The 59th Annual Newport Jazz Festival - All About Diversity

August 2-4, 2013

Natalie Cole
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Bill Charlap
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Elisa Lomazzo and Ali Amr
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Aaron Goldgerg and Reuben Rogers
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Conrad Herwig
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Chick Corea
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Esperanza Spalding
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Bill Charlap
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Freddie Hendrix
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Eddie Palmieri and Chick Corea
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Gregory Porter
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Conrad Herwig
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Kendrick Scott
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Tim Garland
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Christian McBride
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Ternce Blanchard
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Jim hall
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Gregory Hutchinson
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Julian Lage
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Joshua Redman
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.

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The 59th anniversary of the jazz festival, represented a focus on a diverse range of styles and talent. Presented by Natixis Global Asset Management, there were more than 7,000 in attendance on Saturday, and 6,000 on Sunday.

The festival began Friday night with performances by Natalie Cole, her uncle Freddy Cole and the Bill Charlap Trio at the International Tennis Hall of Fame the Bill Charlap trio performed “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was”, “It's Love”, “All Through the Night”. Freddie Cole joined the trio performing “ Tender Is the Night”, “You and Me Against the World”, “Once in A While”, “It Could Happen to You”. Natalie sang selections from her new album “Natalie Cole En Espanol”.

The festival continued on Saturday and Sunday on three stages at the festival's longtime residence at Fort Adams State Park overlooking the sailboats on the Narragansett Bay. First time festival performer composer, vocalist and Qanun performer Ali Amr’s music embraced many different styles with harmonies and melodies blending Jazz and Arab music. Grace Kelly, was fantastic on saxophone. The set included “Where I’m meant to Be”, “Journey”, “Tell Me Would it Be", and “Spain”.

The music continued on the Fort stage with the Michel Camilo Sextet. The crowd was on their feet grooving to his classics and new arrangements including “See You Later”, “Sammy Walked In”, “My Secret Place”, “Hello and Goodbye”, “Repercussions”, and “Caribe”. The band members included Cliff Almond, drums; Lincoln Goines, bass; Ralph Bowen, saxophone; Michael Mossman, trumpet and Conrad Herwig, trombone.

There was a special tribute to Wayne Shorter in celebration of his 80th birthday. Herbie Hancock and Danillo Perez were his special guest.

Terence Blanchard performed with his band on the Quad Stage with a modern sound, with some subtle electronic effects. The quintet featured Brice Winston, tenor sax; Fabian Almazan, piano; Kendrick Scott, drums; Joshua Crumbly, bass; and Lionel Loueke, guitar. Selections included “Pet Step Sitter's Theme Song”, “Hallucination” and “Autumn Leaves”. Pianist Herbie Hancock sat in for the encore, an improvisation on “Footprints” in honor of Wayne Shorter. This was a memorable performance.

Gregory Porter did an outstanding job on the Quad Stage. You can hear the influence of R&B and Gospel with his tremendous vocal range. Band members were Emmanuel Harrold, drums; Yosuke Satoh, alto saxophone; Albert Crawford, piano; and Aaron James, bass. The band was swinging hard on all of the tunes, including “Painted On Canvas”, “Way to Harlem”, “No Love Dying”, “Liquid Spirit”, “Work Song”, “Be Good”, “Fall In Love” “ 1960 What”.

Guitarist David Gilmore brought in an outstanding all - star band with Miguel Zenon, saxophone; Jeff Tain Watts, drums; Christian McBride, bass; Luis Perdermo, piano; and Claudia Acuna, vocals. They performed Gilmores’s “Numerology Suite” and tore up the stage.

The Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, had members of the audience demonstrated their salsa skills as they carved out their own dance area on side of the Fort stage. The orchestra performed “Noble Cruise”, “Muneca”, “Pa Huele”, “Palo Pa Rumba”, and “Azucar”.

Other outstanding performances on Saturday were we saw: Marcus Miller, Mary Halverson, Robert Glasper Experiment, Bill Charlap w/Anat Cohen, Bob Wilber, Lew Tabakin, and Hiromi.

One could say that Sunday was more mainstream jazz. Starting with an outstanding performance by the University of Rhode Island Jazz Festival Big Band. Under the direction of Jared Sims, and John Monllos, the band’s set included “ Take the A Train”, "Have You Heard”,“In a Mellow Tone” and “Groove Merchant”.

On the Harbor Stage, Jon Batiste combined Jazz, R&B with a New Orleans second-line feel to “Killing Me Softly”. He paid tribute to Louis Armstrong on “Sunny Side of the Street”.

Back on the Fort Stage, tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman with his quartet, had the crowd on their feet as they built up a lot of excitement performing “Summertime”, “Doll Is Mine:, “Shed”, “Curly Q”,”Stardust” and “Barracudas”.

Chick Corea's band was reminiscent of his Return to Forever band era, complete with fusion, Latin jazz and unique compositions that only Chic Corea can arrange. Featuring Christian McBride, bass; Tim Garland, saxophone; Marcus Gilmore, drums; and Charles Altura, guitar. Selections included “Fingerprints”, “Portals to Forever”, and “Galaxy 33 Star Four”.

It’s always a wonderful weekend at the festival - meeting up with old friends, then claiming our spot on the lawn to rest our blanket, chairs and coolers. The festival crowd always shows their appreciation for this great music venue!

Ben and I look forward to sharing a review and photos next year at the 60th Newport Jazz Festival. It’s going to be fantastic!

Additional photos are at Ben Johnson's photo gallery
The Art of Live Jazz
in The Jazz Festivals Folder

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Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.