The second day of the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival (Saturday, Aug. 4) was both a tough slog and an inspiration. The skies opened, the winds picked up, and the ground flooded, but the music kept playing. While Harold Mabern and Eric Alexander’s quartet dug into some classic bop, Trio 3—Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman, and Andrew Cyrille—explored territories farther out, with a pause for Cyrille to offer a stirring solo tribute to Art Blakey. Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl, Roy Hargrove, and Jon Batiste were just a few of the other artists who kept spirits high despite the audience’s battle with the elements. Capping off the day’s activities was singer Andra Day, making her belated Newport debut (she was scheduled to perform at the festival in 2017 but got sick). As she sang impassioned versions of Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam” and her own “Rise Up,” the clouds parted and the sun returned—a near-magical Newport moment.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.