Person
Charles H. Morris Center, 5:30, 7:30, & 9:30 PM

Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer
Lucas Theatre for the Arts, 8 PM

THURSDAY, MARCH 31

Swing Central Jazz Showcase
River Street’s Rousakis Plaza, 10 AM

Ike Stubblefield Trio
Charles H. Morris Center, 12:30 PM

Sound Dialogues: Rodney Whitaker Interviews Slide Hampton
Kennedy Pharmacy, 2 PM

The Clayton Brothers/ Ike Stubblefield Trio feat. Marcus Printup & Wycliffe Gordon
Charles H. Morris Center, 5, 7:15, & 9:30 PM

Masters of Indian Music & Dance: Amjad Ali Khan, Zakir Hussain/Vijayalakshmi
Lucas Theatre for the Arts, 7 PM

FRIDAY, APRIL 1

Swing Central Jazz: The Competition
Lucas Theatre for the Arts, 9 AM

Downtown Uproar: Duke Ellington’s Small Band Classics/ Swing Central Finale
Lucas Theatre for the Arts, 7:30 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 2

Jazz meets Brazil: Dianne Reeves/ Chico Pinheiro
Lucas Theatre for the Arts, 8 PM

Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile
Trustee Theater, 9 PM

SUNDAY, APRIL 3

Cajun Dance Party: Joel Savoy & Jesse Lége with The Caleb Klauder Honky Tonk Band
Charles H. Morris Center, 5 & 7:30 PM

MONDAY, APRIL 4

The Heart of a Saturday Night: John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey
Charles H. Morris Center, 7:30 PM

TUESDAY, APRIL 5

The Heart of a Saturday Night: John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey
Charles H. Morris Center, 5:30 & 7:30 PM

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6

The Heart of a Saturday Night: John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey
Charles H. Morris Center, 5:30 & 7:30 PM

THURSDAY, APRIL 7

Cuban Dance Party: Los Muñequitos de Matanzas/ Tiempo Libre
Charles H. Morris Center, 7 & 9:30 PM

Master of New Orleans R&B Meets Blue-Eyed Soul: Allen Toussaint Band/ James Hunter
Trustee Theater, 7:30 PM

FRIDAY, APRIL 8

Sound Dialogues: Andy Falco Interviews Tim O’Brien
Kennedy Pharmacy, 2 PM

Boundless Bluegrass: Tim O’Brien Band & The Infamous Stringdusters
Charles H. Morris Center, 6:30 & 9 PM

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